you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
29th April 2005Weapons Amnesty, RSA
By Peter Quantrill
Under the current RSA weapons amnesty, scores of firearms, including the Martini Henry, have been handed over country-wide to the police..In Guateng, (Old Transvaal) it would appear that some have been destroyed.
A quote in the local KwaZulu Natal newspaper
states," There are only so many Martini Henrys we can take."
AMAFA have stepped in and requested that no further antique weapons be destroyed until inspected, following which a decision would be made on how to dispose of them.
AMAFA are aware of the value, both historical and monetary. Will keep you posted.
29th April 2005Coll

I'm saddened to hear that some Martini Henrys may have been destroyed after surviving all this time, although the fact that any others still intact may actually be saved is great news.

On a personal note, I hope any revolvers from the AZW may have also survived all this time and have been handed in, which I'm hoping will also be saved from destruction.

29th April 2005Chris
Why are people handing in their guns? Is it a new law or something? Glad I dont live in SA. Its such a shame to see historical weapons be destoryed like this, here in the US any weapon over 100 years old is legal.
29th April 2005Peter Quantrill
The amnesty law applies to all weapons that are unlicensed.
However, all licenced weapons also have to be re- registered with a motivation for retention.To use the words "self protection" in an application to register a weapon is insufficient reason to retain the weapon.The Government reasons that crime is out of hand, caused by the excessive use of firearms. What is in effect happening, is that the homeowner is being stripped of the legal right to defend his/ her property. The thousands of illegal AK 47's in the hands of criminals have not been handed in under the amnesty terms, at least not so far.
AMAFA are keen to ensure that weapons, such as the Martini Henry, are not destroyed. Have the thousand or so M H's captured at Isandlwana ALL been accounted for? Will the amnesty produce any M H's that have been hidden away for years in rural areas? Watch this space.
29th April 2005Geoff
Sadly this sort of thing has also been common in the UK. In the 1930's my great grandfather handed in guns made/owned by his grandfather in the 1840's - they were for destruction and included "elephant guns" whatever they were. Of course those held with criminal intent were generally retained by their owners.
29th April 2005Coll
Elephant Gun - large calibre firearm used for hunting big game.
30th April 2005Barry Iacoppi N.Z.
As a young man living in the U.K. in the 60s I can remember a firearms amnesty that really got up my nose. One of the daily newspapers delighted in showing a picture of a helicopter dropping the contents of a cargo net into the sea. One could clearly make out the silhouettes of a number of classic firearms as they fell through the air. What a waste. I knew of owners of illegal firearms who declined to hand in firearms only because they did not approve of their end fate. It is one thing to part with granddad’s .455 Webley that he carried during the Great War if one believes that doing so will benefit the community. It is another to know that your much loved trophy is going to be dropped in the ocean or have a gas axe taken to it.
There have been similar amnesties here in New Zealand. The only one that I approved of was one where you were allowed for a limited time to sell any illegal firearm you may have to a licensed dealer or collector. To my knowledge this was a big success but for some reason has not been repeated
30th April 2005Neil Aspinshaw
Amnesties, wait while I split my sides. Nottinghamshire, (yes I know Nottingham is supposed to be the gun crime city in England, but it in reality it is not that bad), had a "Amnesty" recently.
The ill informed, ill publicised, ill televised, freak show showed old men, bringing in thier hard fought for "trophies" that they fought for, old family heirlooms and "antiques" in for destruction. why, because people are brainwashed that all guns are "illegal" and it needs a criminal mind to own one.
The real criminals and drug pushers belly laughed at the spectacle.

Must get off this soapbox, its getting a bit wobbly.
30th April 2005Geoff
Thanks Coll - I had always taken the name as a family quirk since the original owner only shot British Native Birds (in Aston Park, Birmingham, in the 1840's when it was a little different)
30th April 2005Geoff
To continue ..... But they must have been impressive weaopns the way my father spoke of them.
1st May 2005Ian Essex
On the other hand, now in Nottingham there are less guns to be stolen and used in crimes. Less guns is a good thing in society, whether they be Martini Henry's or a nine mil automatic. Same thing in South Africa, if not more so.

