Zip guns can be as lethal as real firearms

A zip gun confiscated by Law Enforcement in Hanover Park, a minor was arrested. Picture: Supplied

A zip gun confiscated by Law Enforcement in Hanover Park, a minor was arrested. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 23, 2023


Crime fighters are concerned that zip guns aren’t regarded as real weapons.

Philippi community police forum (CPF) spokesperson Kashiefa Mohammed Han said the home-made weapons are as deadly.

“A zip gun can also kill you even though they are handmade firearms.We have found that it’s the minors, age of 13 to 15, who are using these guns, whereas the older gangsters use the real guns.

She said in most cases the guns are dismantled after the shootings.

“The gun can easily be destroyed and that is how evidence is destroyed. The bullet can go to ballistics but they won't find the gun and it would be difficult to catch the suspect when it comes to these types of firearms.

“The only thing that would lead to a conviction would be if the police arrest the suspect with the gun., It’s a big problem.”

Han told the Weekend Argus minors are shown by adults how to put the gun together.

“In our operations we find one or two zip guns but mostly real ones and that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. This is a problem all over the province,” she explained.

“In the last two months, two zip guns were found in Hanover Park.

“We hear gunshots everyday in this place, it’s a warzone and we can’t differentiate between the real gun and the zip gun because they all sound the same.”

Civil organisation Action Society's Ian Cameron said zip guns issue was complex.

“The community should be proactive by reporting suspicious behaviour, we understand that it is not always followed up by SAPS but by Metro police.

“We also need to keep the community accountable because they don’t fulfil their role in the court. There are no convictions for the firearm cases.

“And remember if it discharges ammunition like any firearm it counts as a firearm.

“I think most people disregard zip guns as not serious but they are, and often cause fatalities. They are manufactured at home and not by the standards of real firearms.”

Mayco member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith said they arrested a minor for being in possession of a zip gun last week.

“The zip gun was already loaded with a round of ammunition.

“When taken to his residence to have a guardian accompany him to the police station, the guardian, his grandmother, threatened the officers and swore at them, and refused to accompany her grandson to the station.

“While social services needed to be summoned before the minor could be charged, it draws attention to the stark reality of the prevalence of gun violence within our communities.

“Fuelled by gang warfare, minors are drawn into the sensationalist idea of a real life, ‘cops and robbers type scenario’ except in this game, the loser will pay with their life.”

Smith added the deployment of the Shotspotter Acoustics Technology helped.

“When the national government refused to acquire the technology to assist the local SAPS, it was the City that stepped in and paid the cost to the service provider, so as to ensure SAPS were able to respond instantly to shooting incidents.

“In the last 30 days, over 200 incidents have been recorded through the system, just in two areas. Many of these single-fire incidents - while these could be fired from a handgun, the reality also exists that these could be fired from a zip gun.

“A zip gun only allows for a single round to be fired, before the user needs to manually reload the makeshift weapon.

“In the beginning of the week , three incidents occurred in Hanover Park, all single-fire incidents.

“ Shotspotter remains another tool in the fight against gangsterism, but it cannot be used effectively without a saturated police presence.”

Weekend Argus