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Thread: Airguns and the Law in South Africa

  1. #1
    Prof. Jan Itor

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    Exclamation Airguns and the Law in South Africa

    "LAW" NUMBER ONE: AIRGUNS ARE NOT TOYS. TREAT AIRGUNS WITH THE SAME RESPECT AS YOU WOULD ANY DANGEROUS WEAPON OR FIREARM.

    Summary:
    • An airgun is any airgun with a calibre of under 5.6mm regardless of power/energy. No Licence Required


    • An airgun is any airgun with a calibre of 5.6mm and over but is incapable of shooting at powers/energy of no more than 8 joules / 6 foot pounds energy. No Licence Required


    • A firearm is any airgun with a calibre of 5.6mm and over that shoots at powers/energies greater than 8 joules / 6 foot pounds energy. Firearms Licence Required.
      AIRGUNS IN THIS CATEGORY ARE NOT EXEMPTED FROM FIREARMS LICENCING REQUIREMENTS BY THE SPECIAL PROVISIONS IN CHAPTER 3, SECTION 5 OF THE FCA!
    Attached is the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 as amended by
    • Firearms Control Amendment Act 43 of 2003
    • Firearms Control Amendment Act 28 of 2006
    • Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act 2 of 2011
    • Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 6 of 2010
    • Protection from Harassment Act 17 of 2011
    • Dangerous Weapons Act 15 of 2013
    • Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 37 of 2013

    https://www.airrifle.co.za/library/FCA_60_of_2000.pdf & With notes to all amendments in the "in force" Firearms Control Act: https://www.airrifle.co.za/library/F...31.01.2015.pdf

    Authoritative sources for "in force" FCA legislation:
    University of Pretoria "in force" legislation service
    SAPS Legislation Resource Centre

    Other authoritative resources for notices, bills, proclamations, forms and procedures:
    SAPS Flash : Firearms Licence Forms and Applications
    Polity : Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
    Parliamentary Monitoring Group | South Africa

    NB: The American Library of Congress' (https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearm...outhafrica.php ) entry on Firearms Control in South Africa cannot be construed as authoritative or accurate in any manner or form. It is an American government website, NOT South African.



    The FCA verbatim pursuant to airguns:

    Amendment of section 1 of Act 60 of 2000

    "airgun" means any device manufactured to discharge a bullet or any other projectile-

    a) of a calibre of less than 5.6mm (.22 calibre); or

    b) at a muzzle energy of less than 8 joules (6ft-lbs), by means of compressed gas and not by means of burning propellant;

    and:

    "firearm"

    means any

    a) device manufactured or designed to propel a bullet or projectile through a barrel or cylinder by means of burning propellant, at a muzzle energy exceeding 8 joules (6 ft-lbs);

    b) device manufactured or designed to discharge rim-fire, centre-fire or pin-fire ammunition;

    c) device which is not at the time capable of discharging any bullet or projectile, but which can be readily altered to be a firearm within the meaning of paragraph (a) or (b);

    d) device manufactured to discharge a bullet or any other projectile of a calibre of 5.6mm (.22 calibre) or higher at a muzzle energy of more than 8 joules (6 ft-lbs), by means of compressed gas and not by means of burning propellant; or

    e) barrel, frame or receiver of a device referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d), but does not include any device contemplated in section 5;

    3. No person may possess a firearm unless he or she holds a licence, permit or authorisation issued in terms of this Act for that firearm.

    and:

    CHAPTER 16: OFFENCES, PENALTIES AND ADMINISTRATIVE FINES
    (3) It is an offence to—
    (a) cause bodily injury to any person or cause damage to property of any person by negligently using a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun;
    (b) discharge or otherwise handle a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun in a manner likely to injure or endanger the safety or property of any person or with reckless disregard for the safety or property of any person; or
    (c) have control of a loaded firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun in circumstances where it creates a risk to the safety or property of any person and not to take reasonable precautions to avoid the danger.

    (4) It is an offence to handle a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun while under the influence of a substance which has an intoxicating or a narcotic effect.

    (5) A person is guilty of an offence if he or she gives control of a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun to a person whom he or she knows, or ought reasonably to have known—
    (a) to be mentally ill; or
    (b) to be under the influence of a substance which has an intoxicating or a narcotic effect.

    (6) It is an offence to point—
    (a) any firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun, whether or not it is loaded or capable of being discharged, at any other person, without good reason to do so; or
    (b) anything which is likely to lead a person to believe that it is a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun at any other person, without good reason to do so.

