LAST MINUTE DEVELOPMENTS IN CURRENT AMNESTY
Date: Vol 17-03
VOL. 17 (03) - 25-01-2021
3. Section 120(10)(a) of the FCA stipulates that “…it is an offence to sell, supply or in any other manner give possession of a firearm or ammunition to a person who is not allowed in terms of this Act to possess that firearm or ammunition…” (emphasis on allowed to possess that firearm).
4. The WC Flash Commander thus argues that the above-mentioned previous owner contravened the FCA by giving a firearm to a third party for application for a new licence under the amnesty. All legal advice Natshoot could muster indicates that the WC Flash Commander probably attaches too narrow an interpretation to section 120(10)(a) if read in context of the amnesty.
5. In view of the wording of the declaration of the amnesty namely, that anyone who is in illegal possession of a firearm could surrender such firearm to the Police, the previous and present amnesty were used by many firearm owners whose licenses had lapsed (and who don’t want those firearms any more) to give it to someone else (a third party) who obviously did not have a licence for that firearm.
6. The third party would then surrender the illegal firearm to SAPS and would then hand in an application within 14 days for a new licence for that firearm under the amnesty. Thousands of such applications has been received and we believe, processed by SAPS.
7. The problem is that there are now also Police stations around the country which have in recent days started to follow the WC Flash Commander’s interpretation of section 120(10)(a) of the FCA.
8. We therefore suggest that before you decide to make use of the third party amnesty applications, to enquire from the police station where you intend to submit the application, whether they will accept and process it, or whether they will open a case docket against the previous owner because of the WC Flash Commander’s Directive.
9. Also enquire what the position will be if the previous owner accompanies the third party to the Police station and hands the firearm over to the third party in front of the police officer, who must issue the SAPS 548 to confirm that the firearm had been surrendered to SAPS by the third party.
10. We suggest that you also enquire whether your DFO will be open every day to accept such applications or whether an appointment can / must be made within the 14 days after the firearm had been surrendered to submit the new licence application.
11. Natshoot wants to protect its members’ interests. Please send an Email to [email protected] and provide us with details of problems you had experienced during the amnesty, regarding the surrendering of firearms, applications for licenses in terms of the amnesty, and; non- acceptance of re- license or new applications during the amnesty or Covid19- period.
12. Natshoot’s legal representative has made representations to the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of Police to ask for clarification on the WC Flash Commander’s interpretation of section 120(10)(a) in the context of the amnesty. We believe that the firearm owner who has given possession of a firearm with a lapsed licence to a third party in order to surrender it to the Police as part of the amnesty, has not committed any offence (particularly when the owner is present during the surrendering).
13. You can read our legal representative’s letter to the Minister and the National Commissioner HERE.
14. We shall inform members as soon as we have received a reply from either the Minister or the National Commissioner.
15. If you have given a firearm to a third party to surrender your firearm and to apply for a new license in terms of the amnesty, make sure that your intentions are recorded (to have your firearm surrendered to the Police), and that the third party had in fact surrendered the firearm to SAPS. Ask the third party for a copy of the SAPS 548 to cover yourself.
16. You are allowed to remove telescopes from rifles, but you may not damage a firearm before it is surrendered, or hand in a rifle without a bolt (the firearm must able to fire if SAPS wants to do Ballistic testing with it).
17. We suggest that photographs be taken to show the condition of the firearm before it is surrendered to SAPS (get a gunsmith’s valuation too).
18. We suggest that you make notes of (or record) discussions with Police officials if it appears that it will be impossible for you to take part in the present amnesty. It may save you if charges are ever instituted against you for possession of a firearm with a white licence which lapsed before the amnesty because SAPS could not assist you in time.
19. Please read the previous newsletters re the procedure to follow when you want to take part in the amnesty - https://natshoot.co.za/nhsa-info/newsletters/nhsa-newsletter/index-of-nhsa-newsletters/current-amnesty
20. Remember if you only have a green licence for a firearm you do not have to manage that firearm’s licence under the amnesty. Please read the two Newsletter of 2020 on this web page - https://natshoot.co.za/nhsa-info/newsletters/nhsa-newsletter/index-of-nhsa-newsletters/validity-of-green-licences
All of the above must convince any reader that renewing firearm licences on time is the way to go - do not disarm yourself. From 1 February 2021 you will have to surrender a firearm for destruction if you do not renew the licence on time.
Please protect yourself against the damned virus.
Dr Herman Els.
This Newsletter Emailed to all members on 25-01-2021