Firearm and cartridge collectors' issues

A circular received from SAAACA Gauteng to all their members:


As you are all aware, the licenses issued under the previous Arms and Ammunition Act (1969) will expire on the 30th June this year.

We have received a number of questions regarding the procedure which will be followed where New Applications are still in process at that time, given that the Seller or the Buyer of a firearm which has been transacted between two private persons could be construed as being in possession of an illegal firearm after that date, if the new license has not yet been received.

There are also questions regarding a directive purportedly issued by CFR in terms of which such firearms must be handed in to Police Stations for safe keeping at that date. This also would apply to firearms held in ‘safe custody’ at a Dealer in the name of the individual.

We have serious concerns around the practicality of such an arrangement, as well as the  preservation of our firearms in good condition, were something like this to happen.

We have participated through our National Body (NAACCSA) in a meeting of the UFF this week with other firearm groupings, to deliberate on this and other related matters , and to develop a consensus way forward.  Further meetings with CFR are planned in the near future by NAACCSA and other Firearm Associations, and we will keep you advised of developments.

Kind Regards,  

Carvel Webb (Chairman)

Continue to watch this space as we address some of the issues regarding the collecting of firearms and ammunition in the new amendments to legislation as contained in the Firearms Control Amendment Act, 2006 (Act 28 of 2006)

Click here
to see more information on the Proposed new firearms legislation page.

Update on 02 November 2007

Here follows a notice sent to members of the SAAACA (Gauteng) chapter by their chairperson, Carvel Webb.



Dear Members,


The Draft Regulations for the Firearms Control Amendment Act have been published for comment in Government Gazette No. 30401 of 26th October 2007.  A six week period has been allowed for comments. SAAACA (Gauteng) will be preparing a submission together with other Collector Associations through NAACCSA, which in turn will be aligned where necessary with the inputs of other Firearm Groups through the U.F.F.


It would be appreciated if comments and/or suggestions from members could reach the SAAACA Office by the 16th of November to give us time to consolidate our inputs from both a SAAACA and a National perspective. The ‘Final Draft’ of the Regulations will go to the Portfolio Committee, but it is not clear whether any public or other hearings will be entertained, so our written submission may our ‘best shot’ at influencing what finally appears in the Regulations.


At first glance it appears that most of the changes are to align the Regulations with the provisions of the Amendment Act, but many of our inputs have also been considered, as per the feedback in the Chairman’s Report at the AGM.


Of particular interest will be the inclusion of “Category E” for entry level Collectors, and quite workable mechanisms for the storage of Restricted and Prohibited firearms. At our request the old nightmare of having to engrave numbers on Collectible firearms and/or collectible prohibited artefacts has been replaced with a provision for addressing this requirement using an engraved metal disk secured to the item with a metal ring – a big improvement.


The ambiguity around “Initial categorisation’ has been addressed, and it is now quite clear that a member can progress from Category ‘C’ to ‘B’, or ‘B’ to ‘A’, once the necessary requirements have been met.


Some ‘typo’s’ have crept in e.g. in the process of updating the collectable values (thematic, rarity, investment etc.) to align with the provisions in the Act, “Field of Interest’ got deleted, which needs to be re-instated, particularly as it is now emphasized in Section 17 of the Act! 


As you will recall we managed to get the collectability attributes/values enshrined in the Act through our presentation to the Portfolio Committee, by quoting International legislation and precedents from Australia, Canada, UK, etc which the Committee acknowledged . However these values (History, Technology, Thematic, Investment etc – 11 of them) now refer primarily to the firearm in terms of Section 17(1)(a), and this distinction needs to be reflected in the Regulations to align with the Act.


Various other issues around transitional provisions, possible inclusion of very early historic breech-loading cannons and the like will need to be further debated. (Cannons (other than muzzle loading cannon) are problematic in terms of the SADCC Protocol but we believe that there is a case to be made for the preservation of early examples particularly where these start to assume heritage status e.g. from the Boer War, and South West / East

African conflicts of the early-mid 20th Century).


