(Africa) EC gun owners warned about Act


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Drizzt
May 12, 2003, 07:14 PM
EC gun owners warned about Act

GRAHAMSTOWN -- The Eastern Cape Game Managers' Association has warned gun owners who operate within the multi-million rand local game industry to familiarise themselves with the new Firearms Control Act which is expected to be fully implemented by July.

"There are still scores of hunters out there who are fast asleep and who don't know what the implications of the new Act are," ECGMA chief executive Jokl le Roux said at the weekend.

Professional hunters and sports shooters must note that they have to be a registered and qualified member of an accredited hunting or sports shooting association if they have more than four guns.

There is no limitation to the number of licences issued in this category as long as the need for a specific calibre of firearm can be properly motivated. Licences in this category will be valid for 10 years.

"At this stage the ECGMA, with its headquarters in Uitenhage is the largest of only three accredited hunting associations in the Eastern Cape," he said.

The regulations spell out a list of prerequisites for an association to qualify for accreditation as a hunter's association.

Le Roux said the ECGMA has appointed a full-time training officer to handle Confederation of Hunting Associations of Southern Africa (Chasa) proficiency courses.

He warned that gun owners who register under this category may be subjected to annual check-ups by the Central Firearms Registry on whether they are in fact active dedicated hunters or sports shooters.

The status quo regarding foreign clients bringing in firearms for hunting purposes remains: a temporary import licence must be obtained and firearms must go back with the foreign clients.

Under the new Act all firearm owners will have a maximum of five years to re-register all their current firearms. This will be gradually implemented on a birth-date basis.

Applicants will need to obtain a valid competency certificate for each firearm application which will be issued after the successful completion of the prescribed test on knowledge of the Act and prescribed training and practical tests regarding the safe and efficient handling of a firearm.

"It's unclear who will issue the certificates and who will act as examiners. It is very unlikely that the police will do it, and individual hunters' associations may want to apply for accreditation as training institutions," Le Roux said.

"You will need to redo the competency test every five years as well as whenever you apply for a new firearm licence."

The Act states that additional licences may be issued for the same weapon to persons who reside on the same premises.

However, only one firearm may be licensed for self-defence purposes. A licence in this category will also be valid for five years.

Any person over 21 years of age and the holder of a gun licence may allow any other person to use that firearm, but only while under his or her immediate supervision.

For gun-owners who occasionally participate in hunting or sports shooting, a maximum of four licences may be issued (valid for 10 years). If a person already has a firearm registered for self-defence, only three licences will be issued.

The number of cartridges allowed per licensed firearm is 200 except in the case of dedicated hunters/ sportsmen (no limitation).

Inherited firearms can be treated in three ways:

* If you want to keep it, apply for the appropriate licence;

* If you do not wish to apply for a licence, have the firearm deactivated or disposed of by a qualified gunsmith; and

* If you want to keep it for your children/grandchildren etc, form a trust and license the firearms in the name of the trust for safekeeping (no usage). -- ECN

http://www.dispatch.co.za/2003/05/12/easterncape/ACT.HTM

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