Legal background

The new Firearms Control Act 2000, Act 60 of 2000 together with its amendments, has elicited different reactions from roleplayers. Groups supporting a gun-free South Africa are over the moon, while hunters, farmers, collectors and the public who must protect their lives and property see it as an attempt to disarm legal firearm owners.

The fact is, the Act is here to stay. On this web page we will keep visitors informed about new developments, decided cases, general progress with the processing of applications and, most importantly, what Legally Armed can do to make the Act more user-friendly for the general public.

The early days of the Act

The renewal of privately owned firearm licences started in 2005 and the due dates for licence renewals were according to the birthday of their current owners. The group of owners whose birthdays are between 1 July and 30 September had to apply before 31 March 2008. we warned clients to not wait until the last minute as they would not have time to lodge a proper application!

The dates were as follows (First the birthday period and then the renewal period):

* 1 January to 31 March - 1 January 2005 to 31 March 2006
* 1 April to 30 June - 1 January 2006 to 31 March 2007
* 1 July to 30 September - 1 January 2007 to 31 March 2008
* 1 October to 31 December - 1 January 2008 to 31 March 2009

Business owners who possess firearms were obliged to renew their licences from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2006. These businesses included security firms, firearm training institutions, game ranches, professional hunters, any other type of business which possesses firearms such as liquor stores, as well as businesses using firearms in theatre, film and television productions. All these businesses, security firms excluded, had to apply for accreditation at the South African Police Services (SAPS) before they could apply for renewal of licences. Security firms had to apply for renewal of their firearm licences. All security officers employed by these companies have to obtain competency certificates from the SAPS before they could be issued with firearms.

Latest news regarding expired licences

Amnesty period

An amnesty period to hand in unwanted and unlicenced firearms, parts and ammunition, etc (also to include the opportunity to make a new conditional application to continue owning a firearm which licence had expired) was declared from 1 December 2019 to 31 May 2020 by the Minister of Police and appeared in Notice no 42858 in the Government Gazette of 27 November 2019. We believe this has been challenged by the National Hunting and Shooting Association (NHSA) and the (Notice of Motion of the) case (Case no 93067/19) NHSA vs Minister of Police is to be heard in the Gauteng Division of the High Court on Tuesday, 14 January 2020.

We await the outcome and to avoid speculation will advise once confirmed reports are received.

                                                                                                                                      Updated 13 January 2020