Gaborone — Botswana Police Service says there is a rise in the number of applications for shotgun and rifle permits.
Arms and ammunition board administered 2020 arms raffle draw for shotguns and rifles permits this week and a total number of applications for shotguns was 12 453 while for rifles stood at 8 537. There were 75 permits to be awarded in each category.
The 150 applicants, who succeeded would undergo the last stage of vetting, which determined the final number of permits to be awarded.
Speaking during the event in Gaborone, board chairperson and Deputy Commissioner of police - Operations, Ms Dinah Marathe highlighted that the raffle was one of the ways through which the country was able to regulate the dispensation of permits towards the acquirement of any firearm.
Ms Marathe said they had realised that more people were showing interest in having and owning firearms due to a number of varying reasons, adding that mostly were farmers and professional hunters.
She pointed out that it was possible for arms manufacturers and dealers to use the available technology to manufacture and even traffic illegal arms throughout the world.
"The same may find their way into Botswana," she added.
The Chairperson said some of the arms, including those legally manufactured end up being used for the perpetration of various serious crimes hence the need for vigilance and stringent measures in the issuance of permits for ownership of arms.
Ms Marathe said during this year's raffle the board had decided to introduce 75 permits for riffles. The decision, she said was reached in an effort to meet the general public demand as well as to support government's initiative of permitting the citizens to benefit from wildlife and tourism industry, such as professional hunting, ownership of game animals and protection of livestock.
She noted that the general handling of firearms was a concern, adding that they receive reports of some stolen and misuse of firearms by unauthorized persons. Ms Marathe explained that the incidents often lead to acts of crime such as robberies and fatal shootings.
For his part board member and Principal of Botswana Wildlife Training Institute, Mr Moemi Batshabang applauded the board members for the manner in which the proceedings were conducted.
Mr Batshabang also thanked the media, indicating that their attendance was important to be witnesses for the transparent nature of the whole process, in order to inform the applicants who could not attend due to COVID - 19 and the nation at large.
He urged those who would be successful at the last stage of vetting to always keep the firearms in safe places. "Firearms are not supposed to be kept under the bed, at the back seat of a car or left with farm workers," he added.
Mr Batshabang indicated that there was a process in place to temporarily transfer a firearm from one owner to another and the owner remains accountable.
Source : BOPA