The recent decision delivered in favour of the SA Hunters by Judge Ronel Tolmay on 4 July 2017 has been appealed by the South African Police Service. The judge declared Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Act unconstitutional, but the SAPS appeal suspends the implementation of the judgment.
This is an important aspect that firearms owners need to be aware of, since this means that we are still required to comply with the requirements of the Act.
The upside of the judgment is that firearms owners now at least have the certainty and the commitment of the SAPS that nobody will be prosecuted for being in possession of a firearm of which the license lapsed. Similarly, no firearm that was handed in to the SAPS in this process will be destroyed.
SA Hunters has advised firearms owners to take note of what should happen in the case of firearms licences that have lapsed or are about to lapse:
1 If your firearm licence is due to lapse, please apply in good time for the renewal of that licence. Complete the application, attach the required documents and submit it to your DFO as the Act requires you to do.
2 If you already handed in a firearm to the Police, retain the proof thereof very carefully. Do not ask the Police to give you back your firearm. They will not do it. (Remember the Police promised not to destroy any firearms that had been surrendered)
3 If you are in possession of a firearm of which the licence lapsed, please keep it locked away in your safe and preferably do not use it. (Remember the Police promised not to prosecute anybody for being in possession of such a firearm)
Another matter that firearms owners need to be aware of is that mistakes are being picked up with incorrect details on licence cards being printed by the SAPS. This typically includes a Section 16 firearm (Dedicated Hunting/Sport Shooting) being listed on the licence as a Section 15 firearm (Occasional Hunting/Sport Shooting).
Following an intervention by the SA Hunters, the CFR is now correcting such mistakes fairly quickly. SA Hunters suggests that members keep a full copy of the application they submit which may just make it easier to have mistakes like these corrected.
Members whose licence cards contain any faulty information are advised to contact Petrus Swart for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (012) 808 9300.
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