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Thread: How to Obtain a Big Bore Air Rifle FCA Licence

  1. #1
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '11/'13/'15

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    Default How to Obtain a Big Bore Air Rifle FCA Licence

    PLEASE NOTE: - This is not an emotional post so please do not screw it up with bush lawyer knowledge and interpretations of the FCA.

    As I am planning to do some serious 75 and 100 yards shooting I got myself an ITAC permit to import an action and a barrel. The barrel was .30 calibre. So in preparation for the import I wrote a letter to the DFO asking how to proceed as the calibre may be a problem. A colonel from the regional office contacted me and suggested that I should just go ahead and import the items. He did mention that I cannot build an air rifle with this barrel if it will be capable of shooting over the legal limit of 6 foot pounds / 8 Joules.

    So I imported the barrel and action as per normal. There is no law that says that you cannot import barrels over 5.6 mm. It is also not illegal to posses barrels in the > 5.6 mm calibres as long as they are not in a rifle and capable of shooting higher that the legal limit.

    So then here is the how to.:

    I went to the my DFO armed with the application. Sorry no can do. I will first need to apply for a Notice of Change of Circumstances as it will show the origin of the barrel and it's other detail like a serial number. The purpose is to get the barrel placed on the firearms register. He suggested that I go to a registered gunsmith at Hi-Tech Arms in Benoni.

    The gunsmith confirmed the barrel and serial number and gave me a "certificate" for R100. I then went back to the DFO who completed in the form.

    So in some months time I will have my barrel's serial number loaded into the fire arms register and then I can apply for the licence as per normal procedure.
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  2. #2
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '11/'13/'15

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    So after 5 months of waiting for an answer on my Notice of Change of Circumstances I started to call the SAPS in Pretoria. For a whole week I was on the phone with all the ranks. The short of it is that air rifles cannot be loaded on their system as a firearm. It is seen as a device and a device cannot be licenced as a firearm. I also got confirmation from other parties who tried and got the same answer.

    When I asked my DFO for a letter to state that my Notice was refused he said that I cannot expect a letter to explain the law as it is already explained in the law. So I am good with this. Will not be a problem in the near future. I really tried.

    Gert
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  3. #3
    Protea Benchrest (Air) Team '11/'13/'15

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    I spoke to a Col. Lesege at the Fire Arms Dept in Pretoria. 0123536000 is the switch board. So we were comparing definitions of what is an airgun and what is a firearm. In par. (d) they describe a device that ...... So he said that a device is not a fire arm and it cannot be loaded on the system as a firearm Period.

    Happy plinking with the big bore airguns. No more stress.

    Gert
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  4. #4
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    Well, one needs to breakdown the logical inconsistencies in this process to understand the end result. Whether the conclusion fits the "Happy plinking with the big bore airguns. No more stress." narrative remains to be seen. (Remember, this is the same CFR that has lost cases in court and parliament for attempting to make its own law).

    Sighter attempted to licence a .30 cal barrel in the same way one is required to do with a powder burner equivalent. So far so good; except that there is a quirk in the legislation, chapter 6, section 15 to be precise.

    16 Licence to possess firearm for dedicated hunting and dedicated sports-shooting
    (1) A firearm in respect of which a licence may be issued in terms of this section is any-
    (a) handgun which is not fully automatic;
    (b) rifle or shotgun which is not fully automatic;
    (c) semi-automatic shotgun manufactured to fire no more than five shots in succession without having to be reloaded; or
    [Para. (c) substituted by s. 4 of Act 43 of 2003.]
    [NB: Para. (c) has been deleted by s. 11 of the Firearms Control Amendment Act 28 of 2006, a provision which will be put into operation by proclamation.]
    (d) barrel, frame or receiver of a handgun, rifle or shotgun contemplated in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).
    The astute reader will notice that they have not explicitly included paragraph D of Section 1, chapter 1, "Definitions - firearm means any:"
    (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
    So now the Colonel is confused and at a loss as to how to proceed; eventually, as he cannot find this mysterious airgun "device" explicitly defined, he determines that the .30 cal barrel in question does not need to be licenced.

    Now the question is; can Col Lesege's conclusion with regards to the barrel be conflated to mean that "big bore" airguns do not need to be licenced? After all, powerful, big bore airguns are defined as firearms in the act and in terms of same, firearms have to be licenced; so, should he have been less fixated on the airgun technology and simply deemed it a firearm as per the definition in chapter 1, in which case the barrel then falls into (d) of chapter 16, section 15?
    I asked a judge, his reply was that if the device in question is defined as a firearm in the FCA, it would be called as such in legal proceedings, the fact that such a device uses compressed gas as a propellant would only be of ancillary consequence.

    He did mention that I cannot build an air rifle with this barrel if it will be capable of shooting over the legal limit of 6 foot pounds / 8 Joules.
    So how does the above glaring contradiction square off against "Happy plinking with the big bore airguns. No more stress."?
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