On Friday, 27 May 2022 at 10h00, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in an application for leave to appeal against the judgment and order of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which held that Fidelity Security Services (Pty) Limited (Fidelity) is entitled to apply for licences to possess firearms, with respect to firearms whose previous licences had expired. The primary issue for determination was whether the SCA was correct in its interpretation of section 3 of the Firearms Control Act (the Act), as read with section 149 of that Act.
Agri Eastern Cape views this judgement as the only practical solution to deal with a procedure to apply for a firearm license, but we would like to warn our members and the community that the court reaffirmed that being in possession of a firearm with an expired license is a criminal offense
The Judgement highlights the fact that an expired firearm license does not directly affect the ownership of the firearm, but any person in possession of an unlicensed firearm, or a firearm with an expired license is still required to hand this firearm in at the nearest police station pending a license application.
What is potentially good news in this matter, is that the owner of the firearm is entitled to apply for a new license for the firearm, and that the firearm does not necessarily need to be surrendered to the State or be destroyed, giving the owner the opportunity to re-apply for a license without having to purchase a new firearm and apply for a new license.
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