Citation(s) from the literature library

Leaõ, Ana. 2004 ‘Firearms Licence Procedure.’ Hide and Seek: Taking Account of Small Arms in Southern Africa, pp. 98-100. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. 1 October

Relevant contents

If an individual seeks to acquire a licenced firearm, then this person must first purchase a firearm from a reputable source and then apply for a firearm licence from the Ministry of the Interior. The relevant firearm legislation allows for civilians to own semi-automatic pistols of a calibre no larger than 7.65mm and a barrel not longer than 7.5 cm, and revolvers with calibre of less than 9 mm and barrel not longer than 10 cm.

There are no authorised dealers or manufacturers in Mozambique. Consequently individuals are entitled to import up to three firearms. The typical process for acquiring a licenced firearm is as follows: The person seeking to acquire a firearm will travel to a neighbouring country where there are registered firearms dealers (usually South Africa), purchase the firearm and then obtain the necessary approval to transport the firearm to the border. At the border, the individual has to hand in the firearm and ammunition to the Customs officials and apply for an import licence for both the firearm and ammunition. This application process must be handled by an authorised clearing agent, and the following information is captured on the application form: origin of the weapon/ammunition; brand name; model and manufacturer; characteristics; quantities of ammunition; the point of entry (airport, port or border post) and the Customs division that will be responsible for clearing the firearm. While the application process is underway, the weapon is either kept by Customs officials or transferred to the Ministry of the Interior for safekeeping.

The individual then has to apply for a licence from the Ministry of the Interior or police headquarters. In so doing, the applicant must fill out the relevant licence application form and submit supporting documents, such as birth certificate and criminal record to the Ministry of the Interior or police head quarters. The applicant must also receive clearance from their local police station. He or she must explain why the firearm is required. If the firearm is for personal security, then documentation justifying the need for protection must be provided. The relevant government institution then confers with the local police station, interviews the applicant and then decides whether the application will be accepted or rejected…

The Mozambican authorities are committed to reducing the number of firearms in the possession of civilians. Hence, the authorities usually reject applications for licences for pistols. Applications from retired people (who want a hunting rifle), from heads of family and from farmers (who are in remote areas, or wish to protect cattle) are regarded in a more positive light, and are more likely to be approved.

The Arms and Ammunition Act (Statute 1/73, January 1973) is outdated and the authorities find it difficult to enforce. Gun owners are supposed to report annually to their local police station to either update or confirm their residence details but this is seldom done. Firearm licences should also be renewed every two years. When a gun owner dies, the next of kin is required to report the death to the police station and hand in the weapon. Records should be updated for each of these procedures. Given the lack of infrastructure and difficulty in communication between police stations across Mozambique, it is unlikely that the system is effective.

Each PRM station or post is supposed to have a firearms register. As in the military, this is a handwritten ledger book. These records are required to be sent to the central command in Maputo "periodically"…

[PRM = Polícia da Republica de Moçambique]

ID: Q8791

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