AfriForum is of the opinion that the latest state of affairs regarding the green firearm licences can have far-reaching consequences for the large number of green licence holders. This ensued after SA Hunters received a letter on 8 September from the Office of the State Attorney informing the association that Police Minister Bheki Cele intends to set aside the interim court order that protects the possession of green licences – issued in terms of the repealed Arms and Ammunition Act (75 of 1969).
SA Hunters already made an application in 2009 to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and the presiding judge issued an interim court order in favour of the applicant.
The letter further states that holders of green licences could over the last decade have made use of three amnesty periods to obtain the new white firearm licence cards in terms of the new Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000). The latest amnesty period is currently valid up to and including January 2021 during which owners of unlicensed firearms can hand in these firearms at their nearest police station without being prosecuted for possession of such firearm. Owners of expired licences, further gets the opportunity to hand in the firearm and to re-apply for the firearm licence. Thereafter the firearm can be collected if the application has been successful and the applicant is in possession of a new licence.
“If the interim court order is set aside the holder of a green licence will be considered to be in illegal possession of a firearm, seeing that the order will no longer be there to protect the owner. The owner will thus not have a valid reason to be in possession of this firearm,” says Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s law and risk manager of community safety.
“SA Hunters will in all likelihood meet with the State Attorney to discuss this matter and reach a possible compromise. It will however be wise for holders of green licences to consider their options, such as to make use of the current amnesty period,” Kamfer concluded.
In terms of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000) a person can be found guilty of the illegal possession of a firearm and can be given a 15-year prison sentence.