Legislation

On this site you will find a wealth of information on South African legislation pertaining to the possession and use of firearms.  We will endeavour to keep you up to date with any proposed changes and comments thereto.

COMMENCEMENT OF CERTAIN SECTIONS OF ACT 28 OF 2006

Government Gazette No 33871 was published on 17 December 2010 and included Proclamation No 77 which promulgated the commencement of certain sections of the Firearm Control Amendment Act 2006, Act 28 of 2006 on 10 Jauary 2011.   pdf.  This proclamation covers amendments to and the commencment of redefining an 'antique firearm' to a 'muzzle loading firearm', new requirements for possession of muzzle loading firearms, the validity of firearm licences and the new extended validity of competency certificate renewals.

MINISTER OF POLICE

On 14 December 2010, the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, announced more plans to improve firearm applications and controls pdf.

INFORMATION REGARDING RELICENSING OF FIREARMS

If you are needing to relicence your firearm, we have received a rather poor copy of the instructions issued by the CFR dated 26 August 2010 entitled Application for renewal of Firearms Licence in terms of Section 24 0f the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No 60 of 2000) (Individuals)  pdf.

Please note that there has been a new appointment as Head Firearms, Liquor and Second Hand Goods Control of Major General JM Nkomo who replaces Director Jaco Bothma.

DECISION OF NORTH GAUTENG HIGH COURT 14 JUNE 2010

If you are waiting for a licence, informing the CFR that you know of this court case might help.

http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=20100615085359432

Police ordered to consider firearm licence application
Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Tue 15 June 2010
Category: In Court
Issue No: 2582

The North Gauteng High Court has ordered the police to consider the firearm licence application of a Middelburg man within 30 days.

According to a Beeld report, Henning Jacobus Kruger (56) argued that police have done nothing to consider his application submitted in January 2007.

Kruger had submitted his competence certificate and proof of a safe compliant with regulations at his home. He instructed his attorney to inquire about the status of his application in December 2009. The police informed Jaco Kruger, the attorney, that the application has not been touched since November 200
8.

RENEWAL OF COMPETENCY CERTIFICATES 2010

There has been a great deal of confusion and speculation as to the correct process of reapplying for an expiring competency certificate.

Here are the instructions issued by the Central Firearms Control Register on 26 February 2010 for applying for a new competency certificate. Application for competency certificate: competency certificate lapsed in terms of section 10 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act 60 of 2000)   [.pdf]

JASA CAPE HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT 31 AUGUST 2009

Here is the latest information regarding the outcome of the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA) Cape High Court case heard today. The case revolves around the fact that Compensation that has provision made for it in terms of s. 137 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act 60 of 2000) has not been paid to applicants. Click here for media statements.

BREAKING NEWS!

A South African Police Services directive from the Division of Visible Policing, Head Office, Pretoria dated 27/06/2009 [MS Word doc] advising the latest in Renewal of Firearm Licences, Permits and Authorisations: Transitional Provisions: Firearms Control Act 2000 (Act 60 of 2000).  

We have just (27 June 2009 @ 11h01) received the press release issued by the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association / SA Jagters en Wildbewaringsvereniging regarding the granting of an interim interdict against the Minister for Police confirming that firearm licences which were issued under the Arms and Ammunition Act 1969 (Act 75 of 1969) will be deemed to remain valid until the main application has been finalised.

 

Pretoria, 26 June 2009


In a judgement handed down in the High Court today, Judge Bill Prinsloo granted the SA Hunters & Game Conservation Association the interim relief applied for in their application which sought:


"4.1. A declaratory order that all licences of firearms mentioned in schedule 1 of the Firearms
        Control  Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000) be valid until such time as the main application in this
        application is ruled upon.


"4.2. That this order shall be an interim order pending the final adjudication of the main application in
          this matter."

In other words-


ALL LICENCES THAT WERE VALID ON OR BEFORE 30 JUNE 2009 REMAIN VALID UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

We have not yet seen the judgement but understand that SA Hunters' application succeeded because their application made it clear to the judge that the SA Police Service does not have the capacity to promptly deal with the huge number of firearm owners who would technically become criminals on 1 July 2009 when all 'old' licences, permits, authorizations, etc., were scheduled to become invalid.

We, and all South African firearm owners, must congratulate the SA Hunters & Game Conservation Association and their legal team for their courage in taking the bull by the horns, exposing the desperate situation at the Central Firearms Registry to the court, and obtaining a stunning victory.

The order is an interim one, so please stay alert for future developments. We will post a more comprehensive analysis of the situation when the judgement has been studied and the next steps in the procedure become known.

It will be interesting to see the directive instructing all police stations on the procedures they must now follow to handle all 'matters arising'.

