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Update on Expired Licences and the Firearm Amnesty

We wish to advise that one of our trustees, Mr Damian Enslin, attended a Western Cape Dealers Forum meeting on the afternoon of 7th June 2017, which meeting was attended by Major General Bothma, the Commanding Officer of FLASH, as well as by Col. Van Lill, the WC Provincial FLASH Commander.

Mr Enslin raised two issues at the meeting - the amnesty as well as the apparent ongoing  operations to seize firearms from those with expired firearm licences.

THE AMNESTY

With respect to the amnesty, Major General Bothma advised that SAPS submitted the terms of reference and conditions with respect to the amnesty to the Minister of Police and now await the Minister’s response. Thereafter the amnesty and its conditions will be submitted to  Parliament for approval.

Major General Bothma advised that the amnesty would be specifically aimed at persons with expired firearm licences, who would be granted an opportunity to submit new applications to their DFOs and that such persons would have a period of six months to do so.  

Major General Bothma also advised that the fact that one’s firearm licence had expired, would not be held against the applicant,  but he could not indicate as to whether it would be required of the firearm licence holder to surrender the firearm at the same time that he/or she applied for the new licence, and that this specific issue is in the hands of the Minister of Police.

SAGA is therefore hopeful that the amnesty will be submitted to Parliament this month, but with the recent appointment of the new Minister of Police as well as a new acting National Commissioner, it is possible that the amnesty may only be before Parliament next month, which would mean that the amnesty may be in effect from later this year.
ACTIONS BY POLICE TO SEIZE FIREARMS WITH EXPIRED FIREARM LICENCES

At the WC Dealers meeting referred to above, we were advised by Major General Bothma, that in light of the former Acting National Commissioner’s directive of the 8th May 2017, and the court cases as well as the fairly imminent amnesty, that there should be no such operations or raids by SAPS to contact persons with expired licence and to seize such firearms.

Despite the above assurance from Major General Bothma, it always appears that it does take some time for the word to filter to all levels of the SAPS, and therefore, if any SAGA member who is in possession of a firearm with an expired licence, and who is contacted by a SAPS official, who does request that the firearm be surrendered, please contact our office and we will then bring this to the attention of Major General Bothma.

SAGA will of course keep its members up to date with regard to these important issues as things develop.

Update on Expired Licences and the Firearm Amnesty
Update on Expired Licences and the Firearm Amnesty
SAGA News 12 June 2017.pdf (80.11KB)
Update on Expired Licences and the Firearm Amnesty
Update on Expired Licences and the Firearm Amnesty
SAGA News 12 June 2017.pdf (80.11KB)

No Logic in Statement by Minister of Police


It has been reported to SAGA that the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula has suggested that
firearm legislation must be amended to reduce the number of firearms in circulation.
Responding to this proposal, SAGA Chairman, Advocate John Welch said that the Minister
had clearly failed to apply his mind to the issue at hand, and that the Minister’s proposal
was irrational.

“Statistics to hand reveal that the overwhelming majority of gun related deaths in South
Africa occur at the hands of criminals using unlicensed firearms. It is illogical to operate on
the assumption that changes to the Firearms Control Act to limit the quantity of licensed
firearms for lawful private owners could have any marked effect on the behaviour of
criminals. By their very nature, criminals can be safely assumed to have an intrinsic
disregard for the rule of law, and no interest at all in the Firearms Control Act”, said Welch.
“Moreover, it is also well established that firearms stolen from the Police and Military as
well as firearms still in circulation from pre-1994 South Africa are the most prevalent in
violent crime. Lawful gun owners in South Africa comply with some of the strictest gun
legislation anywhere in the world and are in the main, very responsible in handling and
securing their firearms.”

SAGA suggested that the Minister of Police firstly look inward towards the loss of Police
and Military firearms and to the apparent inability of the Police to deal with criminal gun
possession before taking aim at lawful gun owners.

SAGA MEDIA ADVISORY MINISTER OF POLICE
SAGA MEDIA ADVISORY MINISTER OF POLICE
SAGA Media Advisory 23 May 2017_2.pdf (46.25KB)
SAGA MEDIA ADVISORY MINISTER OF POLICE
SAGA MEDIA ADVISORY MINISTER OF POLICE
SAGA Media Advisory 23 May 2017_2.pdf (46.25KB)

Please note that the date in point 2 of May 2013, we assume should read May 2017.

SAGA will keep you updated as information becomes available.

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE POSSESSION OF FIREARMS
LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE POSSESSION OF FIREARMS
Legal Developments in respect of the Possession of Firearms_3.pdf (842.45KB)
LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE POSSESSION OF FIREARMS
LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE POSSESSION OF FIREARMS
Legal Developments in respect of the Possession of Firearms_3.pdf (842.45KB)

Issued by SAGA: Thursday 11 May 2017

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE POSSESSION OF FIREARMS

1. The situation relating to firearms which are still licensed under the provisions of the repealed Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969, and firearms licensed under the Firearms Control Act, 2000, which licenses have not been renewed, have created uncertainty due to litigation which have been instituted against the South African Police Service in respect thereof. Although the matters are still to be finalised, it is deemed necessary to bring to your attention the latest developments, which have taken place.

