A couple of years ago it was much easier to apply for a firearm license than today. The buyer was able to purchase the firearm and submit the SAPS documentation for their application to possess a firearm. Upon the approval of the firearm license, you were then able to collect the purchased firearm from the dealer.
Nowadays, there are various criteria’s you have to meet before applying for your firearm license.
- You must be 21 years of age;
- You must be a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder;
- You must pass a thorough background check by the SAPS;
- You must be declared mentally stable and fit;
- You may not be addicted to any drugs or alcohol;
- You may not be convicted criminal or have a criminal record.
- You must know how to use a firearm (you must have successfully be found competent in a basic training course at an accredited training institution).
HOW TO APPLY
Firstly, you have to attend prescribed training at an accredited facility which will thereafter issue you with the relevant certificate upon the completion of a theoretical and practical examination to be found competent in either a handgun, shot gun or rifle.
Secondly, you apply for a competency certificate to state that you are competent to own a firearm.
- You need to complete the relevant SAPS application form and submit it to the Designated Firearms Officer (DFO) at your nearest police station.
- You will need to have a certified copy of your training certificate and ID document/card;
- You will need x2 passport photos;
- You would also be required to provide three motivational letters from family/friends about your character / the kind of person you are.
- You would also need to provide a letter of motivation as to why you require the competency certificate.
- You must pay the prescribed fees.
- You will need to have your fingerprints taken at your Police Station where you are applying for the competency to determine whether you have a criminal record or not in order for the competency to be approved.
This process can take up to 90 working days for approval.
Thirdly, you apply for your firearm license.
- You will need submit your application form for the respective firearm that was purchased from the firearm dealer at the police station nearest to your home.
- You must provide 2 passport size color photographs not older than 3 months.
- You’ll need to provide a certified copy of your ID.
- You must present the original competency certificate and a certified copy for the firearm license.
- You must provide a certified copy of your permanent residence permit in the case of a non-SA citizen.
- You must provide a copy of a recent utility account reflecting your residential address (cannot be older than 3 months old).
- You’ll be asked to give proper motivation indicating why you need a firearm for the respective section (S13, 15 and/or 16).
- You must pay the prescribed fees.
This process takes approximately 90 working days.
Renewing your firearm license
All firearms licenses must be renewed every:
- 5 years for business purposes (S13).
- 5 years for self-defence (S13).
- 10 years for hunting or sports-related shooting (S15 & 16).
If you own a firearm you need to renew your license and competency certificate at least 90 days before the expiry date of your license. If you don’t you’ll have to dispose of the firearm or hand it over to the SAPS. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s illegal to be in possession of a firearm without a valid license.
What are my responsibilities if I own or want to own a firearm?
- Ensure that the firearm doesn’t land in the wrong hands and that it’s not used for crime.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Comply with the Domestic Violence Act.
- You can only buy a firearm from a registered dealer.
- You need to report a lost, stolen firearm or damaged documents to the police within 24 hours.
- You may only own 200 rounds of ammunition for each firearm.
- You can only have ammunition that’s suitable for that firearm.
- Never leave another person in possession of your firearm unless authorized to do so by SAPS.
Written by Petricia Martin.