    (7) It is an offence to discharge a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun in a built up area or any public place, without good reason to do so.

    Chapter 3, Section 5: Devices not firearms for purposes of this Act. For purposes of this Act, the following devices are not regarded as firearms:
    (a) .
    (b) .
    (c) .
    (d) .
    (e) .
    (f) an airgun;
    (g) .
    (h) a paintball gun;
    (i) .
    (j) a deactivated firearm; and

    NB: Almost every municipality in South Africa has this in their "nuisance" by-laws
    3. Behaviour and conduct
    (1) No person may –
    (s) discharge any fire-arm, airgun or air pistol on any premises except premises or land zoned for agricultural purposes and which does not form part of a general plan for a township.

    Non authoritative source for by-laws of major towns and cities in South Africa: Open By-laws South Africa





    The calibre debate according to a South African Judge:

    In S v DE BLOM 1977 (3) SA 513 (A) the Supreme Court of Appeal held that the fiction that everybody is presumed to know the law cannot be sustained in our law. However this is not the end of the matter. Our courts have consistently held that where a person ventures into any specific area of the law, that person in obliged to ascertain any legal obligations upon him or her. For example you cannot drive a car on a public road and then claim ignorance of the Road Traffic Act. If you decide to drive a motor vehicle you are obliged to acquaint yourself with the Road Traffic Act and its regulations. Ignorance is no excuse and bad legal advice is equally no excuse. The same holds true regarding firearms.

    A “firearm” is defined in section 1 of the Firearms Control Act, Act 60 of 2000 as follows:

    'firearm' means any-
    (a) …
    (b) …
    (c) …
    (d) device manufactured to discharge a bullet or any other projectile of a calibre of 5.6 mm (.22 calibre) or higher at a muzzle energy of more than 8 joules (6 ft-lbs), by means of compressed gas and not by means of burning propellant; or
    (e) …

    Section 5 of the FCA holds as follows:
    5. Devices not firearms for purposes of this Act
    (1) For purposes of this Act, the following devices are not regarded as firearms:
    (a) …
    (b) …
    (c) …
    (d) …
    (e) …
    (f) an airgun;
    (g) …
    (h) a paintball gun;
    (i) …
    (j) …
    (k) any other device which the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, exempt.

    The definition of an “airgun” in section 1 of the FCA is the following:

    'airgun' means any device manufactured to discharge a bullet or any other projectile-
    (a) of a calibre of less than 5.6 mm (.22 calibre); or
    (b) at a muzzle energy of less than 8 joules (6ft-lbs), by means of compressed gas and not by means of burning propellant;

    The effect of all of the above is the following:
    All airguns in calibre 4,5mm, 5,0mm and 5,5mm – irrespective of their muzzle energy – are not considered to be firearms and a licence in not required. It should be noted that section 120(3) to 120(7) of the act is still applicable to airguns even though they are not regarded as firearms. These are offenses relating to the causing of bodily injury with an airgun, handling an airgun whilst under the influence, handing control of an airgun to a mentally ill or intoxicated person, pointing an airgun whether loaded or not at another person, and the discharge of an airgun in a built-up area.

    Any airgun in calibre 5,6mm or larger and with a muzzle energy of 8 joules or more is a firearm and all the provisions of the act is applicable. i.e. a licence is required.
    South African Arms and Ammunition Dealers’ Association
    09/2018


    Please note that the FCA defines an airgun as follows:

    “airgun” means any device manufactured to discharge a bullet or any other projectile –

    (a) of a calibre of less than 5.6 mm (.22 calibre); or

    (b) at a muzzle energy of less than 8 joules (6ft-lbs),

    by means of compressed gas and not by means of burning propellant;

    Note the word ‘or’ at the end of point (a).
    If we ignore the confusing Imperial units in the FCA-definition and focus only on the Metric units:

    If the airgun has a calibre less than 5.6mm, irrespective of its muzzle energy (power level), then it is not a firearm and does not require a license.

    If the airgun is less powerful than 8 joules, irrespective of its calibre, then it is not a firearm and does not require a license.
    8 Joules is particularly weak, along the lines of airsoft guns firing plastic pellets, or paintball guns.
    For this argument we’ll consider 8 Joules or more as ‘powerful’

    Any airgun with a calibre of 5.6mm, or larger (including 6.35mm, 9mm, etc) and with a muzzle energy of 8 Joules or more, is a firearm and requires a firearm licence in terms of the FCA.
    Only licensed firearm dealers may trade in these airguns


    I trust that members of this Association would not jeopardize their livelihood by trading in unlicensed / unregistered firearms, including those powerful, large calibre airguns defined in point 3 above.

