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Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Act found “Unconstitutional”

The finding by the court will have consequences for gun owners with expired licences and necessitates that the Act be amended to be in line with the Constitution.

The Constitutionality of the Firearms Control Act was questioned in the Pretoria High Court recently.

South Africa’s Hunters and Game Conservation Association argue that two sections were problematic. According to the association, they treated two classes of people – those whose firearm licences had expired and those that had theirs cancelled – differently‚ which it argued was contrary to the constitutional provisions that everyone was equal before the law and enjoyed the same protection from the law.

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Section 24 of the Act requires that any person who seeks to renew a licence must do so 90 days before its expiry date Section 28 stipulates that if a firearm licence has been cancelled‚ the firearm must be disposed of or forfeited to the state. A 60-day time frame was placed on its disposal, which was to be done through a dealer.

The court classified these sections as “unconstitutional.”

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Parliament now has 18 months to amend the act, allowing it to comply with the Constitution.

All firearms issued in terms of the Firearm Control Act, which are or were due to be renewed in terms of Section 24 of the Act, “will be deemed to be valid, until the Constitutional Court has made its determination on the Constitutionality of the aforesaid sections,” states

Further details of the High Court Order will be confirmed. Read Friday’s print edition for more.

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