At this time we are still trying to find an electronic copy of the Draft of manageable size, and will advise members as soon as there is any clarity in this regard.  (CFR has been requested to make this available on their web site as soon as possible).


Kind Regards,




Watch this space as we intend to address some of the very concerning issues regarding the collecting of firearms and ammunition in the newly proposed amendments to legislation as contained in the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006.  Click here to see more information on the Legislation page.

Update on 19 February 2007

We have received the NAACCSA submission dated 16 February 2007 to the proposed amendments in the draft Firearms Control Regulations, 2007.

Update on 18 August 2006

Portfolio Committee feedback from NAACCSA

Dear NAACCSA Members,


As you are aware the Portfolio Committee hearings on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill took place on Friday 11th August, and Wednesday the 16th August.


Over 150 submissions were made to the Committee, but only 8 bodies were actually invited to make presentations to the Committee, which included Collectors in the form of the National Body NAACCSA on Wednesday. Other Organisations included the Institute for Security Studies, Hunters, Dealers Association, SAGA, Red Cross Trauma Unit, Gun Free SA, and the Gun Control Alliance.


It is not the intention here to give a complete run down of the proceedings, but rather to focus on Collector specific issues which were raised , and to give members a ‘feel’ for the public debate .


Each Organisation was given only 20 minutes to put their view and recommendations, so things obviously had to be dealt with in a very summarized form.


Our presentation was divided into the following sections based on the feedback received from members and recommendations of the various Association Chairman across the Country

•       Focus of presentation 
•       What is “NAACCSA”
•       Brief introduction to Firearms Collecting in SA 
•       Some pertinent facts and figures 
•       Key issues in the FCAB affecting Collectors  ( e.g. Section 17(1)(a), role of SAHRA, Inoperability
, Rifle
         grenades, Replicas,
cartridge definition, licencing of actions, muzzle loading cannon, exchange of ammunition
         between private individuals
etc )

•       Other issues of importance   (Muzzle loaders, Cap and Ball revolvers, Cost of Relicencing , Relicencing vs
         Audit, service delivery,

•       Recommendation and Conclusion 


The presentation includes a number of images, and is in the order of 5 Mb in size, so it is a bit difficult to distribute on Email. We will look at the option of putting it on the SAAACA and SAGA Websites for those who have appropriate access.


The atmosphere in the hearing was cordial but firm, and the various MP’s were very forthright in questioning various issues.  (In terms of the Parliamentary Process, only MP’s may ask questions)  


From feedback received, it would appear that the Collector’s presentation was viewed as constructive, and we are optimistic that many of our issues and recommendations may be seriously considered, but we will only know the final outcome after the deliberations in the Committee in ensuing two weeks.


I would like to share with you some of the questions, as well as comments in other presentations to give you a feel for the current situation and environment and an understanding of the views of our various Stakeholders, both ‘pro’ and ‘con’.


o       What are Collectors doing to further the broader aims of the Act , in particular the reduction of gun related 
violence, the reduction of the number of firearms in society, and the reduction of gun related incidents
women and children etc ?

o       Clarification on the statutory role of NAACCSA, how effectively it was applying its processes and guidelines,
         how it is funded, and by whom ?

o       Clarification on the situation regarding restricted firearms, where Collectors own the minority of such firearms 
         in private hands .

o       Rationale for collection of firearms cannot be compared to other areas of collecting ( antiques, cars,
furniture etc), as these ‘don’t kill people’ .

o       Questioning the need for the proposed “Novice Collector” category.
Given that firearms in private collection are owned by relatively few people but worth a lot of money, what
         was the collector’s objection to paying the current licence fees
, as they should clearly be able to afford it ?

o       Given that automatic weapons were now excluded from private ownership in terms of the SADAC Protocol,
         on what grounds should Collectors be allowed to own any of them
? (Examples of R4, R5, and AK 47 were
         specifically raised)


Most of the above questions were, we believe, successfully addressed, but my earlier comment on the outcome refers.


