VALIDITY OF GREEN FIREARM LICENCES IN COURT

Dear Redot Clients

SAPS have given their legal counsel instruction to ask an appropriate court to have the interim order in the 2009 SA Hunters’ case be declared invalid (set aside). The 2009 interim…

Dear Redot Clients

SAPS have given their legal counsel instruction to ask an appropriate court to have the interim order in the 2009 SA Hunters’ case be declared invalid (set aside). The 2009 interim order in the SA Hunters case stipulated that all green licences (also those pasted in old ID books) issued in terms of the 1969 Act will remain valid until the main case had been heard.  That main case has not yet been heard, resulting in green licences remaining valid.

If the SAPS application referred to in 1 above would be successful and the 2009 interim order is set aside, people with firearms for which they only have green licences, could find themselves in illegal possession of such firearms at the moment the court sets aside the 2009 interim order.

PLEASE NOTE:  people with white licences for firearms for which they still have green licences must remember that SAPS do not take such a green licence to be valid anymore.

We cannot be sure what types of legal challenges may result in response to the SAPS’ intention to have the 2009 interim court order set aside.  Lawyers and some associations have informed the state attorney that they will place themselves on record as interested parties in the case. One also cannot be sure which way the court case will go or how the court will decide (but it is highly probable that the court may decide in SAPS’ favour).

In terms of the interim order of 2009, the Police presently allow people who have never applied for a white licence under the 2000 Act, to convert their green license to white licenses.  Provided that they have a valid competency certificate when they submit the application for a new white license under the 2000 Act.

This means one has to have a valid firearm proficiency certificate to apply for a firearm competency to own a specific type of firearm before one can apply for a white licence for such a firearm under the 2000 Act (competency to possess a handgun, or a rifle, or a shotgun or a semi-auto rifle or carbine).

We therefore advise that firearm owners who only have green licences for all their firearms, and who don’t hold competency certificates under the 2000 Firearms Control Act, should seriously consider to at least complete their proficiency training and apply for appropriate competency certificates as soon as possible (rather sooner than later). 

Application for a competency typically takes between 4 and 6 months.  If one waits to long to get competency, one could find oneself in a position where your competency application has not yet been finalised when the court case referred to in 1 above, is before court.  Meaning that one might not have time to submit a new white licence application for one’s firearms if you do not apply for competency in time.

We should not doubt that the forensic capacity of SAPS has been stretched due to the renewal of competencies having been submitted during the previous amnesty as well as the current amnesty, in addition to the normal flow of competency applications which must be finalised. One could thus except that 6 months for a competency application to be finalised could become the norm, rather than the exception.  Whether this is right in terms of PAJA, is not on the table here – this is the reality of SAPS’ implementation of this process.

Obviously, it remains a firearm owner’s own decision. We can, however, not over emphasise the urgent need to acquire at least a competency certificate if you want to keep your firearms if you did not change your green licences to white licences in the transition period of the 1969 Act to the 2000 Act (2005 to 2009), or in the 11 years after 2009.  Or if you already have competency and still hold firearms with green licences for which you have not yet applied for white licences.

One can use the time one waits for the competency to be approved, to complete all required paperwork for new licence applications (to be submitted the moment one receives competency)

Dedicated status:  We further suggest that firearm owners who have only green licences and who have more than 4 firearms or a semi-automatic shotgun, semi-automatic rifle or carbine, or who have more than 2 handguns, for which they only have green licences, to ensure that they have either dedicated hunter status or dedicated sports-person status which will be necessary to license such firearms under the 2000 Act. Dedicated status is something one can complete with your accredited association (hunting or sport shooting).

The Police’s court application (paragraph 1) will in all probability take a few months and we suggest that you should urgently consider taking the above suggested steps to ensure that you do not become prejudiced if the court case is decided in SAPS’ favour.  Thus, do not become caught where you do not have the correct competencies and thus cannot in time apply for a new white licence against your green licence if you have to.  You could lose a firearm for which you only have a green licence as it will become illegal if the 2009 interim court order is set aside.

We can assist in the following:

  • Firearm proficiency training
  • Firearm motivations & firearm applications
  • Amnesty firearm applications
  • Estate firearm applications

We shall inform all our clients accordingly,

 

Kind regards

The Redot team

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