Lapsed firearm licence – what is the current position?

What can an owner of a previously licensed firearm do if he worked out of the country and was unable to renew the licence before its expiry date? This is a Vaalweekblad reader’s question, who on his return to SA learned from the police that his licence was now invalid and that his possession of the firearm was now illegal. “Is this really the case?” he asks.

According to a spokesperson for the De Beer & Claassen Group of Attorneys in Sasolburg, the renewal of firearm licences is governed by section 24 of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 (“the Act”), which stipulates that the holder of a firearm licence who wishes to renew his licence must apply to the Registrar of Firearms (“the Registrar”) at least 90 days before the expiry date.

In a recent High Court judgment, the constitutionality of section 24 and section 28 dealing with the termination of a firearm licence, was questioned as these sections caused confusion for firearm owners in respect of their obligations under the Act, in that if a person has not applied for renewal of his firearm licence and the 90 day period has lapsed, there is no way that he could renew or apply to renew his firearm licence and was therefore in unlawful possession of the firearm with no means to rectify the situation.

“In the absence of proper procedures for the renewal of firearm licences, the court declared sections 24 and 28 unconstitutional and ordered that the Act be amended by parliament within 18 months to address this aspect. In the interim the court held that all firearms issued in terms of the Act, which are or were due to be renewed, shall be deemed to be valid. This order is at present suspended pending confirmation by the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of the particular sections,” says the spokesperson.

“Against this background it means that there is a good chance that the expiry of this firearm owner’s licence may not be valid. We would recommend that he asks his attorney for assistance with formulating the necessary correspondence to the Registrar, explaining his reasons for not having renewed his licence in light of the High Court decision.”

Latest News


Carletonville HeraldParys GazettePotchefstroom HeraldVaal Weekblad