    If any member suspects anyone else may possibly intend to trade in powerful, large calibre airguns (defined in point 3 above) without being a licensed dealer and/or without requiring the new owner to first obtain a firearm license, please share this information with them before they fall foul of the law. In fact, please share this info-slip freely and widely.

    Anyone trading in powerful, large calibre airguns (defined in point 3 above) without being a licensed dealer and/or without requiring the new owner to first obtain a firearm license is guilty of an offence. Anyone who is aware of another person contravening the FCA is obliged to report such an infringement.

    Any person (including a dealer) in possession of such an unlicensed powerful, large calibre airgun (defined in point 3 above) would be illegally in possession of a firearm and should take appropriate steps to remedy their situation – including seeking legal advice on how best to proceed.
    Airguns : Air Rifle : Airgun : Pellet gun : Windbuks South African Law / Wet : Airgun Licence
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  2. #2
    Prof. Jan Itor

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    Default The Guide to Airgun Safety & Laws in South Africa

    Attached hereto is our printable guide / pamphlet for Airgun Legal & Safety Guidelines. It is free to distribute by members, airgun clubs, dealers/distributors and any member of the public. The format is A4 sized, duplex printed. If you are a club or dealer/distributor and would like to have your club or company logo on the document instead of the forum logo, please contact us to arrange same.

    Link to printable, A4 guide: Airgun_Safety_Legal_Guide_Printable_A4_Duplex.pdf

    For convenience there is also an A3 poster sized guide for distribution. This document is ideal for sharing on club websites and social media.

    Link to A3 sized guide: Airgun_Safety_Legal_Guide_A3_Poster.pdf

    The Guide to Airgun Safety & Laws in South Africa - Cover The Guide to Airgun Safety & Laws in South Africa - Inside The Guide to Airgun Safety & Laws in South Africa - Back



    The Guide to Airgun Safety & Laws in South Africa
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  3. #3
    Prof. Jan Itor

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    Default CITY OF JOHANNESBURG METROPOLITAN MUNICIPALITY BY-LAWS

    To summarise:

    “hunt” means to hunt for, shoot at, kill, snare, capture, pursue or search for or lie in wait with intent to kill, shoot or capture, or disturb, destroy, wound or maim any wild animal or bird;

    “wild animal” means any animal other than a domestic or domesticated animal,rat and mouse.

    “bird” means any bird other than a domestic or domesticated bird;

    and:

    Prohibition against hunting wild animals and birds
    2. No person may, without lawful cause or without the permission in writing of the Council and subject to such conditions as the Council may impose –

    (a) hunt any wild animal or bird by any means whatsoever;

    (b) remove, disturb or destroy any nests of birds, their eggs or their young.

    and:

    No person may, without lawful cause, the onus of proving which is on the person asserting it, fire or discharge a firearm, air-gun or air-pistol : Provided that this prohibition does not apply to –

    (a) a firearm, air-gun or air-pistol lawfully fired or discharged in the course of his or her duties by a person who is a member of the South African armed forces or the South African Police Services or the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department or by a person who is a member or employee of any organisation permitted by any law or by the State to be in possession of firearms;

    (b) a firearm used during a bisley or target practice on a recognised shooting range;

    (c) a firearm fired for the purpose of a sports meeting or practice.

    https://www.airrifle.co.za/library/J...s_shooting.pdf
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  4. #4
    Prof. Jan Itor

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    Default National Norms and Standards for Hunting Methods in South Africa

    Attached is the National Norms and Standards for hunting Methods in SA.


    https://www.airrifle.co.za/library/N...uth_Africa.pdf
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  5. #5
    Prof. Jan Itor

    User Info Menu

    Default Dangerous Weapons Act - Act 15 2013

    Application of Act
    2.
    This Act does not apply to the following activities:

    (a)
    Possession of dangerous weapons in pursuit of any lawful employment, duty
    or activity;
    (b)
    possession of dangerous weapons during the participation in any religious or

    cultural activities, or lawful sport, recreation, or entertainment; or

    (c)
    legitimate collection, display or exhibition of weapons.


    https://www.airrifle.co.za/library/D...eapons_Act.pdf
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