APPLY FOR NEW LICENCE FOR LAPSED LICENCE - FIDELITY APPEAL
Date: Vol 17-15
VOL. 17 (15) - 30-04-2021
Our Legal Advisor, Mr Juan Kotzé, has compiled the following important information concerning the possibility to apply for a new firearm licence for a firearm of which the licence has lapsed, in view of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment in the by now well-known Fidelity Security Services case delivered on 22 April 2021.
His informative report follows:
MISLEADING NEWSPAPER- AND SOCIAL MEDIA REPORTS.
Since I previously reported on the effect of the above judgment, there have been a number of misleading newspaper- and social media reports stating that the Fidelity judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which was delivered on 22 April 2021, provides that firearm owners with expired licences can NOW apply for new firearm licences in respect of firearms of which the licences have expired without it being renewed. The reports also often added that it is not necessary to await a new amnesty.
SAPS(CFR) COMPUTER SYSTEM HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED YET.
The position is however not so simple, because the South African Police Service have not yet changed their computer system to allow the capturing of an application for a new licence in respect of a firearm of which the licence has expired. The Minister of Police may also still decide to appeal the judgment.
It is pointed out that the submission of an application is only the first step in the process to obtain a licence. The application will be considered by the adjudication committee in terms of the criteria set in terms of their approval policy. At present the policy is that a firearm, of which a licence has expired, cannot be disposed of to the previous licensee or to a dealer or to a third party. The relevant SAPS- directive states that such firearms must be surrendered for destruction.
NO AMNESTY AT PRESENT.
In terms of SAPS present policy, only an amnesty can provide the legal framework for an application for a new licence for a firearm which is in illegal possession. It is also a condition of an amnesty that the firearm must be surrendered to the Police pending the outcome of the new licence application. The last amnesty expired on 31 January 2021 and the process is presently not available.
Representation has been made to the authorities that the present policy be changed in order to provide that firearms with expired licences can be legally transferred to dealers, third parties and the previous licensee.
You can be sure that an application for a new licence for a firearm with a lapsed licence will, until the policy has been changed, be unsuccessful (such application will probably not be accepted by your DFO).
Proposals to legitimise the possession of such firearms pending the outcome of the licence application, has also been submitted to authorities.
It is recommended that you await the outcome of the request to change the policy (or a possible new amnesty) before you submit new licence applications for firearms with expired licences.
Please note that if you are presently in possession of a firearm with an expired licence, you may be in illegal possession thereof and you may commit an offence. The Fidelity-judgment didn’t change this situation.
Signed Juan Kotzé
We believe this is important information for our members who have firearms in their possession of which the white licence has expired.
clear that the important "next step" is to wait for SAPS to indicate
how they will react on the SCA judgment of 22 April 2021. And if they
do, how they will manage the implied changes to their current
administrative procedures re firearm licensing.
We shall keep members abreast of any movement on this regard.
Kind Regards, Natshoot Office