Gaborone — Only 50 out of 6 498 people who applied for rifle and shotguns licences for the 2018 arms quota have won the first stage of the process.
The 50 are still to be subjected to other processes such as fingerprinting and other tests to ensure they are mentally fit to own guns.
Speaking at this year's raffle draw in Gaborone this week, Deputy Commissioner of Botswana Police Service, Ms Dinah Marathe said the number of applications for firearm permits continued to rise.
In 2016, she said 3 540 applications were tendered as compared to this year's 6 498, a rise of over 84 per cent. As in previous years, only 50 applications were drawn.
The Deputy Commissioner, who is also the chairperson of the Arms Quota Board, said the draw was one way of regulating the acquisition of firearms in accordance with Section 4 of the Arms and Ammunition Act.
She said application forms were availed at all police stations and that once completed, they were forwarded to the Central Arms Registry, the custodian of all records relating to registered firearms in the country.
Ms Marathe said more people were showing interest in the ownership of firearms hence the need to regulate and monitor the proliferation of firearms in the country.
She said advanced technology had negatively affected the control of arms and ammunition worldwide, making exercises such as the quota draw necessary.
With the advent of technology, it was now possible for unscrupulous arms makers to manufacture and traffic illegal arms throughout the world, she said.
Deputy Commissioner Marathe said reports of stolen firearms continued to rise. She said it raised fears that legally acquired guns might fall into the wrong hands and be used in criminal activities.
She urged firearm owners and those who have won permits to store their weapons under lock and key, specifically in gun safes.
She said some of the identified gaps in the management of firearms would be addressed by the anticipated amendment of the Arms and Ammunition Act. She noted that it was expected to include enhanced punishments for violations of the act and security measures for the safe keeping of arms.
Ms Marathe urged those who were successful to cooperate with the Arms and Ammunition Unit.
One of the board members, Mr Jack Sewagodimo appealed to the winners to adhere to the Arms and Ammunition Act, and urged them not to use their guns in any activities other than those stated in their application forms.
The board consists of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who is also the chairperson, two representatives from Botswana Defence Force and one each from Wildlife and National Parks, Botswana Unified Revenue Service,
Department of Mines, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) and Business Botswana.
Source : BOPA