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your FIREARM rights – OUR FOCUS

SA Hunters promotes and defends responsible firearm ownership within South Africa’s legal framework   

SA Jagters bevorder en beskerm verantwoordelike vuurwapeneienaarskap binne Suid-Afrika se regsraamwerk

Green firearm licences still valid – for now

The old green firearm licences issued under the previous firearms act are still valid, provided that the owners never applied for new licences for those particular firearms. However, if the holder of a green firearm licence had applied for a renewal in terms of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000) and received the new white licence card, the green licence is invalid. If the application for a new licence had not been approved, the old green licence would still be valid.

There is a logical assumption that the old green licences would be declared invalid at some point. Meanwhile, SA Hunters advises members with old valid green licences, to apply for their firearm licences in terms of the new Act, and to comply with the requirement of submitting a valid competency certificate with their application.

Discussion between SA Hunters and SAPS started in 2020 to establish a meaningful process to switch all green licences to white licences. That followed on an attempt by the state to revoke an interdict granted in favour of SA Hunters by the Gauteng North High Court in 2009, that the green licences would remain valid until the main issue in that case had been heard and finalised. However, SAPS never responded, and the case was never concluded.

SA Hunters and its legal team strongly disagreed with the State’s approach and submitted a plan to SAPS for a process to migrate green firearm licences to white firearm licences in a seamless manner.

Because the discussions between SA Hunters and SAPS petered out, no further information is available on the status of this process.

Groen lisensies is geldig - vir nou

Die ou groen vuurwapenlisensies uitgereik onder die vorige vuurwapenwet bly vir die oomblik geldig indien daar nooit aansoek gedoen is vir nuwe lisensies vir daardie vuurwapens nie. Indien die vuurwapeneienaar egter reeds ʼn hernuwingsaansoek (vir die wit lisensiekaartjie) ingevolge die Wet op die Beheer van Vuurwapens (Wet 60 van 2000) ingedien het, en die nuwe lisensie ontvang het, is die groen lisensie ongeldig. Indien die aansoek vir ʼn nuwe lisensie nie goedgekeur is nie kan die ou groen lisensie ook steeds geldig wees.

Daar is ʼn logiese aanname dat die ou groen lisensies een of ander tyd ongeldig verklaar sal word. Intussen raai SA Jagters sy lede met geldige groen lisensies aan om aansoek te doen vir vuurwapenlisensies (wit lisensies) ingevolge die nuwe wet.  Dit vereis dat aansoekers geldige bevoegdheidsertifikate saam met die aansoek moet indien.

SA Jagters en die SAPD het in 2020 begin praat oor ʼn sinvolle proses om alle groen lisensies na wit lisensies om te skakel. Dit volg ná ʼn poging van die Staat om die hofbevel van die Gauteng Noord Hooggeregshof in 2009 ten gunste van SA Jagters, te laat herroep. In 2009 het die Hof beslis dat die ou groen lisensies geag word geldig te bly totdat die hoofaansoek van SA Jagters aangehoor en beslis is. Die hoofaansoek is egter nog nooit aangehoor nie omdat die SAPD nooit daarop gereageer het nie.  

SA Jagters en sy regspan het die Staat se poging betwis en daarna ʼn plan by die SAPD ingedien vir ʼn proses om die ou groen lisensies na wit lisensies om te skakel.

Hierdie gesprek met die SAPD het doodgeloop en daar is ongelukkig geen verdere inligting oor die status van hierdie proses nie.

We protect your interest

Firearms Legislation in South Africa from 2004 to 2023

SA Hunters is committed to protect the interest of its members and law-abiding firearm owners. Below is a summary of the main events regarding the Firearms Control Act, attempts to amend the act, the frustrations experienced by firearm owners during the past two decades, and the prominent role that SA Hunters has played towards making sense out of the country’s firearms legislation.

It is 20 years since the Firearms Control Act ( Act 60 of 2000) came into effect in July 2004. During this period, firearm owners – and anyone wishing to own a firearm legally – struggled with the perceived ineptitude of SAPS to manage, administer, and implement the act.

