Oscar Pistorius Applied for Six Firearm Licences before Girlfriend's Death

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | February 19, 2013 10:13 PM EST

South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police at a Pretoria police station - Reuters

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius applied for six separate firearm licences in January, South African media has claimed as he prepares to stand trial on charges of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The Paralympian, also known as Blade Runner, has appeared at a bail hearing at Pretoria Magistrate's Court over the murder charges.

According to South African daily The Star, Pistorius applied for six firearms licences to possess a Maverick shotgun, Winchester shotgun, Mossberg shotgun, Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver, .38 Special revolver, and a vector .223 rifle.

Smith & Wesson describes the Model 500 as "the world's most powerful handgun".

Defence analyst Helmoed Heitman told the daily: "I would understand if you are a collector or a farmer if you have a Vector .223 rifle. With all the attacks that happen on farms, maybe a farmer can justify having that type of weapon in the house. It's powerful enough that you wouldn't use it in a suburb unless you are well-trained".

The 9mm Parabellum pistol, with which Steenkamp was reportedly shot dead, was registered under Pistorius' name. Reports also suggested his initial application to acquire a licence for the pistol was denied in 2008 but approved two years later when he reapplied. The exact cause of the unsuccessful application remains unknown.

The athlete revealed in an interview in 2011 that he owned guns to protect himself against South Africa's high crime rate.

A civilian is allowed to own four firearms if the person is above 21 years of age in South Africa.

Statistics indicate nearly 50 people are killed by guns every day across the country - four times higher than the US.

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