Briefing 3 of 2018: Constitutional Court unanimously rules regular gun licence renewal is constitutional: What next?
- June 2018
- Posted By GunFreeSA
- 0 Comments
On 7 June 2018 the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act (2000), under which gun owners must renew their firearm licences on a regular basis or forfeit guns for which licences have expired to the state, are constitutional. In making its judgement, the ConCourt ruled that gun ownership is not a fundamental right under the Bill of Rights, rather it is a privilege regulated by the Firearms Control Act (FCA).
Under the Act:
- No person may possess a gun without a valid licence;
- A firearm licence is valid for a limited period of time; and
- Unless a gun owner has renewed his gun licence before expiry, he has committed a criminal offence and is subject to penalties.
The ConCourt ruling has the potential to kickstart the implementation of the FCA. It gives a clear directive to SAPS to properly enforce the law and to gun owners to comply with the law. As soon as one of these parties act, the other will be forced to respond, helping close the implementation ‘vacuum’ feeding gun violence in South Africa.