Between 2005 and August 2020, SAPS announced four firearm amnesties in an effort to remove illegal and unlicensed firearms used in criminal activities from the general public. According to statistics released by the commissioner of Police, not a single firearm among the 122 783 weapons surrendered in the 2005 and 2010 amnesties could be linked to criminal activities.

1 July 2004: The Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000) came into effect, with 30 June 2009 as the scheduled date for complete implementation. The stated purpose of the act was to:

  • prevent illegal ownership of firearms
  • limit the distribution of illegal firearms
  • remove illegal firearms from society
  • implement a proper and affective system to control and manage firearm ownership
  • monitor and enforce the firearms act effectively

SA Hunters has played in instrumental role in converting the former bona fide hunter model to dedicated hunter and dedicated sport shooter status that accredited hunting associations and sport shooting organisations can issue to their members. All firearm owners were supposed to have applied for the renewal of their current licences by 30 June 2009, in terms of the new act.

June 2009: It was estimated (according to several sources, including SAPS) that approximately 700 000 firearms owners neglected to submit applications timeously to renew their firearm licences, mostly due to the inability of the Police to manage the process. This meant that by 30 June 2009, all these firearm owners faced criminal charges with the possibility of a15 year jail sentence.

23 June 2009: SA Hunters filed an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court to prevent the scrapping of the old green licences, and to consider the constitutionality of the interim measures for switching over to the new firearm licence system. SA Hunters asks the court to deem the old green licences valid while the matter on the constitutionality is being considered.

26 June 2009: The late Judge Bill Prinsloo rules in favour of SA Hunters declaring that the old green licences for which renewal applications have not yet been submitted, will be deemed to remain valid pending the outcome of the rest of the court application. SAPS never responded to the main application on the interim measures, and the case never went to court. Therefore, the judgement on SA Hunters’ urgent application remains valid.

25 November 2009: SAPS announces a firearm amnesty from 11 January to 11 April 2010 to enable citizens with unlicensed firearms to surrender their weapons, or to apply for amnesty with a view to submit renewal applications for new licences. SAPS undertakes not to arrest anyone for being in possession of and handing in an unlicensed firearm.

During 2011: The first licences issued in terms of the new act begin to lapse (5 year for section 13 firearms for self-defence). Two major problems arise, e.g., the validity of competency certificates, and the condition that firearm owners must submit their renewal applications 90 days before their licences lapse. A SAPS directive (10A) states that a competency certificate is valid for as long as the relevant firearm licence is valid. Several other conditions are announced to deal with late renewal applications (within the 90-day period before expiry) causing further confusion.  

March 2015: The Draft Amendment Firearms Control Bill is published for comment. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Police holds a summit to discuss aspects of the act. Anti-gun activists/groups put pressure on the authorities for better control of firearms. The Bill is withdrawn, and a task team is appointed to investigate a ‘comprehensive revision’ of the act. 

26 April 2017: SA Hunters requests the North Gauteng High Court to declare Sections 24 and 28 of the firearms act (on the renewal and expiry of licences respectively) unconstitutional, to instruct the state to revise these two articles, and to deem all lapsed licences valid until a new renewal process is in place.

4 July 2017: The application is successful and the court rules in favour of SA Hunters. SAPS appeals against the ruling in the Constitutional Court.

8 June 2018: The Constitutional Court rules in favour of SAPS that Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act are not unconstitutional.

27 November 2019: SAPS announces a firearms amnesty that gives firearm owners six months to surrender unlicensed firearms.

4 December 2019: In an open letter, SA Hunters requests the Minister of Police to clarify certain aspects of the amnesty, and to recall it in favour of a new round of discussions among interested parties.  

28 March 2020: Covid 19 restrictions hit the country, preventing individuals from moving freely to make use of the amnesty and hand in their firearms.

