Gun licence renewal respite
THE good news for gun owners is that they are not obliged to renew expired, or close to expiring, firearm licences.
This comes after the Pretoria High Court’s groundbreaking judgment in which Judge Ronel Tolmay yesterday declared two sections of the Firearms Control Act unconstitutional. These deal with procedures which should be followed in renewing licences.
The judge said the system was clearly chaotic and called it “dysfunctional”.
Judge Tolmay gave the government 18 months to get its house in order and to streamline the process dealing with the renewal of valid licences.
She had set aside sections 24 and 28 of the act and gave Parliament 18 months within which to effect the amendment of the legislation to ensure constitutional compliance.
She further ordered that all licences issued under this act, which are or were due to be renewed, be deemed to be valid until the Constitutional Court and Parliament spoke the last word on the issue.
A firearm law expert, lawyer Martin Hood, said the practical effect of this landmark judgment was that gun owners who had handed theirs in to the police because their licences had expired could now demand their firearms back.
“The police must give it back to them in terms of this judgment.”
Another practical effect was there was no need at this stage to renew any lawfully issued licence, whether it had expired or not, until the Concourt or Parliament streamlined the act. This would take about 18 months, he said.