South African – -(Ammoland.com)- This is an interim advisory notice to our members about this important and far reaching judgment and our advice herein may change after further study or opinion on the judgment, or as matters progress.
SUMMARY OF THE JUDGEMENT – NORTH GAUTENG HIGH COURT, 4 JULY 2017:
Judge Tolmay declared Section 24 read with Section 28 to be unconstitutional, which means that this section which dealt with the renewal of firearm licences is now no longer valid until Parliament amends the Firearms Control Act (FCA) and this specific section, and incorporates a mechanism for renewing firearm licences after their expiry date.
This Court Order still needs to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court, and until that has been done, we believe that caution is the better option in the circumstances.
If the Constitutional Court agrees with the Order and confirms it, then Section 24 read with Section 28 of the FCA will have to be amended by Parliament, so that it is no longer irrational or arbitrary.
Our advice in the interim is if members are due for a licence renewal that you must continue to comply with the FCA and renew your licence as usual, and please remember that it must be done 90 days BEFORE the expiry date.
To those members who did not renew before or within the 90 day period and whose firearm licences have already expired, in light of the judgement, your firearm licence is now valid and therefore you cannot be deemed to be in illegal or unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm. You cannot therefore be arrested by SAPS, nor prosecuted for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm, as such action by SAPS would be in contravention of a High Court Order.
In theory, those persons who are in possession of expired firearm licences should be able to sell or transfer their firearm/s to a buyer or to a dealer. We will however be addressing the SAPS about this, as currently the CFR firearm system has put a hold on all expired firearm licences. We will advise our members further hereon in due course. Do not however approach your DFO or your police station until we have absolute clarification on this, as SAPS will not be able to process your application.
With respect to those persons who may have already surrendered their firearm/s for safe keeping to SAPS or whose firearm/s have been seized by SAPS (solely for being in possession of an expired firearm licence and for no other reason), or who may have been threatened or charged with being in possession of an unlicensed firearm, and as a result of such threats surrendered their firearm/s to SAPS. We are of the view that such firearms should now be returned. However, until we have more clarity from the Constitutional Court on this issue please do not take any action until we can advise further. We will be addressing SAPS on this issue.
Please note however that the SAPS issued a Media Release yesterday, in which they advised that they are studying the judgement and are considering appealing, this means the whole matter concerning section 24 and the judgement may change.
We will keep our members updated as things develop.
As always SAGA needs your support and we encourage all lawful firearm owners who are not members of SAGA to join today. It is only with the financial support of our members, that we are able to intervene in this important court case, to best represent our members' interests.
A special thanks to all our members for your ongoing support!
Issued: Friday 7 July 2017 at 10:00.
About South African Gunowners' Association:
The South African Gunowners’ Association (SAGA) is a non-profit, non-discriminatory organization, whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of all people who embrace the principles of safe and responsible ownership and usage of firearms for sport, recreation, hunting and self-defence. Visit: www.saga.org.za