1 August 2020: SAPS announces another six-month amnesty until 31 May 2021.

8 September 2020: Die state attorney informs SA Hunters that the court interdict of June 2009 (validity of the green licences) is about to be repealed and requests the Association to withdraw its court application. SA Hunters expresses its view that it prefers to enter into further discussions on the process to convert the green licences to new licences. The state attorney agrees to this process.

1 June 2021: A new Draft Amendment Firearms Control Bill is published with 4 July 2021 as the deadline for submitting comment. SA Hunters encourages its members and the public to submit their comments. The Association launches a national multimedia awareness campaign in which it analyses and questions the proposed amendments and their impact on firearm owners. Numerous petitions against the implementation of the amendments are widely supported. Approximately 118 000 comments are received from the public.

1July 2021: The deadline for comment on the amendment bill is extended to 2 August 2021.

November 2021: The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for the Police announces the withdrawal of the amendment bill for further consultation. This effectively brings an end to the process of reviewing the Firearms Control Act.

27 May 2022: The Constitutional Court rules in favour of Fidelity security’s court application against SAPS regarding the expiry of 700 of its firearm licences.

This judgement is a turning point in the firearm licence saga and means that any individual may apply for a firearm licence for any firearm of which the licence has expired.

July 2022: SAPS announces that firearm owners whose licences lapsed, no longer need to hand in their firearms at police stations, but to take it to their DFOs who will verify the firearm and issue a certificate. The licence application will be deemed as a regular new licence application with the standard requirements of it being accompanied by a valid competency certificate. This decision, in principle, constitutes a permanent amnesty. It means that a firearm owner can apply at any time for a new licence for a firearm of which the licence has expired, without having to hand in the relevant firearm to the Police.

12 September 2022: SAPS instructs police stations to issue temporary permits to firearm owners whose licence applications have been approved, but who were still waiting for their licence cards.

Ons beskerm jou belange

Vuurwapenwetgewing in Suid-Afrika van 2004 tot 2023

SA Jagters werk deurlopend om die belange van ons lede en wetsgehoorsame vuurwapeneienaars in die algemeen te beskerm. Die onderstaande samevatting skets die agtergrond rondom die Wet op die Beheer van Vuurwapens, pogings tot wysigings van die wet, frustrasie onder vuurwapeneienaars oor twee dekades en die prominente rol wat SA Jagters in hierdie prosesse gespeel het.

Vir bykans 20 jaar sedert die Wet op die Beheer van Vuurwapens (Wet 60 van 2000) in Julie 2004 in werking getree het, ervaar vuurwapeneienaars – en enigeen wat graag ’n vuurwapen wil besit – een struikelblok na die ander weens die SAPD se gebrekkige implementering en oënskynlike onvermoë om die bepalings van hierdie wet te administreer.

Tussen 2005 en Augustus 2020, het die SAPD vier amnesties aangekondig met die doel om o.a. onwettige en ongelisensieerde vuurwapens wat met misdade verband hou, uit die gemeenskap te verwyder. Volgens syfers van die kommissaris van Polisie, is 122 783 vuurwapens in die 2005 en 2010 amnesties ingehandig waaruit nie een enkele vuurwapen met ʼn misdaad verbind kon word nie.

1 Julie 2004: Die Wet op die Beheer van Vuurwapens, Wet 60 van 2000 tree in werking met 30 Junie 2009 as die teikendatum vir volledige implementering. Die doel van die wet is om:

  • die onwettige besit van vuurwapens te voorkom
  • die verspreiding van onwettige vuurwapens te beperk
  • vuurwapens in onwettige besit uit die samelewing te verwyder
  • ‘n volledige en doeltreffende stelsel van vuurwapenbeheer en -bestuur in te stel
  • die vuurwapenwet doeltreffend te monitor en af te dwing

SA Jagters was instrumenteel in die deurbraak om die vorige konsep van bona fide jagter te omskep na toegewyde jagter- en toegewyde sportskutstatus wat geakkrediteerde jag- en sportskietverenigings aan lede kon toeken. Alle vuurwapeneienaars was veronderstel om teen die implementeringsdatum van 30 Junie 2009 aansoek te doen vir die heruitreik van bestaande vuurwapenlisensies ingevolge die nuwe wet.

