Oscar Pistorius Knew Gun Safety Laws; Trial Day 11


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Oscar Pistorius was aware of gun safety laws restricting the lethal force against intruders at the time he shot his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year, a gun dealer testified at the Paralympian's trial Monday in Pretoria, South Africa.

On day 11 of the trial, gun licenser and firearm trainer Sean Rens testified in court that the 27-year-old athlete, accused of intentionally killing his girlfriend, scored highly on a gun competency test he took in September 2012.

The answers to the test were written in Pistorius' own hand.

"Attack must be against you," Pistorius wrote, explaining his understanding of when a gun owner is allowed to use lethal force against an intruder.

"Must be unlawful. Must be against person," he also wrote.

"Know your target, and what lies beyond," Pistorius wrote in one of his answers.

The gun competency test is required in order to obtain a gun license in South Africa. When Pistorius killed his girlfriend, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, on the morning of Feb. 14, 2013, by Pistorius' account, she was in a locked toilet, there was no attack and he had no idea who was inside.

Pistorius, the first man to ever compete in the Paralympics and Olympics, said he killed Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors argue the athlete intentionally shot her after the two had an argument.

Rens, the manager of the International Firearm Training Academy in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, also said Pistorius had a ''great love and enthusiasm'' for guns and wanted to buy seven more in 2012. He indicated that the Olympian already owned a 9 mm pistol at that time.

Pistorius asked Rens to obtain the firearms for him under a gun collector's permit, Rens testified. Rens produced an invoice made out in Pistorius' name that included five guns and almost 600 rounds of ammunition. The document showed the order totaled $5,000, and the athlete had already paid $4,500. The order was canceled after Pistorius shot Steenkamp. The two remaining firearms were indicated on a second invoice, Rens said.

Rens testified that he met Pistorius, a double-amputee runner, in 2012 and trained with him at a gun range. Rens said Pistorius described to him how he was startled by a noise at home and decided to clear the house by drawing his gun and checking rooms.

''He went into what we call code red or combat mode,'' Rens said.

''When he came to the source of the noise, it was the laundry or something," added Rens. Rens testified that for the gun safety test, Pistorius correctly noted he was entitled to shoot at intruders only if they approached him with a gun.

Image via Wikimedia Commons