Extensive questioning on Audit vs. Relicencing, definition of Muzzle loaders and licencing of Cap and Ball revolvers, also ensued flowing from the NAACCSA, SAAADA, and SAGA presentations.


On related matters Gun Free South Africa urged stricter controls over Collectors through SAHRA,  stricter controls over muzzle loaders and prohibited weapons, and raising the minimum age for firearm ownership to 25 years,  The Gun Control Alliance similarly opposed any relaxation of any sort around e.g. relicencing, novice Collectors, muzzle loaders or antique firearms, and put it to the Committee that although the Collectors presentation ‘had merit’ , we only represented a small portion of Firearm Owners.


Please refer any detail questions you may have to the NAACCSA Office by fax or email, and we will see what we can do to respond to them as the process unfolds.


My thanks again to those Members who have made valuable input to this process.

Kind Regards,


Carvel Webb ( chairman)    

Information update 10 July 2006

Here is the most recent NAACCSA submission dated 07 July 2006 [MS Word doc 270kb] to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security in response to the draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006.  We received this submission on 10 July 2006 and encourage all collectors to note the contents carefully.

Information update 23 June 2006

Circular to NAACCSA members

By now you will have noticed the advertisements in the media inviting final comment on the proposed Firearms Control Amendment Bill.  These submissions must be in by the 10th July 2006, and we anticipate that hearings by the Portfolio Committee will take place at the beginning of August once Parliament has reconvened.

We will be submitting our comments and arguments to the Committee both directly as well as in concert with other Associations through our National Confederation (NAACCSA).

We once again invite members to give us their opinion on what needs to be addressed and how, AS WELL AS THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUES CONCERNED.

This is very important as the opportunity to effect major changes at this stage is limited, and we need to focus on what we regard as the Key Issues.

We will be focusing on Collector matters, and subscribing to other matters of general concern to all Firearm owners through the SAGA and UFF input.

To assist Members below is a list of points which we believe require further attention, or have not been addressed at all –

Collector specific issues in the Amendments

  • Section 17(1)(a) revised wording and SAHRA role
  • Remove reference to ‘muzzle loader’
  • Restricted Firearms – inconsistency compared to other Private owners

Collector Specific issues not covered in the amendments

  • Collector’s Competency Certificate
  • Treatment of muzzle loading Cannon
  • ‘Cartridge Type’ vs ‘Calibre’ for Ammunition collection
  • Imitations vs De-Acts (deactivations)
  • Rifle Grenades
  • Cost of relicencing – Section 145 – proportional to cost of Service
  • Museums and Public Collectors definitions
  • Validity of Bona Fide Certificates for Transitional purposes
  • Inclusion of ‘Occasional Collector’ up to 4 licenced ‘collectible’ firearms?

Collector related issues

  • Definition of ‘muzzle loader' to be tidied up
  • Cap and Ball revolvers – inclusion as muzzle loaders? ( Very sensitive)
  • Transitional provisions for Cap and Ball if not included
  • Transitional provisions for Actions
  • Antique firearms – re-insert as pre-1900 - licencable but not part of 4 gun limit?
  • Exchange / sale of ammunition amongst private owners  

General issues

  • Relicencing vs Audit

Legislation update as received 11 June 2006

Following the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee briefing by the SAPS Legal team last week, (which was attended inter alia by the NAACCSA chairman, together with Bruce Shaw ( NAACCSA ExCo ) and Stephan Fourie (SAAACA Cape)), the ‘Firearms Control Amendment Bill ‘ as it is known was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