Gedurende Junie 2009: Na raming (verskeie bronne waaronder die SAPD) het ongeveer 700 000 vuurwapeneienaars versuim om aansoeke vir hernuwing van hul vuurwapenlisensies in te dien, grootliks weens die Polisie se onvermoë om die proses te bestuur. Gevolglik kon hierdie vuurwapeneienaars op 30 Junie 2009 effektief as kriminele verklaar word en tot 15 jaar gevangenisstraf opgelê word.

23 Junie 2009: SA Jagters bring ʼn dringende aansoek in Noord Gauteng hooggeregshof om die skrap van ou groen lisensies op 30 Junie 2009 te stuit. Hiermee saam word ʼn hoofaansoek gebring wat handel met die grondwetlikheid van die oorgangsmaatreëls na die nuwe lisensies. SA Jagters versoek die hof om die ou groen lisensies steeds geldig te ag hangende die uitspraak in die hoofaansoek (oor grondwetlikheid).

26 Junie 2009: Wyle Regter Bill Prinsloo lewer uitspraak in die dringende aansoek in die guns van SA Jagters en bepaal dat alle ou groen lisensies waarvoor nog nie aansoek gedoen is vir herlisensiëring nie, geag word geldig te bly totdat die hoofaansoek beslis is. Die SAPD het nooit gereageer op die hoofaansoek oor die oorgangsmaatreëls nie en die hoofaansoek is nooit aangehoor nie. Die uitspraak in hierdie dringende aansoek bly dus geldig.

25 November 2009: Die SAPD kondig ʼn vuurwapenamnestie aan van 11 Januarie tot 11 April 2010 wat mense met ongelisensieerde vuurwapens die kans gee om vuurwapens in te handig of aansoek te doen vir amnestie met die oog op herlisensiëring. Niemand wat ʼn wapen inhandig sou vervolg word net vir die onwettige besit daarvan nie.

Gedurende 2011: Die eerste lisensies wat uitgereik is ingevolge die nuwe wet, het begin verval (5 jaar vir artikel 13 wapens vir selfverdediging). Twee groot probleme het opgeduik, nl. die geldigheid van bevoegdheidsertifikate en die voorwaarde dat lisensiehouers hernuwingsaansoeke moet indien meer as 90 dae vóór hulle lisensies verval. ʼn SAPD-direktief (10A) verklaar dat ʼn bevoegdheidsertifikaat geldig is so lank as wat die lisensie van die betrokke tipe vuurwapen geldig is. Vir laat hernuwingsaansoeke (binne die 90 dae tydperk voor die lisensie verval) is verskeie ander voorwaardes ingestel wat tot meer verwarring gelei het.

Maart 2015: Die Konsepwysigingswet op die Beheer van Vuurwapens word vir kommentaar gepubliseer. Die parlementêre portefeuljekomitee vir polisie hou ʼn beraad om aspekte rondom die wet te bespreek. Anti-vuurwapen aktiviste/groepe plaas druk op die regering vir beter beheer oor vuurwapens. Die wetsontwerp word later teruggetrek en ʼn taakspan word aangestel om ʼn ‘omvattende hersiening’ van die wet te ondersoek.

26 April 2017: SA Jagters versoek die Noord-Gauteng Hooggeregshof om Artikels 24 en 28 (onderskeidelik die hernuwing en verval van lisensies) van die vuurwapenwet ongrondwetlik te verklaar en die staat opdrag te gee om dié twee artikels te hersien en die lisensies wat verval het, geldig te ag totdat ʼn nuwe hernuwingsproses in werking tree.

4 Julie 2017: Die aansoek slaag en die hof lewer uitspraak in SA Jagters se guns. Die SAPD reageer deur appèl aan te teken in die Konstitusionele Hof.

