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Zimbabwe outlaws self loading gun ownership, says report

Zimbabwean police have outlawed the possession of automatic weapons and ordered people to surrender them to police stations before the end of the month, the Herald newspaper reported Saturday. Police gave no reason for the immediate withdrawal of licenses for self-loading rifles, machine guns and pistols, according to report.

"We would like to urge the people to fully co-operate with the police and those who will remain with these weapons would be contravening the law," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the paper.

Harare police spokesperson Inspector Jessie Banda said the firearm licences for such weapons had been withdrawn with immediate effect.

"Police would like to advise members of the public that firearm licences of the following weapons, self loading weapons, G3, FN 7,62 mm rifles and scorpion pistols have since been revoked in terms of sub section (7) of Section (6) of the Firearms Act (Chapter) 10:09," she said.

"Possession of the above listed firearms is now unlawful. Members of the public are being urged to surrender these firearms to their nearest police stations by 30 June 2005. They will be issued with an issue voucher upon surrendering the firearm," said Insp Banda

No figures were given on how many of the country's 11.6 million population own automatic weapons. Armed robberies have been increasing amid worsening economic hardships.

Last month, the police launched "Operation Restore Order", a controversial crackdown on the black market and illegal structures, which has seen 46,000 people arrested and tens of thousands of shacks and backyard cottages destroyed in towns and cities nationwide.

President Robert Mugabe said Friday the operation would last until the end of August.

*FW Note:

Licensing and registration lead to confiscation. How many times does this need to be driven home?

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