Firearms Legislation General News

EXPIRED LICENCES : SUMMARY OF CURRENT SITUATION

Update : 12th July 2017

A summary of the judgement in the SA Hunters’ court case as handed down by the Gauteng North High Court Judge is as follows:

  • Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act are declared unconstitutional
  • Parliament is given 18 months within which to effect the amendment of the Act in order to ensure constitutional compliance
  • All firearm licenses that already lapsed or are due to be renewed shall be deemed to remain valid until the Constitutional Court has made its determination on the constitutionality of these sections
  • The Respondent (SAPS) is ordered to pay the costs of the Applicant. This means the Police will have to pay the bulk of the legal cost when the case is finalised

You can read the full judgement HERE.

However, the SAPS has taken the judgement on appeal.  The implications of this appeal are still being analysed.  In the meantime, our advice is to follow the information/advice in the notice dated 27th June 2017 (see below).

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As at 27th June 2017

In brief:

  • North Gauteng High Court Judge reserves judgement regarding constitutionality of Section 24 (Renewal of Firearm Licence)
  • North Gauteng High Court Judge reserves judgement regarding constitutionality of Section 28 (Termination of Firearm Licence)
  • North Gauteng High Court Judge orders no firearms handed in may be destroyed, pending the outcome of the various matters
  • SAPS issues confirmation of validity of Arms and Ammunition act 1969 licences (“green” licences)
  • Expired “white” licences with no previous “green” licence remain in “unknown territory”
  • Holders of expired licences are advised to wait pending the conclusion of the SA Hunters court case and/or the impending amnesty
  • The SAPS has implemented a policy of not allowing the transfer or sale of firearms with expired licences to a registered dealer, even though the FCA is silent on this issue.
  • See last paragraph for advice on how to surrender a firearm should you wish to do so (and you do not have to unless you feel you want to)

In detail:

The three court cases relating to the chaos precipitated by the requirement to renew firearm licences on a rotational basis as prescribed by the Firearm Control Act (60 OF 2000) as amended are of critical concern to all firearm owners. These cases were heard on 25th & 26th April. CHASA and CTSASA Spokesperson and advisor for firearm legal issues, Martin Hood, is attorney of record for two of the three cases, being those of the SA Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association and a private security company.

The current situation in a nutshell is that the judge has reserved judgement regarding the constitutionality of Sec 24 and 28 of the Act, and also ordered that no firearms handed in may be destroyed, pending the outcome of the various matters.

Should Judge Ronel Tolmay, who presides over this case, rule in favour of the SA Hunters’ application, an amnesty period for re-application of expired licences will, in all likelihood, be provided for.  We are optimistic that the Judge will rule in SA Hunters favour, but there are a number of technical issues, as well as a plethora of issues that the Judge would have to deal with before she could come to a decision. Judgement in this case is expected in a few months.

Also, the Acting National Commissioner: SAPS: Lt-Gen JK Phahlane has issued a document to various stakeholders (see attached) that recognizes the applications brought to the court and acknowledges the validity of firearm licenses issued in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969.

Firearm owners with expired “white” licences, who never had a “green” licence remain in “unknown territory” at this stage. CHASA firmly believes that those who had an original “green” licence remain covered by the interim order of 2009, as borne out by the previous paragraph. Advice to those who only have expired “white” licences is to do nothing pending the conclusion of the SA Hunters Court case, and/or the amnesty.

Unfortunately the SAPS is not allowing you to transfer, sell or even hand in firearms with expired licences to a registered dealer, even though the Firearms Control Act is silent this.   However, should you wish to surrender the firearm to the police (and you do not have to do so unless you feel you want to), please advise the police that the firearm has been earmarked for reapplication and that you do not want to hand the firearm in for destruction. Special forms are available at police stations for this very purpose.

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CHASA Update 12th May 2017 – includes statement by the SAPS – click HERE

An extract from the above document:

“Firstly, cognisance must be taken of the interim court order made in the SA Hunters application which has the effect that the persons who held licenses in terms of the repealed Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969 and failed to apply for the renewal of their licenses in terms of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 in accordance with the transitional provisions set out in Schedule 1 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 remain in lawful possession thereof pending finalisation of the court application. The court application has to date not been finalised and accordingly the interim order remains valid with the result that persons who are in possession of firearms which were lawfully licensed in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969, are in lawful possession thereof.”

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Firearms Amnesty 2017 delayed –  read more HERE http://saga.org.za/

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Martin J Hood & Associates Facebook – check for updates here

8th May 2017 – Update on Court Cases (Martin J Hood) – expired licences – here (Facebook)

8th May 2017 – Update on Court Cases (Martin J Hood) – expired licences (PDF)

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