This will now go through the last round of the Parliamentary process over the next few weeks with opportunity for last comments to the Portfolio Committee and/or public hearings before being enacted.  The Portfolio Committee briefing was an eye-opener in that apart from our presence, the Committee members themselves and the SAPS team, the rest of the institutional attendance was made up of 16 ( yes – sixteen) members of Gun Free SA and the Gun Control Alliance (their controlling body).  This re-emphasises the need that we all need to use each and every opportunity that arises to put forward a balanced view and ‘sell’ the case for legitimate and responsible firearm ownership.  The briefing itself was largely ‘neutral’ as far as Collector issues were concerned with some ‘negative’ comments being made as to whether all collectors were in fact ‘genuine collectors’ on the one hand, while on the other hand a comment that ‘collectors were a generally responsible group ‘.  It is obvious that we will however have to be very vigilant and not give anybody cause or reason to question our bona fides .

From the content of the briefing and the Bill it is clear that our submissions on the amendments have been taken seriously, although some issues will need to be clarified further in a follow up submission to the Portfolio Committee.  Members are urged to study the Bill and submit your questions or comments to us via the Office.  Some of the salient points include the following –

  • No new restrictions on the collection of Category C (normal) firearms and ammunition – i.e. the situation we had prior to the first draft of the amendments has been restored
  • The requirements for approved Field of Interest, Theme, Category,  etc as per the current Regulations have now been reinforced in the Bill 
  • Items which are collected by virtue of their ‘Heritage Value’ will need to be confirmed by SAHRA (the Heritage Resources Agency) although wording is ambiguous as it stands in the Bill and will need to be addressed .
  • Restricted and prohibited firearms will need to be normally kept in an inoperable state, where inoperable is defined as ‘a non damaging , reversible process ‘ .
  • The definition of ‘antique firearm’ has been removed, and the definition of ‘muzzle loader’ has been broadened to include both original and replica firearms , but only rifles, shotguns, and single barrel percussion pistols.  A competency certificate for a muzzle loader will be required in future, but not a licence.  Cap-and Ball revolvers are by implication excluded from the definition and will have to be licenced as things stand.  Transitional provisions for a year to allow for the acquisition of the necessary Competency Certificate is provided for, but no allowance is made for the licencing of existing cap-and-ball revolvers which will have to be addressed.  (The issue of whether a licence for a cap and ball revolver should be required at all, given that the necessary control can arguably be achieved via the Competency Certificate will need to be debated, and members’ views on this are urgently required)
  • Although not collector-specific, the biggest disappointment in the latest amendment is the about-face on the relicencing issue.  You will recall that in the original amendment, relicencing would have been replaced with an audit together with the acquiring of the necessary Competency Certificate.  For whatever reason this proposal has been reversed, and relicencing is again on the cards, although the validity period of the competency certificate will be aligned with that of the licence ( ten years in the case of collectors).  This and other issues will be discussed shortly with other firearms groupings through the UFF
                                                         This report was supplied by Carvel Webb, Chairman of NAACCSA 

Here is a link to the revised Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2006 that we received 22 May 2006.

NAACCSA submission

Click here to read the submission dated 30 March 2006 from the National Arms & Ammunition Collectors Confederation of South Africa to the proposals in the Firearm Control Amendment Bill, 2006.   [MS Word doc 107kb] 

                                                                      Urgent and important note

This note was received on 20 March 2006 from an informed source on Parliamentary affairs who represents the pro-firearm lobby.  Please take note of the content as it is important to those who wish to make submissions to the newly proposed legislation.

"One of my roles in, and personal contributions to NAACCSA, is to monitor the relevant Portfolio Committee meetings where possible, and devise methods of injecting 'our' view in various ways which are congruent with Parliamentary Protocol.  I assume that not many of the recipients of this mail ever attended a Portfolio Committee meeting. 

When the FCA of 2000 was in the Portfolio stage, members of the pro-gun groups only attended on 'their' day.

Not one, apart from myself, attended the thirty odd meetings to listen to other anti-gun submissions and also those of the SAPS and SANDF and other interest groups.  I might add that the IANSA group (including GFSA) had a team of 14 members at every meeting with laptops and printers allowing rebuttals to be handed out during the tea/lunch breaks.

