Citation(s) from the literature library

Molomo, Mpho G., Bertha Osei-Hwedie, David Sebudubudu, Ian Taylor and Shelly Whitman. 2004 ‘Civilian Gun Ownership - Gun Owner Licensing.’ Hide and Seek: Taking Account of Small Arms in Southern Africa, pp. 28-30. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. 1 October

Relevant contents

In terms of the Act, civilians may own a maximum of three firearms. However, there is no limit to the number of guns that may be possessed in any one household.(28) It is therefore possible, albeit unlikely, that four members of a household could each possess three gun licences.

Civilians who apply for a permit to own a firearm are entered into an annual raffle system conducted by the police. From the thousands of applications received, 400 are chosen randomly for consideration.

The legislation requires that the 400 applicants then be screened and only those who have no history of mental illness, no criminal record and are over the age of 18 are granted a permit. The current Act does not require any competency testing of applicants. Of the maximum of 400 licences issued, 200 will be for rifles and 200 for shotguns. Individuals who possess a firearm licence must apply for a permit if they want to lend their firearm to another person, and that person must be over 18 years.

Should an owner of a gun licence die, there is a process to be followed to re-allocate the gun licence to another individual. In Botswana it is traditional for the family of the deceased to meet and decide who will inherit the gun.(29) When this decision has been made, the new owner must apply for a permit. This is a separate process from the raffle system. After the person is screened and the application approved, the previous certificate of ownership is cancelled and a new one is issued.(30)

It is often difficult for the police to keep track of this procedure due to the manual recording system. The Central Arms Registry is conducting community education campaigns to inform the public about the correct procedure for cases where a gun licence holder dies.(31)

As of 31 December 2002, Botswana had a total of 32,901 registered firearms, which included 31,454 shotguns and rifles, 411 handguns and 36 stunner pistols…(32)

With regard to ammunition, an individual can only purchase 100 live rounds of ammunition per year.(34)

The registration certificate and licence for the firearm must be produced in order to purchase the ammunition.(35) Firearm dealers are required to endorse the permit each time an ammunition purchase is made…


28) Interview with Detective Superintendent, Mr. Tlogelang, Officer in Charge Central Arms Registery, Gaborone, 10 July 2003.

29) Ibid.

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Moleboge, N.S. "The status of Firearms Control in Botswana by the Commissioner of Police",Towards a Safe and Secure Nation, First Consultative Conference on Firearm Control, Ownership and Administration in Botswana, 13-15 May 2003, Final Report, Gaborone.

34) Arms and Ammunition Act, 1981.

35) Interview with Central Arms Registry, 10 July 2003.

ID: Q8813

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