Issued: Friday 26 June 2009 at 15:25

From a newsletter issued 26/06/2009 entitled EXTENSION GRANTED

 

At this point in time, as predicted, the extension that has been granted simply means that the old license does not expire on 30 June 2009. The extension at this stage does not extend to license renewals. A person who has sold their firearm privately no longer has to apply for a storage permit or hand their firearm in at a police station. They may retain possession of the firearm while the other person is awaiting a license.

 

It may still transpire that an extension is granted on license renewals, but we will have to wait for either a statement from the SAPS, or a more detailed explanation from the court.

 

For now the pressure is simply off those people who have not done anything. The 30 June 2009 deadline has simply been removed until further notice. We expect a statement by the SAPS around Wednesday next week.

 

Sincerely

 

Andre Pretorius

INTERNATIONAL TRAINING ACADEMY

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Statement issued by the office of the Divisional Commissioner 09 June 2009

We received the following notification issued in Pretoria on 09 June 2009 by the office of the SAPS Divisional Commissioner, Visible Policing, Commissioner Arno Lamoer (MS Word 27kb).  Please take note of the contents as this is the latest directive we have received.

Amended implementation for firearms not relicensed by original owner

The following directive has been circulated to all DFOs in the Eastern Cape Province: Click here to open a document in MS Word.

Here is another South African Police Service document dated 28th May 2009 issued by the Central Firearms Control Register giving directives to police action for the end period of the transition from the older Acts to the new Act. Click here to open the document in MS Word. 

Originally proposed implementation at end of transitional period for firearms not relicensed by owners

Below are reworded excerpts from a police directive dated 2009-03-16

Licences to possess a firearm (those that were issued under the previous Act) are valid for a period of five years from the 1st July 2004, which means all old licences expire on 30th June, 2009.

Where a person has applied for the renewal of a licence for a firearm (previously owned by the applicant) and has not yet received their new licence by 30 June 2009, the old licence will remain valid until the application is decided.

Any person is regarded to be, quote “illegally in possession of a firearm” unquote, unless that person either holds a new firearm’s licence or has proof in the form of an acknowledgement of receipt issued by the police (SAPS 523) that they have applied for the new licence to renew their previous licence. 

In the case where a firearm owner sells or donates the firearm to another person or legal entity such as a security service provider or in the case where a person inherited a firearm and the application for such firearm licence is pending and has not been issued by 30 June 2009, the firearm and ammunition associated with the application together with the firearm licence, permit or authorisation and a copy of the police acknowledgement of receipt (of your application, SAPS 523) must be handed in by the seller, donor or executor before or on 30 June 2009 to the nearest police station, preferably at the police station nearest the Firearm Registration Centre or at the police station where the application for the firearm licence has been processed.

 

Such firearms must be kept in police custody at the respective police station until a final decision has been made on the application.

 

Should your application be refused, you have the right of appeal.

 

Should your appeal not be upheld, in other words, unsuccessful, you will be informed in writing that the firearm is forfeited to the State and will be disposed of in the prescribed manner.

 

Any firearm for which a licence, permit or authorisation was issued in terms of the previous Act and which firearm is kept at a licenced firearms dealer for the purpose of safe storage must be disposed of on or before 30 June 2009.

Proposed amendments to the Dangerous Weapons Act, 1968

The Dangerous Weapons Act/Notice is scheduled for debate on "Interface" SABC TV3's topical affairs programme at 7:30pm on Sunday 16 March, 2008.

We received an e-mail on Thursday 21 February 2008 advising us of proposed changes to the Dangerous Weapons Act, 1968 (Act 71 of 1968) including the proposal to make knives, airguns, bb guns, batons, and anything else which may function as a weapon subject to some form of control.  Depending on the legal interpretation, which interpretation lies with our courts, this could possibly mean no person may be in possession at any time of any object (that can be used as a weapon for self or private defence and carried) at any place to which the public generally has access to, including any public road, railway station or premises.

The controls include "any other article, which is not a firearm, and which is made or modified to be used  - (a) to injure or disable a person; (b) to cause a person to fear that someone will be injured or disabled by that use; or (c) for attack or defence in the practice of a martial sport, art or similar dicipline." One would not have to press the interpretation too far to include pepper products that are designed to disable assailants during their attacks.

Please note further important information on Useful information on related general law

Latest Notice regarding proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Regulations, 2004

Please take note of this important notice that we received on 06 November 2007.  Click here for more information, the full notice, the new Firearms Control Amendment Regulations, 2007 and link to the police URL.


The new Firearms Control Amendment Act, 2006

Here is the content of the new Firearms Control Amendment Act, 2006, Act 28 of 2006, which was published in Government Gazette No 30210 on the 22nd August 2007, the english text was signed by the President and was assented to on 17 August 2007.

Notice regarding proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Regulations, 2004

Please take note of this important notice that we received on 16 January 2007.  Click here for more information, the full notice and link to the police URL. 