1st May 2005Joseph
Less guns in the hands of society's criminals is a good thing. Guns in the possession of law abiding citizens cause NO harm towards society.
1st May 2005Ian Essex
Hi Joseph,
Very fair point.
But when they are taken from law abiding citizens they then become a major problem. Although I would have to say that in the hands of law abiding people they can still be a major problem.
I write without the benefit of having the article in front of me...but, I remember reading that the majority of shootings in the USA in houses are people defending their own homes, with their own guns...who end up shooting a loved one.
My father in law (the most law abiding man you could meet) owns a gun. He lives in J'burg. The gun is kept on top of his cupboard. He will not hand his gun into the authorities. He would use it to defend his family. He hasn't aimed and fired a gun in over thirty years.
I cannot believe that is best practice.
In an ideal guns.
The issue surely should be to bring pressure on the authorities to recognise the value of some old munitions and for those to be placed, de-activated, in a museum?
2nd May 2005Peter Quantrill
AMAFA are attempting to control the destruction of antique firearms by requesting an inspection of all arms prior to destruction. This may prove difficult to police.
I have no doubt that you father in law is aware of the terms of the amnesty. Apart from the requirement of a proficiency certificate for all licensed holders, together with motivation, to-date 71% of all applications have been refused. In the case of approval, an inspector visits premises to ensure that the weapon is kept in a bolted safe. Failure to comply with the regulations carries a R25,000 fine or a minimum six month jail sentence. On the surface of it, legitimate gun owneres are being systematically disarmed.
The fight to stop the destruction of old antique weapons, such as the M H, continues and AMAFA's concern and active participation to preserve weapons under this catagory deserves applaud.
2nd May 2005Coll

Anything that could stop a charging rogue elephant or rhino, I think is quite outstanding as a firearm. The thing about this type of hunting, the hunter himself must have a fair amount of bravery to stand steady and still aim accurately, as I'm sure the temptation to run must have been hard to overcome.

I don't know much about this specific weapon, calibre etc., but as we know with the Zulu casualties from Martini Henry bullets, being thrown up in the air and I'm sure a witness at Ulundi (?) commented on the positions of the dead Zulus hit by such fire.

So, if the Elephant Guns were of a larger calibre than the MH, then never mind throwing the Zulus into the air, a bullet from one of these weapons would throw them back into the 18th Century !

Maybe a firearms expert on this site could add details, although I'm sure I read that .410 was about the right calibre (calibre not gauge) but .410 could be termed as 65 gauge, used mainly for skeet shooting.

But, as with most things, I tend to get some facts mixed up.

3rd May 2005mark
Good Morning , im a police member at Douglasdale SAPS, a police station in Jhb, south africa

I stand to be corrected, but in excess of 600 firearms were handed in to the station for destruction during the amnesty. Of these , the vast majority are from relatively old men, and consist of World War One and Two rifles and revolvers.

I was amazed to see a few Webly Scotts in .455 dating from the Boer War , as well as a .303 Mk4 N04 Canadian issued rifle , as well as FN (R1) assualt rifles. No martini Henrys unfortunately.

The "rare" firearms are put aside, SAACA is notified (South African arms and Ammunition Collectors Association) of the fireamrs, they then identify whats museum material and the firearms end up (in theory) at the war museum.

The nicest firearm handed in (in my mind) was a German P08 luger, with complete matching serial numbers and Nazi prood stamps , and amazing item , hopefully to be saved!

Only a handful of "illegal" guns were handed in by criminals, the rest were merely old pieces that were never licenced (war trophies).

And finally the new firearms laws are designed to limit the number of firearms that a private citizen may own. I understand that its a heated topic and people become quite agitated in SA when its discussed , but the law allows a person to have a firearm for self defense , hunting , sports shooting etc, but not 15 guns for one purpose (eg. for self defence there is no need for 10 handguns).

And finally ,one of our members has Hendrich Himmlers personal gold plated walther ppk in 7.65 , name engraved, fully proof marked , wow !

