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SA Hunters Court Application April 2017 - Information and Documents

SA Hunters’ Court Application affects all legal Firearm Owners

The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association’s (SA Hunters) court application against the Minister of Police about the renewal of firearm licences will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on 25 and 26 April.

SA Hunters’ court application deals with the constitutionality of the actions by the SAPS and the Central Firearm Registry (CFR) regarding the renewal of firearm licences. The Association’s legal action followed on SAPS’ directive to police stations in February 2016, instructing firearm owners whose firearm licences had expired, to hand in their firearms at their nearest police station for destruction.

In terms of Section 24 of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000 as amended) firearm owners must renew firearm licences that had been issued since 2006. Such a renewal application must be submitted at least 90 days before the licence expires. However, the Act does not allow SAPS to make decisions regarding the surrendering and destruction of firearms because of late licence renewal applications.

It is estimated that 190 000 firearm licences had expired since 2011 and for which no renewal applications have been submitted. Most of these firearms are handguns that were acquired for self-defence purposes for which a licence is only valid for five years.

SA Hunters CEO, Fred Camphor, said most of these firearm owners simply forgot to renew their licences. “They are not criminals and did not use these firearms in criminal acts. They just forgot to renew their licences in the same way people sometimes forget to renew their drivers’ licences or motor vehicle licences. In these instances, the person renews the licence and pays an administrative fine without having to surrender his motor vehicle.”

Since 2011, SAPS accepted each licence renewal applications that had been submitted (even five years after they had expired). These applications were processed and renewal licences were issued providing the applicant met the required criteria. There are thousands of examples.

In February 2016, this situation changed when the acting police commissioner instructed police stations not to accept any late renewal applications for firearm licences. In addition, police had to inform applicants that they were in illegal possession of a firearm and should surrender their firearms at their nearest police station.

SA Hunters believes the police’s action is illegal and brought the court application to amend the Act and correct the shortcomings. If SA Hunters succeeds with its application, all firearm owners in South African will benefit and not only its 40 000 members.

Any person or organisation interested in assisting SA Hunters in this matter can do so by making a donation to the SA Hunters Legal Aid Fund: Absa Bank, Branch: 632005, Account No: 9134305406.

Contact the SA Hunters Head Office in 012 808 9300 should you be interested in the court annexures

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