Anybody caught in possession of illegal firearms after 30 June this year may be arrested and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and the illegal possession of ammunition could lead to 10 years behind bars. All licenses issued in terms of the "old law"Â� of 1969 lapse on 30 June 2009.
Such are the serious implications of the new firearms act that led to endless queues on 31 March for people who had to renew their firearms.
Each owner of a firearm has to "possess"Â� it after 30 June, which entails that the firearm must be:
- sold or given away
- handed in to the SAPS for destruction
- or deactivated.
Transitory measures announced in the government gazette entails that late applications may only be submitted if it could be proofed that the applicant was out of the country or ill or there had been an action beyond his control that prevented him applying before 31 March this year.
Hunters who hunt after 30 June and have not yet received a new firearms licence should:
- keep their old licence with the firearms concerned on them
- keep proof of application for a new licence with their firearm
- have the form SAPS 523, not a receipt, as proof of their application having been keyed in on them
- obtain the SAPS 523, which is not necessarily provided automatically, from the office where they submitted their applications.
The SAPS tries to key in all applications for relicensing and for new licences into the system before 30 June and to issue new licences wherever possible.
In conversation with Dir Jaco Bothma and Asst Comm Jacobs, who heads the legal division of the SAPS, it was clear that everything had not been thoroughly considered and they had an open mind for suggestions. The Hunters-SAPS consultative forum will discuss proposals with Bothma on 28 April 2009.
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