CONCISE EXPLANATION OF THE MEANING AND ADVANTAGES OF ATTAINING DEDICATED STATUS

Dedicated Status – what does that mean ? 

According to the definitions in the Firearms Control Act (FCA - Act 60 of 2000) a dedicated hunter or sports-person is a person who is a member of an accredited association who passed the relevant training courses of the accredited association s/he belongs to.  The person must also regularly participate in hunting and/or sport shooting activities relevant to the dedicated status the person holds with the specific association.

What is an Accredited Association? 

An accredited association means an association that has been accredited by SAPS as a hunting and/or as a sport shooting association. This involves meeting quite a list of criteria stipulated in Regulation 4 of the FCA Regulations of 2004, so it is not a simple thing to achieve.

Training course to attain dedicated status ?  

The training courses (theoretical & practical) as prescribed by the Regulations of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000), which a member of an accredited association has to pass before the status of dedicated hunter and/or sports-person can be achieved.

Regular participation is not defined by the legislation so accredited associations all have an own set of "rules" which are largely similar in nature and context. This amounts to a certain number of hunting and/or sport shooting, or hunting and/or sport shooting related, activities a dedicated member must report in a year (NHSA requires three activities of their dedicated members per annum).

Why would I need to become a dedicated hunter and/or sport-person?

The FCA offers certain privileges to dedicated hunters and sports-persons.

As occasional hunter and /or sports-person one may only have a maximum of four firearms for non-dedicated purposes – meaning for occasional hunting or occasional sport shooting and/or for self-defence, combined.

However as dedicated hunter or sports-person there is theoretically no limit to the number of firearms that can be licenced, provided one can motivate the application of each firearm successfully.

As occasional hunter and/or sports-person one may only hold 200 rounds per licenced firearm and no more than 2,400 primers if one reloads 

As dedicated hunter and/or sports-person one may hold more than 200 rounds and more than 2,400 primers per firearm licenced under Section 16 

What is Bona-fide hunter or sport-person status?

Bona-fide hunter was a category that existed in the old Arms and Ammunition Act of 1969. To qualify you had to apply directly to the SAPS, and once you had it you did not need to do anything to keep it.

How do I become a dedicated hunter and or sports-person?

Complete the relevant course with NHSA.  You will need to, successfully pass the evaluation (practical & theoretical) and then fill in the application form to be awarded dedicated status.  At NHSA these processese are concluded on a member's Personal Natshoot Profile Page after enrolment.

Maintaining dedicated status?

Not all accredited associations have exactly the same requirements. As “active participation” is not defined by the FCA it is up to each association to specify what they require. See how to Maintain Dedicated Status with NHSA because if you cannot comply with those requirements you risk losing your dedicated status; which can have serious consequences for your legal ownership of firearms.

Can I lose my dedicated status?

Yes you can loose your dedicated status, for a number of reasons:

Failure to comply with your association’s activity requirements

Not maintaining your membership

Your association revoking it as a result of disciplinary measures

What does all of the above mean ?

Failure to comply with NHSA activity requirements:

NHSA require that their dedicated members participate in three hunting and/or sport shooting related activities in a year.

At NHSA, these activities are not limited to only NHSA related activities - see Maintaing Dedicated Status with NHSA

Not maintaining membership:

If you do not renew your membership with your association it is surely unreasonable to expect your association to keep you listed as an ordinary member, never mind a dedicated member. Here we must sound a friendly warning, it is your responsibility to inform your association if you change your details such as your address. If your association sends your renewal reminder to your old address and as a result you do not renew your membership that cannot be your association’s fault.  Read paragraph 7 of the NHSA policy on maintaining dedicates status in this regard.

Can NHSA revoke dedicated status as a result of disciplinary measures 

If you have been found guilty of some form of misconduct and your membership is terminated you must obviously lose your dedicated status as well. Please take note that if you are found guilty of an offence that involves the FCA, NHSA is obliged to report this to the CFR in their annual report.

What if I cannot go on a hunt or participate in sport shooting this year?

If you are unable to actually go on a hunt or participate in a sport shooting activity in a specific year all is not lost. There are many legitimate reasons why a dedicated member may not be able to participate; financial reasons, being out of the country, medical condition etc. You may then enter a non-Active report but there are some prerequisites to this.  You should approach NHSA the moment you realise you will be in this position (read HERE)

What happens if I lose my dedicated status?

This can have very serious consequences for your retention of legally owned firearms

If you have used your dedicated status as motivation for your firearm licences, and you then lose that dedicated status it follows that the basis for you owning those firearms is potentially gone (meaning those that are more than 4).

NHSA gives a report to the CFR at the end of the year of all members who have lost their dedicated status, you can expect the CFR to investigate whether you should still be entitled to keep your hunting firearms.

Section 26 of the Act also requires you to report to the Registrar (CFR) within 30 days if any of your circumstances have changed, losing your dedicated status would surely qualify as changed circumstances. In other words if you have not notified the CFR about your change of status and they only find out about it from your association’s annual report you face being prosecuted for not reporting your change in circumstances as well as losing all your firearms. This is a very serious matter.

Can’t I just join another accredited association?

The various accredited associations have agreed to share names of those members who have lost their dedicated status with each other, so it won’t be quite that easy. You may well have to explain to the new association why you were in trouble with your previous association.

What if I want to leave my current association for another?

That can certainly be done.

The mechanism would depend on which association you are moving to. You will need  to contact the new association and ask them to recognise your dedicated status with your current association. It is likely that there will probably be a charge for this to cover the admin costs involved.

 

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