 

The Minister for Safety and Security intends to review and amend the Firearms Control Regulations, 2004.  A draft Firearms Control Regulations, 2007 has been published for general information and comment from interested parties.

 

INFORMATION NOTE: This is merely a working document which is used to obtain the input of interest groups.  The finalization of the draft Firearms Control Regulations, 2007 will ultimately be done after the consultation process has been concluded.


News regarding the revised Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006 

Here is the latest information regarding the content of the revised Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006.  Click here.  Also take the time to check the Collectors' issues page.

Below is a brief summary of the legislation progress

11 & 16 August 2006
Presentations on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill were made to the Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security by various associations and groups.  (House of Assembly)
25 August 2006

The Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security deliberated on the Bill and some changes were made.  (House of Assembly)
29 August 2006

The Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security formally adopted the revised Bill.  (House of Assembly)
18 October 2006
A briefing on the Bill was presented by the Department of Safety and Security to the Security and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.  (National Council of Provinces)
1 November 2006

The Security and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee will deliberate on the Bill.  (National Council of Provinces)

The Bill still needs to be signed by the President.  Only once it is signed will the Bill become the Firearms Control Amendment Act, 2006, and a date from which it will come into effect will be published in a Government Gazette.

The Regulations, which govern how the Amendment Act will be put into effect/administered, still need to be written.  Work has started on the Regulations and SAGA is involved in the process.

Here is a link to the South African Gunowners' Association's (SAGA's) earlier submission to the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006 at URL: http://www.saga.org.za/Act&Regs.htm#Submission together with comment on the latest draft Bill on SAGA's website at URL: http://www.saga.org.za/Bulletin.htm#July%202006

Please see urgent and important note of 20 March 2006 under Collectors' issues.

We felt it might be useful to leave SAGA's preliminary comments on the PROPOSED FIREARMS CONTROL ACT AMENDMENTS on this page for your information.

In a draft Bill released in Government Gazette No. 28545 dated 24 February 2006, the Government is proposing radical changes to the Firearms Control Act and has invited public comment BY 31 MARCH 2006.  Please ensure that you advise as many 'interested parties' as possible of the importance of their submissions.  In view of the urgency of the matter SAGA's comments have been prepared in haste and should be regarded as 'preliminary'.

The electronically released Gazette, (available on Aquila's website), contains errors/omissions - we will update our copy as soon as the Government releases any corrections.  Please note, however, that the Bill is a draft working document (the law has not yet been amended), and should be used only for information on which to base your input/representations.  (Please send SAGA a copy of your representations for record keeping purposes.)

The Gazette contains a mixed bag of good and bad.  Although it appears that all existing licences will be accepted as valid - subject to the owner obtaining a competency certificate - it also appears that the intention is to give the SAPS much greater (excessive?) discretion and power, e.g. to refuse to issue competency certificates among other things.  We must stress that, although 'old' licences MAY remain valid if the proposed amendments pass through Parliament unchanged, those who are scheduled to renew by 31 March 2006 are still required to do so.  Of course the possibility of this change has already led to confusion and accusations of discrimination against those born during the first quarter of the year.  As far as we can see, the only fair way of resolving the issue would be for the Minister to extend the deadline for licence renewals to a date AFTER the Bill will have been fully debated and passed in whatever form is finally found practical and acceptable.  Until he does, you know what is expected of you.

In general, the amendments will further restrict/control firearm OWNERS while giving further powers to the police.  The proposals themselves are completely silent on how to deal with the administrative chaos that has resulted from the implementation of the Act.

Furthermore, in order to give effect to the proposed changes, more regulations will be needed, thus complicating the situation even further.  The changes that have been proposed relating to the validity of existing licences also will create greater confusion as to the processes involved in becoming competent and the validity of existing licences and competency.

The proposed changes include:

1. Black Powder Firearms
    The definition of antique firearms has been changed to cover only firearms manufactured before 1
    January 1900 that are not nitro proofed or have been altered to fire a cartridge.  Replicas will
    therefore have to be licensed.

2. Juristic Persons
    The Act definition of juristic person will be amended to prevent Trusts from owning firearms; this will effectively
    eliminate the last remaining manner in the Act to inherit firearms.

3. Cartridges
    The definition of cartridge has been extended to include rimfire and shotgun cartridges.

4. Occasional Hunter and Occasional Sportsperson
    These definitions have been amended by the deletion of "but who is not a member of an accredited hunting
    [sporting] association".  This means that, if you are an occasional hunter or sport shooter, you may be forced to
    become a member of an accredited hunting or sports shooting association.

5. Section 4 - Prohibited Firearms
    This will now require the Registrar to issue a permit for possession of a silencer.

6. Section 8 - Accreditation
    This is to be amended to provide a procedure for cancellation of accreditations by the insertion of a new section:
    Section 105(a).