2. When determining the lawfulness or otherwise of the possession of firearms it is essential to not only keep in mind the relevant provisions of the Firearms Control Act, 2000, but also to take note of the following developments which have taken place-

* Firstly, cognisance must be taken of the interim court order made in the SA Hunters application which has the effect that the persons who held licenses in terms of the repealed Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969 and failed to apply for the renewal of their licenses in terms of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 in accordance with the transitional provisions set out in Schedule 1 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 remain in lawful possession thereof pending finalisation of the court application. The court application has to date not been finalised and accordingly the interim order remains valid with the result that persons who are in possession of firearms which were lawfully licensed in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969, are in lawful possession thereof.

* Secondly, it must be borne in mind that the National Director of Public Prosecutions has indicated that where persons have failed to renew their licenses as required by section 24 of the Firearms Control Act, he/she will not be prosecuted if he/she surrenders the firearm in question. A court application based on the interim order in the SA Hunters matter and which has the effect that such persons will not be in illegal possession of their firearms, is presently pending before court and will be heard during April 2017.

* The Minister of Police has recently in terms of section 139 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 presented a draft Notice declaring an amnesty for illegally possessed firearms to Parliament for approval. This will be considered when Parliament reconvenes during May 2013.

3. For the reasons set out above, and more particularly the proposed amnesty which is inter alia aimed at addressing the licensing issues, operations specifically focusing on these areas should not, until further notice, be undertaken as this will impact on  a matter before Parliament which still has to be debated.

4. Further developments in this regard will be reported.

Signed: Acting National Commissioner: South African Police Service JK Phahlane

Date: 2017-05-08


UPDATE ON COURT CASE HELD ON 25TH & 26TH APRIL 2017 CONCERNING EXPIRED LICENCES

 We wish to advise that SAGA’s legal representatives, Advocate John Welch and Damian Enslin, attended on the SA Hunters case on 25th and 26th April 2017 in the North Gauteng High Court.

 SAGA’s legal representatives are of the view that the SA Hunters’ legal representatives gave a really good account of the matter as well as focused on the crux of  the matter, which is Section 24 read with Section 28(1) of the FCA and why it is unconstitutional.

 The Judge who presided over the matter, Judge Ronel Tolmay, reserved judgment and although she could not indicate a specific time frame for handing down the judgment, we are hopeful that judgment will be handed down within the next few months.

 We are optimistic that the Judge will rule in SA Hunters favour, but there are a number of technical issues, as well as a plethora of issues that the Judge would have to deal with before she could come to a decision.

 Our advice to all those members who are in possession of firearms with expired licences, is that the firearms should be retained in your safe pending the conclusion of the court case.

 In the second application (instructing attorney being Martin Hood), brought by SAAADA (SA Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association), SAAADA’s legal representatives were able to obtain an Order to the effect that the police are not allowed to destroy any firearms handed in for safekeeping purposes pending the re-application of a firearm, due to an expired licence.

 We have also heard rumours of an amnesty possibly from 1st June 2017. SAGA representatives are busy investigating this and will advise members once there is clarity.

 We reiterate that SAGA members with expired firearm licences should retain such firearms in their safe pending the conclusion of the SA Hunters Court case, and/or the amnesty.

 Unfortunately you cannot transfer, sell or even hand in firearms with expired licences to a registered dealer, as the Firearms Control Act does not allow for this.

 However, should you wish to surrender the firearm to the police (and you do not have to do so unless you feel you want to), please advise the police that the firearm has been earmarked for re-application and that you do not want to hand the firearm in for destruction.

 SAGA will advise members when we have updates on these matters.


HEADLINE: SAGA GOES TO COURT

SAGA will be in court with SA Hunters next week about the firearm licence situation. Herewith SA Hunters release on the matter.

Please support SAGA - get in touch with the office to find out how.

SAPS RAID HALTED
SAPS RAID HALTED
SAGA Media Advisory - SAPS RAID HALTED.pdf (55.42KB)
SAPS RAID HALTED
SAPS RAID HALTED
SAGA Media Advisory - SAPS RAID HALTED.pdf (55.42KB)

URGENT NEWSFLASH SAPS RAID HALTED

SAPS have confirmed to SAGA that the raids launched on April 11th have been halted. The operation, apparently aimed at gun owners only in the Western Cape and narrowly focused on the northern suburbs of Durbanville and Kraaifontein, saw multiple gun owners being strong-armed by SAPS to hand over guns with expired licences.

