How to get gun license in South Africa

Any South African who wants to acquire a further firearm must first ascertain how many weapons they are legally permitted to own. After completing the required training at an approved facility, the applicant must apply for a firearm license at the closest police station. Once the applicant has been issued the appropriate certificate authorizing ownership of a particular handgun. The Firearms Control Act of 2000 (FCA) and related laws make up South Africa’s present framework for gun regulation. According to the FCA, a Competency Certificate must be provided with every application to own a firearm, dealing in weapons, make firearms, or obtain a license to work as a gunsmith.

 Requirements for owning a gun licence in South Africa

The applicant must be a South African citizen or permanent resident, at least twenty-one years old, fit and proper to hold the particular license (this includes being stable, not having a history of violence or substance abuse issues), and having not been convicted of any crimes involving violence, dishonesty, recklessness, or instability in the five years prior to the application. The application forms (SAPS 271) must be filled out in black ink and can be downloaded from the internet. The application must have copies of the following documents attached and all pertinent areas filled out.

  • Two copies of your identity document
  • A copy of the Competency Certificate
  • Copies of your proficiency training certificates issued by your accredited training provider
  • Copy of electricity account not older than three months to prove you live at the address provided
  • Two colour passport photographs of yourself, which are not older than 3 months
  • Copies of proof of current paid-up membership of all accredited associations and/or shooting clubs if relevant
  • Copies of your dedicated status certificates (either as a hunter or as sports-person or both) if relevant
  • Copy of an endorsement for the handgun and its features for your purpose
  • In the case of an application for a hunting firearm an invitation or statement from a game ranch owner that you may hunt on his farm, or that you do so regularly
  • A complete motivation stating the purpose and need for the firearm you want the licence for
  • A completed Safe-form with a full description of your firearm safe, documentation and photographs to show its nature, type, and how and where it is bolted to a wall or floor, with an SABS certificate or certificate from the manufacturer/seller if available
  • An endorsement confirming the applicability of the calibre and handgun for the stated purpose it will be used
  • A copy of the relevant invoice to confirm the purchase of the specific handgun being applied for if it is for a new one.
  • How many firearms can one own legally in South Africa

Depending on his or her needs, the Act (FCA) places a cap on the number of firearms a person can obtain a license for. A person is only allowed to own one handgun or shotgun for self-defense that is not fully or semi-automatic. Armed for sport or for occasional hunting – One handgun, no fully or semi-automatic rifles or shotguns, and a maximum of four firearms are allowed for this purpose.

For dedicated hunters and sports shooters, there is no stated limit, but they must be able to demonstrate that they are committed members of a hunting or sports organization and that they require more firearms. People who only use firearms for commercial purposes are not subject to any restrictions, but they must adhere to tight guidelines.

A regular person may own up to four firearms for the above-mentioned uses, which may include a handgun that is not fully automatic, a rifle or shotgun that is not fully or semi-automatic, or the barrel, frame, or receiver of one of these weapons, all of which are considered firearms and require a license. When legally permitted to do so, a person may only own 200 rounds of ammunition for each firearm and only ammunition designed for that particular weapon.

Firearms regulation in South Africa

The possession of Owning guns by civilians is governed under the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000. Possession of a handgun is subject to passing a competency test as well as a number of other requirements, such as background checks on potential owners, inspections of their properties, and a police licensing program that went into effect in July 2004. The procedure is now being reviewed because the police are currently unable to appropriately or quickly process competency certification, new license applications, or renewals of existing licenses. The minimum waiting period was 2 years from the application date. The Central Firearms Registry put in place a turnaround strategy that vastly reduced the time it took to process new licenses. Now, a license application can be processed in a maximum of 90 days.

How long does it take to get a gun licence in South Africa?

The quick answer is that an application must be processed by SAPS within 120 working days. There are two applications that must be submitted to SAPS if you are a first-time gun owner. the first for proficiency with firearms. The second will be for a permit to own the particular handgun you have selected to obtain a permit for.

There isn’t much science behind how long it will take the South African Police Service to process your application, and there are no assurances either. However, if you use an application pack created by to apply, you will benefit from a money-back guarantee that your application will be accepted.

When picking up their firearms from our shop, the vast majority of our customers have expressed the wish that they had started the process sooner. “In 8 months you can either have a gun or not,” as one client put it. 8 months will pass anyhow. There are signs that the waiting time will decrease soon.

