Firearm Licencing Deadlines


This media statement provided information regarding the initial firearm licencing deadlines for license renewals as well as the new firearm licencing process.

Pretoria: 19 August 2005   

All persons whose birthdays fall between 1 January and 31 March are urged by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to renew their firearm licences, permits and authorizations by 31 December 2005 in terms of the Firearms Control legislation.

The Firearms Control Act (2000) prescribes that firearm owners who acquired firearms in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1969, are required to renew their firearm licenses. This will be done in phases and it is linked to the birth month of the owners.

Firearm owners who fail to abide by the new Regulations will face criminal prosecution.

The renewal schedule is as follows:
Birthday 1 Jan to 31 Mar – Renewal period 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2005
Birthday 1 Apr to 30 Jun – Renewal period 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2006
Birthday 1 Jul to 30 Sep – Renewal period 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2007
Birthday 1 Oct to 31 Dec – Renewal period 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2008

The renewal process might be seen as tedious, but it is an extremely important process, which enables the authorities to address firearm control in South Africa. A renewal applicant must follow the following steps.                 

• Step 1:
The first step for the owner of any firearm will be to successfully complete the prescribed test on the knowledge of the Firearms Control Act, 2000. This has to be done at an accredited training service provider. Information on accredited training providers are available from Designated Firearms Officers.

• Step 2:
After receiving the training certificate the firearm applicant must complete a competency certificate application form together with the renewal form for all existing firearms that need to be renewed at the relevant Designated Firearms Officer in the area where the owner ordinarily resides.

The firearm owner has to complete the relevant sections of the SAPS 517 (Application for a competency certificate) and SAPS 517 (e) (Application for the renewal of a licence in terms of the previous Act) forms. The applicant should note that the SAPS 517 (e) has an annexure that must be completed for each firearm licence that is renewed.

The applicant should provide a concise and adequate motivation and also indicate the category and the main purpose or use of the firearm.

• Step 3:
The firearm owner must take the following original documents when applying for the renewed licences:

An original official identity document.
The original firearm licence(s), permit(s) or authorisation(s) for the firearm(s) that must be renewed.
The original training certificate obtained from an accredited training provider.
Four clear, colour passport size photographs, not older than three (3) months.
A fee of R70 for the competency certificate and R70 for each firearm licence that must be renewed. The payment must either be made in cash or with a bank guaranteed cheque. The firearm owner will receive an expenditure receipt (Z263) as proof of payment.

• Step 4:
After submitting the respective applications for the renewal of the firearm licence(s) and competency certificates, the Designated Firearms Officer will issue an acknowledgement of receipt (SAPS 523) as proof.

• Step 5:
The Designated Firearms Officer will:

Obtain a full set of fingerprints on a SAPS 91(a) form.
Conduct a background evaluation of the firearm owner.
Conduct a physical inspection of the firearm safe of the owner to ensure that it complies with the standards set by the South African Bureau of Standards.

If the existing safe complies with the requirements of the Arms and Ammunition Regulations, 1994, the Designated Firearms Officer will issue a safe certificate to certify that it is considered acceptable.

• Step 6:
The Designated Firearms Officer will contact the firearm owner to collect the competency certificate (if not already issued) and the firearm licence after it has been approved.

• Step 7:
If the application for a competency certificate and/or the renewal for a firearm licence is refused, a letter with reasons will be posted to the applicant’s postal address as provided on the respective application forms.

• Step 8:
If an application is refused, an appeal against the refusal may be directed to the Chairperson of the Appeals Board, Private Bag X811, Pretoria, 0001.

The existing firearm licence, permit or authorization will be valid until the renewed firearm licence has been issued. The limitation on the number of rounds of ammunition that may be possessed by the existing firearm owner is only applicable after the renewed firearm licence has been issued.

For more information, visit the SAPS website on or phone the National Firearms Call Centre on 012 353 6111.

South Africa’s new Firearms Control Act, 2000 has been drawn up with the aim of making South Africa a safer place for everyone to live in. The new Act not only addresses the proliferation of illegally possessed firearms but it also promotes responsible firearm ownership.

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