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Experts claim Pistorius' violation of basic gun laws could land him in trouble

Johannesburg, Wed, 27 Feb 2013 ANI

Johannesburg, Feb 27 (ANI): Legal experts in South Africa have claimed even if Oscar Pistorius is not found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, the Paralympian had violated basic gun-handling rules and exposed himself to a murder charge by shooting into a closed door without knowing who was behind it.

Particularly harsh for firearms instructors and legal experts is that Pistorius testified that he shot at a closed toilet door, fearing but not knowing for certain that a night time intruder was on the other side, Sport24 reports.

Instead of an intruder, Pistorius' girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was in the toilet cubicle. Struck by three of four shots that Pistorius fired from a 9mm pistol, she died within minutes.

South Africa has stringent laws regulating the use of lethal force for self-protection, and in order to get a permit to own a firearm, applicants must not only know those rules, but must demonstrate skill with the weapon and knowledge of its safe handling, making it tough to legally own a gun in South Africa, the paper said.

Pistorius took such a competency test for his 9mm pistol and passed it, according to the police's National Firearms Centre.

Firearms and legal experts said Pistorius, whose license for the 9mm pistol was issued in September 2010, should have known that firing blindly, instead of at a clearly identified target, violates basic gun-handling rules.

Andre Pretorius, president of the Professional Firearm Trainers Council, a regulatory body for South African firearms instructors, said you can't shoot through a closed door, adding people who own guns and have been through the training, they know that shooting through a door is not going to go through South African law as an accident.

Pretorius added there is no situation in South Africa that allows a person to shoot at a threat that is not identified, adding firing multiple shots makes it that much worse, as it could have been a minor, the paper added. (ANI)

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