8 Junie 2018: Die Konstitusionele Hof lewer uitspraak in die guns van die SAPD dat Artikels 24 en 28 van die vuurwapenwet nie ongrondwetlik is nie.

27 November 2019: SAPD kondig ʼn vuurwapenamnestie aan wat vuurwapeneienaars ses maande tyd gee om ongelisensieerde vuurwapens in te handig.

4 Desember 2019: SA Jagters versoek die minister van polisie in ʼn ope brief om sekere aspekte van die amnestie te verduidelik en die amnestie terug te trek in ruil vir ʼn nuwe ronde gesprekke met belanghebbendes.

28 Maart 2020: Covid-19-inperkings ruk die land tot stilstand en aanvanklike inperkings belemmer individue wat die amnestie wou gebruik om wapens onder die amnestie in te handig.

1 Augustus 2020: SAPD kondig ʼn verdere ses maande vuurwapenamnestie aan tot 31 Mei 2021.

8 September 2020: Die staatsprokureur lig SA Jagters in dat die hofinterdik van Junie 2009 (geldigheid van groen lisensies) herroep gaan word en versoek die Vereniging om die hofaansoek te onttrek. SA Jagters reageer dat die Vereniging eerder in gesprek wil tree oor ʼn proses om die groen lisensies om te skakel na “nuwe lisensies”. Die staatsprokureur stem in tot so ʼn proses.

1 Junie 2021: ʼn Nuwe konsepwysigingswet op die beheer van vuurwapens word gepubliseer met die spertyd vir kommentaar op 4 Julie 2021. SA Jagters moedig lede en die publiek aan om kommentaar in te dien. SA Jagters loods ʼn omvattende multimedia bewusmakingsveldtog om die impak van die voorgestelde wysigings te ontleed en te bevraagteken. Talle petisies teen die implementering van hierdie wysigings word landwyd ondersteun. Ongeveer 118 000 kommentare is van die publiek ontvang.

1Julie 2021: Die sperdatum vir kommentaar op die konsepwysigingswet word verleng tot 2 Augustus 2021.

November 2021: Die parlementêre portefeuljekomitee vir polisie kondig aan dat die konsepwysigingswet teruggehou word vir verdere konsultasie. Daarmee sterf die proses rondom hierdie voorgestelde hersiening van die wet ʼn natuurlike dood.

27 Mei 2022: Die Konstitusionele Hof lewer uitspraak ten gunste van Fidelity sekuriteitsfirma in sy hofaansoek teen die SAPD oor 700 vuurwapenlisensies van Fidelity wat verval het.

Hierdie uitspraak bring ʼn dramatiese verandering in die landskap mee. Dit kom daarop neer dat enige individu kan aansoek doen vir ʼn nuwe lisensie vir enige wapen waarvan die lisensie verval het.

Julie 2022: Die SAPD kondig aan dat vuurwapeneienaars wie se lisensies verval het, nie die vuurwapen by die Polisie hoef in te handig nie, maar die wapen na die betrokke aangewese vuurwapenoffisier moet neem vir verifiëring en die uitreik van ʼn voorgeskrewe sertifikaat. Die aansoek word as ʼn gewone aansoek vir ʼn nuwe lisensie hanteer en die aansoeker moet in besit wees van ʼn geldige bevoegdheidsertifikaat voordat die aansoek vir ʼn nuwe lisensie ingedien kan word In beginsel beteken dit so te sê ʼn permanente amnestie. Daar kan dus enige tyd aansoek gedoen word vir ʼn nuwe lisensie vir ʼn vuurwapen waarvan die lisensie verval het, sonder die noodsaak om die wapen by die Polisie in te handig.

12 September 2022:  Die SAPD gee opdrag aan polisiestasies dat hulle tydelike permitte aan vuurwapeneienaars moet uitreik wie se lisensie-aansoeke goedgekeur is, maar wat nog nie lisensiekaarte ontvang het nie.

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