Renewals of Firearm Licence

The licensing and registration system’s renewal process gives the legitimate gun owner the chance to confirm that they are still in charge of the weapon that is registered in their name or to provide a justification for why they should no longer be responsible for it. These justifications could be a legal transfer, theft (backed up by a police report), or a voluntarily made surrender (supported by evidence). Renewal of a firearm license necessitates the re-proof of a legitimate requirement for the ongoing possession of the firearm.

A renewal system would also improve police investigations, increase officer safety, and lower gun theft, among other advantages. The legal requirement to report lost or stolen firearms is further enforced by a renewal system, which in turn helps the police comprehend this flow and respond appropriately.

Gun control as violence prevention

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce violence around the globe, building on public health efforts to comprehend the causes and effects of violence and utilizing an evidence-based methodology to create primary prevention programs and policy interventions. A framework for identifying risk and protective variables for violence is provided by the public health approach. Risk factors are traits or circumstances that raise the possibility of violence occurring, whereas protective factors are barriers that lower or eliminate these risks. Similar to violence, a person’s propensity to use a gun against herself or others is influenced by a number of risk and protective factors.

The risk variables that interact over time during childhood and adolescence and include elements of the individual, family, school, peer, community, and sociocultural nature are most frequently linked to gun violence. However, a history of violent behavior, including witnessing violence, is the most reliable indicator of gun violence. Additionally, one of the major risk factors is the simple accessibility to firearms, whether in a neighborhood or a home. In order to comprehend the nature and scope of gun violence within a specific context and to use the evidence to determine what can be done to prevent gun violence, the majority of gun control advocates and organizations around the world have adopted the public health paradigm. These include:

1. Defining the problem through the systematic collection of data;

2. Conducting research, or using existing data, to explore why violence occurs and who it affects; this includes identifying risk and protective factors for engaging in acts of violence or being a victim of violence;

3. Designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to see what works;

4. Scaling up effective policy and programmes

Evidence suggests that restricting access to weapons (particularly for young males between the ages of 15 and 29) can reduce the number of killings, suicides, and injuries, as well as their associated costs. The research also demonstrates that nations with “restrictive” gun laws and lower rates of gun ownership typically have lower rates of gun violence. Legislative actions, better law enforcement, firearms amnesties, and collection programs, regulating state weapons stockpiles, and lowering gun demand are further interventions that have shown some promise in lowering gun fatalities.

How many people own guns in SA

The most recent quarterly crime figures, which show an increase in gun murders from 23 per day in 2019/20 to 30 per day between 1 April and 30 June 2022, confirm the plague of gun violence in South Africa. The most recent data on gun violence in South Africa is compiled in Briefing 3 along with papers that provide remedies for the problem.

The laws governing civilian ownership of lawful firearms are rather thorough in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Only South Africa, nevertheless, releases public statistics on the number of weapons lost or stolen from legitimate owners. South Africa is the nation with the most legally owned civilian weapons among the three, as well as the SADC area as a whole. These were 2,582,656 in total, according to a report from the South African police in July 2019. According to police records, over 47,028 licensed civilian weapons were reported lost or stolen between 2013/14 and 2018/19. Police found 28 891 of them during the same time frame, leaving 18,137 unaccounted for and probably in the hands of criminals.

Even while this number might seem high, the actual number of lost and stolen firearms from civilians may be much higher than what has been reported to the police. According to a 2015 presentation on the Firearms Control Act, between 2003 and 2014, about 20,291 civilian-owned firearms were found that their owners had never reported as stolen or lost. This number included 19,143 weapons licensed to private owners, 381 weapons licensed to organizations or non-governmental bodies, and 767 weapons licensed to gun dealers.

In South Africa, the Director of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) testified before Parliament that even though the regulatory body did not know the precise number of firearms in use in the security sector, a desktop audit PSIRA conducted in 2013–14 revealed there were 3,340 registered security companies with firearms licenses and 101,000 licenses overall for the sector. Interviews with individuals connected to Gauteng’s taxi violence prompted concerns about the dangers of the regulating body’s failure to track firearms within the private security sector. At least two respondents asserted that they were able to obtain firearms illegally from individuals providing private security services and were able to purchase these legitimately obtained weapons when businesses no longer need them.

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