IANSA is the International Network on Small Arms and consists of a Global network of more than 600 civil organizations working to stop the proliferation of firearms.  IANSA is but one of the over 200 anti-gun groups attending Small Arms matters at United Nations.  The next series of meeting where the intention is to outlaw civilian firearms starts on June the 26th and there will be one (1) pro-firearm NGO group in the 600 odd member assembly, that is WFSA (World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities) of which SAGA is an ExCo member.  Fortunately USA takes a very firm stand. 

The fact that a submission has been put in to the Portfolio Committee does NOT mean that you will be given a hearing.  A cross section of submissions representing general overview of those submitted will be selected.

There is no question or answer allowed from the observer gallery and anyone abusing their observer status would be dismissed from the room.  This is more than frustrating as often incorrect or extremely biased information will be passed between members of the Portfolio Committee (Members of Parliament).  The only way to try and contain 'damage' is to talk to helpful (both ANC, DA and other parties) during the tea breaks and lunch breaks - this is what is called lobbying.

If the members decide to vote on any issue the vote is normally 18 to 1 for the motion.

At the Portfolio Committee meetings on the Regulations then we 'pro-gunners' did better.  Of the 20 or more meetings held, we had more than one representative at maybe 3 meetings and most of what was acomplished was with direct consultation with the SAPS legal team.

The fact is that if a submission has viable, and let me put this louder, VIABLE alternatives listed they will be discussed and voted on. There are many in the Portfolio Committee who are astute and observant and will chose an alternative if it is reasonable to them.

However the input from the SAPS legal team is very important as they are often questioned directly on any option offered and will have to answer then and there without the availability of discussing it around their own legal table - although the next day or after a break they might ask permission to go back to a section.

What I am saying is that we have to have discussed what would be regarded as reasonable and viable with the SAPS legal team BEFORE the Portfolio Committee meetings.

The first stage of these amendments is thus where we put submissions to the SAPS legal team.

They will then draw up their recommendations, maybe changing their draft to include what they think is reasonable from us, which is why it is crucial to reach an understanding with them if possible as to what is logical and reasonable, although not forgetting their mandate / discretion.  However much of our successes in the past have been obtained by following this route .

Only after this is finalised will the SAPS recommendations go forward via their channels of protocol to the Portfolio Committee and at this stage formal submissions are called directly to the Portfolio Committee.

We then may, or may not, then still have a second bite at the cherry, to achieve further changes not agreed to with the SAPS legal team in the 'first round', but this is by no means guaranteed.

What the Portfolio Committee decides on is what will be forwarded to Parliament for formal approval - don't forget the 18 to 1 vote."     (Emphasis in bold and colour is ours)

More Information

It is speculated that the reasons for the amendments are as follows (Please note that the State has never recorded  what exactly the considerations are behind these amendments) - the questions in italics are questions we would like to see answered, before it can be determined whether the suggested considerations are indeed logically valid:


1.   Instances in the near past where collectors were investigated which lead to various (high profile) court cases
      played a role in forming a perception with somebody that the collecting of firearms is problematic.

1.1 What are the numbers, the dates, places and names of people so investigated, as well as the nature of the
      charges so investigated?
1.2 Investigated by whom?
1.3 What was the outcome of these investigations: Conviction in a criminal court or not?
1.4 If the outcome of these investigation was not a conviction, what is the relevance in law or logic of the
1.5 Is it not self-evident that the fact that an investigation is conducted is of no consequence in any sense unless
      the investigation culminates in an authoritative finding by an authoritative body which is properly competent to
      make such findings?
1.6 Is it not self-evident that the Ministry for Safety and Security and its employees are notoriously neither
      authorised nor competent to make any kind of finding, but are authorised merely to conduct investigations, the
      result of which must be placed before the competent authorities to make findings?

