PRETORIA, Mar 17 – Oscar Pistorius was in the process of buying six guns at the time he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, more than usually allowed under South African law, his murder trial heard on Monday.
Gun licenser Sean Rens testified that Pistorius had sound knowledge of gun laws, but also once entered full “combat mode” after mistaking a washing machine for an intruder.
When Steenkamp died on Valentine’s Day last year, the Paralympic champion had recently been invoiced for six guns including a Smith & Wesson 500, described by its manufacturer as the “most powerful production revolver in the world”.
Pistorius had also ordered a Vector .223-calibre rifle, a 38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver and three shotguns: a Mossberg Maverick, a Winchester and a Carbine gun.
“The transaction was cancelled a month post-incident,” said Rens, manager of a firearms training academy in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, as the athlete’s trial entered its third week.
South African law allows non-collectors to possess only four firearms.
Rens, whose job involves arranging gun sales, licensing and training, said Pistorius “had a great love and enthusiasm” for firearms and scored high on an examination intended to quiz gun owners on the lawful use of lethal weapons.
Licensing examination records confirm that the 27-year-old Pistorius knew the country’s gun laws well, the court heard.
He answered correctly that he could only shoot at a person if his life was directly threatened.
Asked in the test if he could fire at burglars stealing a television from his house, Pistorius wrote: “No. Life is not in danger.”
Pistorius says he shot dead his 29-year-old girlfriend through a locked toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.
But the state has drawn on previous gun incidents to depict the athlete as rash and trigger-happy, in support of the charge of premeditated murder.
The sprinter faces three additional non-related charges over firing a gun in a restaurant and from a moving car, and for the illegal possession of ammunition.
Rens met the Paralympic gold medallist in 2012 through a mutual friend. At the time, Pistorius owned a 9 mm pistol and the pair visited a shooting range together around 10 times.