SAGA was reliably informed that in one instance 13 SAPS personnel attended one home. SAGA Board Member and Firearms Law specialist attorney, Damian Enslin said that he was perplexed at the action of SAPS, not only with regard to the likely disregard for the Firearms Control Act, Administrative Law and Constitutional Rights, but also because the very issue of expired licences is on the High Court role for later in April.

“SAGA suspects that this activity has been politically motivated and we are determined to get to the bottom of it. SAGA invites any gun owner who experienced a visit from SAPS in March or April in connection with this issue to contact us for assistance – whether a gun was confiscated or not. We believe that the action of SAPS in the Western Cape last week was legally actionable. Whilst SAGA has a long-established reputation of dealing respectfully and positively with the challenges surrounding firearm law, we are also not prepared to stand by and watch gun owners targeted unfairly and possibly illegally,” said Enslin.

SAGA emphasizes that as at this date lawful gun owners are advised that:

1.    If you are in possession of the old green licence, that licence is still valid in terms of an Order of the High Court – a copy of this order is available from SAGA.

2.    If SAPS personnel or anyone under their command, after correctly identifying themselves, and providing some form of warrant or authorization insists on taking possession of your gun, you are advised to cooperate with them while pointing out that a green licence is valid at this date. Moreover, with respect to the validity of expired White Licences you may point out that within weeks of this date various high profile court actions are due to be heard. SAGA legal counsel believes the so-called raids and any confiscation of guns as a result thereof is possibly breaching the Firearms Control Act and other laws.

3.    SAGA is considering an urgent interdict to address this issue - It will, however not be helpful for a gun owner to refuse to cooperate with the police.

4.    Before Signing any document presented to you by the police in this context contact SAGA (Damian Enslin – cell number 0826522150 or Jonathan Deal 023 358 9903 or whatsap to 076 838 5150.) A document that can be applied in the case of handing over a gun to SAPS for safekeeping – not surrender – is available from SAGA, and can be downloaded from SAGA’s website.

5.    This advice or assistance is offered to all gun owners who are free to contact SAGA.

SAPS TO RAID WESTERN CAPE GUNOWNERS
SAPS TO RAID WESTERN CAPE GUNOWNERS
SAPS TO RAID GUNOWNERS HOMES.pdf (54.11KB)
SAPS TO RAID WESTERN CAPE GUNOWNERS
SAPS TO RAID WESTERN CAPE GUNOWNERS
SAPS TO RAID GUNOWNERS HOMES.pdf (54.11KB)



URGENT NEWSFLASH TO ALL GUNOWNERS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

SAGA has been advised that SAPS in the Western Cape will be conducting an operation
aimed at gunowners who have failed, for whatever reason, to timeously renew their
licence's in respect of specific guns. It appears that SAPS teams will be conducting
‘raids’ on targeted individuals mostly at their residences with a view to confiscating
guns and ammunition. SAGA cannot at this stage speculate as to what SAPS intends to
achieve by this action, nor what other steps may be taken by SAPS at the time of such
visit.

In the interim all lawful gun owners are advised that:

1. If you are in possession of the old green licence, that licence is still valid in terms
of an Order of the High Court – a copy of this order is available from SAGA.

2. If SAPS personnel or anyone under their command, after correctly identifying
themselves, and providing some form of warrant or authorization insists on
taking possession of your gun, you are advised to cooperate with them while
pointing out that a green license's is valid at this date. Moreover, with respect to
the validity of expired White Licence's you may point out that within weeks of
this date various high profile court actions are due to be heard. SAGA legal
counsel believes the so-called raids and any confiscation of guns as a result
thereof is possibly breaching the Firearms Control Act and other laws.

3. SAGA is considering an urgent interdict to address this issue - It will, however
not be helpful for a gun owner to refuse to cooperate with the police.

4. Before Signing any document presented to you by the police in this context
contact SAGA (Damian Enslin – cell number 0826522150 or Jonathan Deal 023
358 9903 or whatsap to 076 838 5150.) A document that can be applied in the case of handing over a gun to SAPS for safekeeping – not surrender – is available
from SAGA, and can be downloaded from the SAGA’s website.

5. This advice or assistance is offered to all gun owners who are free to contact
SAGA.

 SAGA 1985-2015 : 30 YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE

 

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WHAT IS SAGA ABOUT

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.
        
SAGA is the watchdog that endeavours to safeguard the rights of the South African public by engaging government in discussion regarding firearm related issues and to provide technical assistance and expertise where needed. This is achieved by collecting and disseminating information regarding all aspects of the legitimate use of firearms. This is to enable responsible, non-discriminatory and enforceable legislation that would benefit all South Africans, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

World Forum on Shooting Activities  (WFSA)

The World Forum on Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA) is an ECOSOC NGO at United Nations representing over 100 million hunters and sport shooters.  We also represent most of the major civilian firearms and ammunition manufacturers. SAGA is a paid up voting member and is represented on the EXCO.

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