2.   The number of firearms found to be in possession of these collectors, and especially fully and semi-
      automatic firearm types, created a serious apprehension with these persons.

2.1 What were the numbers that created the concern?
2.2 Numbers of what precisely?
2.3 In what sense is a mere number a matter of concern?  In what sense does one person who possesses a
      hundred firearms pose a greater threat than a hundred persons who each possess one firearm?
2.4 In what sense is the mere possession, in the absence of any other indicative factors, a matter of concern if
      such concern is to be founded  in logic?
2.5 Of what relevance or value or purpose is the intricate procedure created by the legislation specifically for the
       purpose of establishing collectors, if it were not the intention to provide for the possession of numbers and
       types of arms that would in other circumstances not be justifiable?
2.6 What is it that is now known after the promulgation of the Firearms Control Act, that was not known before the
       promulgation thereof, that provided the trigger to the proposed amendments?

3.    Instances where museums and persons were investigated recently by the police.

3.1  What are the numbers, the dates, places and names of institutions and persons so investigated, as well as
       the nature of the charges so investigated?
3.2  What was the outcome of these investigations: Conviction in a criminal court or not?
3.3  If the outcome of these investigation was not a conviction, what is the relevance in law or logic of these
3.4  Is it not self-evident that the fact that an investigation is conducted is of no consequence in any sense
       unless the investigation culminates in an authoritative finding by an authoritative body which is properly
       competent to make such findings?
3.5  Is it not self-evident that the Ministry for Safety and Security and its employees are notoriously neither
       authorised nor competent to make any kind of finding, but are authorised merely to conduct investigations, the
       result of which must be placed before the competent authorities to make findings?

One of the deeply concerned Arms and Ammunition Collectors' Associations, the Southern African Arms & Ammunition Collectors' Association (Eastern Cape), SAAACA (EC), has responded to the draft proposals by sending this document to their national association, the National Arms & Ammunition Collectors Confederation of South Africa, NAACCSA.

To: Secretary NAACCSA
From: Secretary SAAACA(EC)

Please be advised that the SAAACA (EC) at its Exco meeting last night resolved as follows, and accordingly calls upon the NAACCSA Secretary to formally place the following before the NAACCSA Exco, for acceptance or rejection:

"As regards those provisions that prejudice the collector, including the provisions that relate to black powder 

1.   The Ministry and Department of Safety and Security has furnished no factual information disclosing the reasons
      why the legislation has to be amended.

2.   Accordingly the SAAACA(EC) rejects the proposed amendments, and maintains that the status quo be

3.   In view thereof that the Association is not informed of the reasons for the amendments, the Association is
      unable to make proposals to address the problems that are seemingly experienced with the legislation in its
      current form.

4.   The Association expresses its shock and dismay at the fact that the Ministry and Department has failed to utilize
      the established forums, including not only  the channels provided by the legislation, but also the so-called
      "Minister's Imbizo's" (the purpose whereof, to quote the Minister loosely, was to seek to resolve the problems 
      experienced with the implementation of the legislation, through co-operation).

5.   The Association records that at no time have the Ministry and the Department formally communicated to the
      Association any problems experienced with the legislation, or shared with the Association any such
      information, or sought to canvass with the Association any methods to redress any problems experienced by
      the Ministry or the Department in connection with the legislation in its current form, either at the "Minister's 
      Imbizo's" or elsewhere.

6.   Accordingly the Association calls upon the Ministry and the Department to formally and in writing, and with
      sufficient detail, disclose the considerations leading to the proposed amendments, so as to enable the
      Association to make a productive contribution to redressing such considerations, and to give effect to section
      195 of the Constitution, which requires the public administration to be governed by the following principles:
      6.1  The public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making.
      6.2  Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.

7.   The aforegoing to serve before the NAACCSA Exco as a proposal to constitute the mandate to bind the
      representatives of NAACCSA in addressing the matter with the Ministry and Department of Safety and