3rd May 2005Peter Quantrill
The law may allow for a person to own a firearm for self defence, but how do you account for 71% of applications being refused on those very grounds? The MH's handed in in Gauteng were highlighted in the press. If 600 weapons were handed in to your station alone, what was the total in the province?
It is in KZN that special interest should be taken to ensure that nothing related to the AZW is earmarked for destruction.
3rd May 2005mark

i knew there would be a response :-)

in theory the law is a "good" law, but it is being poorly implemented. It will not removed illegal firearms but it will eliminate the no longer wanted firearms from circulation.

the superintendent in charge of firearms stated on tv that he would not grant a licence for self defence easily, especially if the person has a dog , or pepper gas spray , or armed response etc , so there is a failure there . i think the saps are scared of legal cases , being sued etc if a firearm is given to a nutcase who blows a few kids away

i personally have 3 beretta pistols , a glock 17 , a taurus 92 , a star 6.35 (a beauty) , a rossi .38 spec ,plus rifles , so the law directly affects me as well

Hopefully once the grey areas are explored, and the firearms department are up to steam , then the process will be more streamlined.

i have no idea for the provincial totals, but i cried inside when i saw what was being destroyed .
-the R1 was in mint condition
-the .303 was unbelievable
-quite a few were handed in with bayonets

We even got a live 155mm howitzer round handed in.

in total 48,755 firearms and 912,613 rounds of ammunition were handed in

of this, 23,598 firearms were handed in by legal owners

sad to see firearms being destroyed !
3rd May 2005Ian Essex
Neil, Joseph and Mark,
Say Mark was hijacked on his way home from a long shift. How many of the guns that Mark owns would be of any use to him then? But how useful are they to criminals?
For what reason on earth would someone want to own 3 Beretta's, a Glock etc? How many guns can you fire at one time??
I can understand someone wanting to own 'old' or 'antique' weapons but a Howitzer shell!!!! What were they thinking!!! Can you imagine the look on everyone's face at the braai when a little one starts rolling that out into the yard!!!

4th May 2005mark

the glock 17 is my self defence firearm,
the three berettas are collectable firearms made in the 1960's (in .22lr , model 71/72 and 73,
the star is a silver pistol with ivory grips - also a collectors piece ,
the taurus 92 is similar to my police issue z88 and is used for police training (a glock and a z88 shoot totally different so i practice with both) and ,
the rossi revolver- well i just like her

then the rifles ... well i love my biltong,and the enjoyment of longer range shooting.

the benefits of having a police id and being a member of saaca is that im a registered category c collector so i can own semi auto pistols deemed to be collectable :-)

BUT i do agree that more than one firearm will not aid in a hijacking , in my last hijacking on the rivonia offramp (n1 south) i stopped to assist a naked kid lying in the road (yes,with hindsight im an idiot) and was rewarded with 2 hijackers , i never managed to even draw my gun , so perhaps it does give false security ?

4th May 2005Coll
If the amnesty covers all types of weapons, do you think any swords, bayonets, etc., from the AZW, might also be handed in and be protected from destruction too ?

4th May 2005Ian Essex
Hoe gaan dit Mark,
I think we'll leave it there. We could go on all year. Suffice to say you are a bit a plonker.
My skoonma could be lying naked, outside my house in J'burg and I wouldn't stop for her!
But then again...I probably wouldn't stop if she was fully clothed and just coming round for a visit!!!
Just be carful with all those guns!!!!!!
5th May 2005mark

i have a huge bayonet / sword collection

i have an 1822 infantry sword , 1845 wilkinson infantry sword , 1856 rifle brigade sword etc

plus lots of commonwealth bayonets (no martini henry ones as the are way to expensive R3000)

and they are mine ! defintely not handing in material
6th May 2005Neil Aspinshaw
Mark/ Ian
I think the core of the pro's and cons of firearm ownership is multi-headed. I own three Martini Henrys, and am currently a probationary member in a rifle club to gain my full Firearm certificate.
We have dicussed the UK law on the site before, but ownership of a pre1919, obsolete calibre rifle in the UK is not illegal, hence the growing market for antique and collectors peices as objects of art and history.
The crux of the matter is, is that there are basically two types of gun-nut. Those who are legal and sane, and those who are not, Those who choose to use firearms with a view to kill, will never let it be known that they havea gun. also, there is the argument that guns handed in in these "amnesties" is the chance to get rid of vital "evidence".