SCA upholds international principles on gun licence renewals

Gopolang Moloko

Cele said the NHSA’s argument was “fatally flawed”, and showed that the process was “valid and effective”, thereby making the amnesty legal. Image: iStock . Image used only for illustrative purpose.

The act criminalises the unlawful possession of a firearm.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has upheld an international principle on regular gun licence renewals.

The court this week upheld the validity of firearm licence renewals affirming that the Firearms Control Act (FCA) prohibited the possession of a firearm unless the holder had a licence, permit or authorisation to do so.

The act criminalises the unlawful possession of a firearm. The Act states that all gun owners must renew their firearm licences on a regular basis.

The court’s order affirms that a core premise on gun control in the country is not a fundamental right under the Bill of Rights, but a privilege regulated by the law under the Act.

In a statement the court said: “The SCA upheld the minister of police’s appeal against the urgent interim interdict issued by Judge Prinsloo in the North Gauteng High Court in July 2018 which effectively disabled the scheme of gun licence renewals under the Act, prohibiting the police from demanding or accepting the surrender of firearms by licence-holders whose gun licences had expired because they had failed to renew their licence within the prescribed timeframe. The appeal was upheld with costs, including the costs of two counsel.”

The Court found that an interim interdict previously granted was “constitutionally inappropriate”, as it violated the principle of separation of powers, as it guaranteed the unlawful possession of firearms.

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