7. Section 9 - Competency Certificates
    It may appear that the proposed deletion of subsection 3 is innocuous but this is one of the most sinister
    amendments.  Sub-section 3 deals with the requirements of competency and states that anyone who has been
    convicted of an offence specified in section 9, and has completed their sentence more than five years
    previously, is entitled to be deemed competent.  The deletion of this part means in essence that the SAPS can
    deny you a competency certificate for any misconduct which resulted in a criminal conviction, specified within
    the parameters of Section 9, no matter how trivial, longer than five years ago.  This means that applicants for a
    competency certificate, even if they have existing licences may be deemed incompetent as a result of a
    conviction much older than five years, and which took place prior to them being granted licences under the Arms
    & Ammunition Act.  The effect of this proposal is to vastly increase the powers of the Registrar to deem people
    incompetent and appears to be one of the cornerstones of the proposed amendments.  This is not an
    improvement, but a blatant removal of rights.

8. Competency certificates remain valid for a period of five years.  The renewal of a competency certificate
    appears to have been simplified by providing for a statement under oath that an applicant for a competency
    certificate still conforms to the competency requirements of the Act, to renew a competency certificate. 
    However, more power has been granted to the Registrar to institute an enquiry into a person's competency,
    notwithstanding their ongoing compliance with the Act.

9. A further punitive provision has been introduced which states that anyone who makes a misrepresentation or
    false statement shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding five years.

10. For sports shooters there is limited good news in that the magazine capacity limitation of five rounds on a semi
      automatic shotgun has been removed.

COLLECTORS

11. The proposals relating to collectors are the harshest in the Act.  All collectible firearms have to be
      "rendered inoperable" in accordance with the prescribed specification.  It is clear that the police 
      do not want collectible firearms to be used because they have deleted the provisions confirming
      that the owner may discharge collectible firearms where it is safe and lawful to do so.  This, in
      effect, means that collectible firearms must be deactivated, yet they still need to be licensed.

12. Ammunition collectors are affected in a similar manner. All 'collected' ammunition will have to be
      deactivated by having propellant and primer removed in the prescribed manner. The number of
      rounds that a person may collect as an ammunition collector is now reduced from two hundred to
    
 ten rounds per calibre.

13. The apparently good news is that Section 24 is deleted which means that - if the Bill is passed - there will be no
      need to renew firearm licences; all existing firearm licences will remain valid unless the licence-holder does not
      comply with the Act, or is otherwise deemed incompetent.  (Let me repeat however, that at this stage, the
      Minister is insisting that those who are due to renew by 31 March 2006 should still do so.)

14. Section 103 which deals with declarations of unfitness by a court has been expanded to give more powers to
      the Registrar to declare a person unfit even if a court has made a determination on a person's guilt by allowing
      the payment of an admission of guilt fine.  This seems to amount to a situation of double jeopardy i.e. double
      punishment.

15. More important is the fact that the Registrar can now declare a person unfit at a Section 102 enquiry in the
      absence of the licence-holder at such enquiry, and may do so on the basis of a written complaint against the
      licence-holder.  The Registrar may consider any other information or evidence at his disposal to make such
      declaration.  Put simply, you may be declared unfit in your absence and without the power to cross-
      examine the complainant who has laid the complaint against you.

16. A new section has been added to the Act, Section 105(a), which deals with the procedure to remove
      accreditation from an accredited association.  This will now allow the Registrar to carry out his threats to de-
      accredit organizations who do not uphold Section 2 of the Act.

17. Section 109, which deals with the provisions relating to entry into premises, has been extended now to include
      residential premises, i.e. the police now have the right to inspect your home without a warrant.

18. If you are charged with the offence of losing, failing to report the theft, etc of a firearm, and fail to produce that
      firearm within seven days of being requested to do so, there is now a presumption that firearm has been lost,
      stolen, destroyed, etc.

19. A slightly more positive aspect is contained in Section 132 of the Act that allows the Minister to establish an
      informal consultative forum to deal with matters arising out of the Act.

20. The Appeal Board's powers have been extended in terms of Section 133 by allowing them to issue subpoenas
      for a person to give evidence or produce documentary evidence at an appeal.

21. Complaints have been raised about the destruction of valuable heritage firearms, and the Act now proposes
      that no destruction take place without the consent of the Registrar and in accordance with the National Heritage
      Act.

22. The transitional provisions are to be amended by the deletion of the five year validity period, i.e. should these
      amendments be passed, no firearm licence shall remain valid until the end of June 2009.  A firearm
      licence will automatically terminate upon expiry of the time period - still to be specified by the Minister - for that
      particular licence-holder to obtain a competency certificate. Should you not apply for your competency
      certificate within the stipulated time period, you are obliged to hand over your firearms to the
      police services within twenty-four hours.