Firearm Legislation & Safety

LEGISLATION

The Firearm Control Act was implemented in 2004 to replace the old Arms and Ammunition At of 1969.  This law affects all aspects of firearm use and ownership.  It is recommended that you read the act and the relevant regulations to become familiar with its impact and implications.  All firearm owners are required to do one or more Unit Standards related to the safe handling and use of firearms and knowledge of the Acts.  It is incumbent on all firearm owners to have a good understanding of their rights, responsibilities and obligations.

COMPETENCY CERTIFICATE

No one may apply for a firearm licence unless they are in possession of a competency certificate.  A competency certificate is issued by the registrar after you have submitted proof that you have completed the relevant unit standards at an accredited training provider and the CFR have done a background check on you.  The competency certificate will indicate which types of firearm you are competent to own.

LICENCES

When transporting or carrying a firearm you must have the relevant licence with you.  Failure to do so could result in the weapon being seized pending your producing a licence.  It can also result in a serious offence charge being laid against you.  Licences reflect the purpose for which the firearm was required eg: occasional hunting, dedicated hunting etc.

AMMUNITION

Definition: any complete center-fire, rim-fire or pin-fire cartridge, or primer.  You may only be in possession of ammunition that is capable of being fired in your licensed firearm.  Unless you have “dedicated status”, you are restricted to 200 rounds of ammunition per licensed firearm, and a maximum of 2400 primers, unless you have written permission from the Registrar.

Note:  For re-loading purposes you may be in possession of a maximum of only 2.4kg of nitrocellulose propellant.  No person may reload ammunition for another person.

SAFEKEEPING

Proper storage of firearms and ammunition in a prescribed safe or strong room is a prerequisite of firearm ownership.  Failure to do so can have dire consequences, and may result inthe delinquent owner being declared unfit to possess a firearm.

You may store another person’s legally and licensed firearm in an approved safe or strong room on your premises provided that:

  • You are a holder of a legally licensed firearm/s.
  • You have certified copies of the licenses for all the weapons and a copy of the persons ID.
  • You have a letter from the owner counter signed by the local Dedicated Firearms Officer (DFO) stating the period of storage (Form SAPS 539).

TRANSPORTING

You may not transport firearms or ammunition (for which you do not have a licensed firearm) belonging to another person to or from any destination unless that person accompanies you.  All firearms when being carried or transported must be completely covered (bag/case/holster) and the person must be able to exercise control over such firearm/s.

LOANING OF A FIREARM

You may let another person use a firearm licensed to you, only while under your direct supervision, as long as they are not prohibited by law from the use of firearms, or you have reason to believe that they may not handle firearms (eg, intoxicated, drugs etc), and as long as the firearms are being used in and for a safe and lawful manner and purpose.

SAFETY

SAFETY ON THE RANGE – RANGE RULES

  • Shottists will obey the instructions of the Range Officer without question
  • No shooting will take place until notice of “Range Open” and Red Flags are in place.
  • No shooting will take place until the range register has been filled in, and each shottist has completed and signed the indemnity form.
  • All shottists are to wear ear and eye protection.
  • No shooting will take place until all access points have been secured.
  • Shottists will ensure that their firearms are safe at all times.
  • All shottists will unload their firearms immediately when instructed by the Range Officer or Range Officials.
  • No firearms will be loaded unless shottists are instructed by the Range Officer or Range Officials.
  • Shottists, on the command of the Range Officer or Range Official, will advance to the new position or to the target for inspection and will return to the shooting position.
  • All shottists, when moving on the range, will ensure that their actions (bolts) are open.
  • All shottists, when not shooting, will ensure that their firearms are cased and bagged.
  • Any visiting shottist who disobeys the Range Officer or Range Official will be reported to the Association, institution or employer to which the shottist belongs.
  • Any Association member who fails to obey the instructions of the Range Officer or Range Official will face disciplinary action. Non members will be black listed for future use of the range.
  • Upon completions of a shooting exercise, all firearms will be inspected and declared safe before the firearms are cased or bagged, or in the instance of self-defence weapons, which shall be properly holstered.
  • No targets other than the proper designated targets affixed to the target frames are to be used. (No bottles, tins etc.)
  • No spectators shall be closer than ten meters from the rear of the firing position, except in the instances:
  • The shottist is a junior and a parent is in proximity (under the supervision of the Range Officer or a Range Official).
  • The shottist is using a firearm not licensed to him; the license holder is to be in proximity (under the supervision of the Range Officer or Range Official).
  • No motor vehicle shall be closer than 25 meters to the rear of the first firing position.
  • No alcohol, in any form what so ever, shall be consumed, or be visible whilst the Shooting Range is open.
  • Any person who is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substances (whether prescribed or otherwise) will leave the shooting range immediately.
  • Upon completion of a shooting exercise, all shottists will ensure that the range is cleaned of all rubbish including spent cases, cigararette butts and the like. Target frames, flags and signs are to be removed and stored.
  • Upon completion of a shooting exercise, the Range Officer will enter into the register an incident report. Should any incident resulting in injury caused by firearms occur, a declaration describing the incident shall be completed.  Range officials and participating shottists shall assist.
  • Any incident resulting in injury caused by a firearm shall be reported to the South African Police Services immediately

SAFETY ON THE HUNT

  • All firearms are dangerous and should be considered as loaded at all times
  • When in doubt, refer to the above rule
  • Have a responsible attitude towards safe handling of weapons, NEVER point a firearm at anybody
  • The barrel should always point in a safe direction
  • Ensure background is safe before firing
  • Watch out for ricochets off flat surfaces and water
  • When examining a weapon, ensure it is unloaded before handling it
  • Always double check that a weapon is unloaded before handing it to someone else for viewing
  • If weapon is of self-loading type, ensure that there are no rounds in chamber or the magazine
  • Do not fiddle with a firearm if you are not a gunsmith
  • If you decide to reload, a course should be attended or a mentor followed
  • Don’t put your faith in a safety catch, it is a mechanical item
  • Keep firearms away from children – teach them correctly from a young age
  • Don’t mix cartridges if taking more that one firearm on a hunt
  • If using an old shotgun, make sure that it can fire modern cartridges
  • Watch out when crossing fences, streams and inclines.  Unload a weapon before attempting any of these features
  • Secure against theft at home, while travelling and at the hunting ground
  • Don’t tolerated loaded weapons on or inside vehicles
  • If weapon has fallen over or has been pushed into the ground, ensure that the barrel has no obstructions
  • Remove oil and grease before firing weapon
  • Know the whereabouts of fellow hunters, trackers, farm personnel and domestic animals in order to know which direction you can fire
  • When reaching camp ensure weapon is made safe and don’t lean it against walls, tables or against a bed or chair
  • It is very important that you reach an agreement with fellow hunters regarding safety standards to be adhered to in camp and during the hunt
  • Don’t use ammunition in your weapon loaded by someone else for personal use
  • Never press the trigger when closing the bolt when there is a round in the chamber.  The firing pin can with the slightest bump or shock, strike the primer and cause a discharge.
  • Alcohol and gunpowder don’t mix, never use the two together
  • Never bring your finger near the trigger until you intend firing
  • Always transport weapons unloaded and with barrel pointing at the floorboard of the vehicle
  • When using a telescope, always be aware of possible obstructions not visible in front of the barrel
  • Never walk directly behind or closely behind another person with your rifle, especially your guide
  • Teach your family at an early age to respect firearms and how to handle them with care
  • If lost then fire 3 shots into a backstop
  • If you see other hunters, always move away from the danger presented by them

 



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