Firearms Control Act


The Firearms control act came into effect on the 1st July 2004, replacing the old Arms and Ammunition Act. It has brought about various changes. 

The Act makes provision that the appeal board, on the receipt of an appeal, must request written reasons from the official who denied the licence, which is to be given to them within 21 days and that the appeal board must then finalise the appeal within 45 days after the expiry of that 21 day period.

The appeal board must then advise the appellants legal representative of the decision within a further 14 days. Unfortunately as there are no penalties in the Act if the appeal board fails to comply with these time provisions it is unlikely that the appeal board will comply with the time periods specified. The appeal board on receipt of the appeal papers can decide the matter on the papers before them, alternatively can request that the appellant and their attorney appear before the board to make submissions.

Should you be dissatisfied with the decision of the board, you will still have the right to approach the high court for a review of their decision. Should you require any assistance regarding applying for a pardon, obtaining a firearm licence, prosecuting an appeal against a refusal of a firearm licence or launching a review application of the appeal boards decision or any other matter relating to the Firearms Control Act feel free to contact our offices.

To Apply for a Licence:

In terms of the new Act, various stages that has to be completed in obtaining a licence.

  1. 1.You will have to obtain a proficiency certificate from an accredited training institution who will provide training in both the theoretical and physical aspects of gun handling and law.
  2. 2.The applicants then apply to the central firearm register through your local designated firearms officer for the issue of a competency certificate.
  3. 3.The SAPS designated firearm officer for your area will conduct an investigation and a certificate will be issued if he is satisfied from the results of the investigation that the applicant has met various requirements including amongst others that they:
    1. 1.Are 21 years of age or older
    2. 2.Are a South African citizen or holder of a permanent residence certificate
    3. 3.Are mentally stable and not inclined to violence
    4. 4.Are not addicted to drugs or alcohol
    5. 5.Have not been convicted of certain criminal offences
    6. 6.Have obtained a proficiency certificate
  4. 4.Once a competency certificate is issued the applicant will then finally apply for a firearm licence. This application is required to be accompanied by a detailed written motivation explaining precisely why the applicant requires a firearm.
  5. 5.If you are applying for a renewal of an existing licence the application for renewal and application for competency certificate may be lodged simultaneously.

Information on the Number of Firearms.

In terms of the Act the Applicant is only permitted the following maximum number of firearms per licence type:

  1. 1.In respect of self defence - 1 firearm. Not necessarily a hand gun it could be a shot gun
  2. 2.Occasional sports shooting: firearms (three if you already own a firearm for self defence.) Of which only one can be a handgun
  3. 3.Hunting and sports shooting theoretically an unlimited number of firearms for dedicated hunting and sports shooting

Validity Of Licences

Licences to possess a firearm for self defence purposes are valid for 5 years.

Those in respect of hunting and sports shooting for 10 years. An application for a renewal of a licence must be made at least 90 days before the expiry of a licence.