On 4 July 2017, the Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of the SA Hunters’ application that Sections 24 and 28 of the Act were unconstitutional, pending a review by the Constitutional Court. A few weeks later, on 28 July, the South African Police Services (SAPS) filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the Gauteng High Court ruling.
Fred Camphor, CEO of SA Hunters, says they are pleased that the Concourt can hear the case within such a relatively short time, which confirms the urgency of this matter. “The High Court’s ruling on 4 July was a major victory for all legal firearm owners. We are carefully optimistic that the Constitutional Court will rule in our favour.”
SA Hunters’ High Court application followed on the SAPS’ arbitrary handling of late applications for the renewal of firearm licences between 2011 and 2016. It was the second time that SA Hunters succeeded in legal action in the interest of all firearm owners.
In 2009, the North Gauteng High Court also ruled in favour of SA Hunters and declared all “old licences,” which had been issued in terms of the old Act (also known as the old green licence), were deemed valid until the main application had been dealt with. SAPS never responded on the founding affidavit, which means that the old green licences are still valid today.
Camphor reminds firearm owners to act responsibly and within the constraints of the Firearms Control Act when applying for or renewing firearm licences. “The status quo regarding their obligations in terms of the Act has not changed since the 4 July High Court ruling. Until the Constitutional Court rules differently, nothing has changed as a result of the SAPS appeal.”
In the interest of proper legal procedures and the law, SA Hunters advises firearm owners as follows:
- 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 the designated firearms officer at your local police station as required by law;
- If you already handed in a firearm to the Police, retain the proof thereof very carefully. Do not ask the Police to give back your firearm. They will not do it.
- If you are in possession of a firearm of which the licence lapsed, keep it locked away in your safe.
Issued by the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters)
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