26 June 2009

A South African Example

Of what happens every single time a government gets involved in things that aren't their business. What do you think... confusing enough? A lack of foresight could criminalize every South African gun owner in a few days.

the original article: at iol.co.nz
Gun owners to get a another shot at Act
The SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association has welcomed an interim court interdict, saying it would temporarily stop more than a million South African gun owners from becoming criminals at the stroke of midnight on June 30. Judge Bill Prinsloo on Friday granted an urgent order in the High Court in Pretoria that all firearm licences granted under the 1969 Arms and Ammunition Act shall be deemed to be lawful and valid, pending the outcome of an application to declare portions of the new Firearms Control Act unconstitutional. The new Act came into operation in 2004, but was in terms of Schedule 1 of the Act phased in over a five-year period, ending on June 30. The Act forces licensed gun owners to re-apply for their licences, including applying for competency certificates, failing which they must dispose of their firearms, or could have them forfeited to the state.
'Everything carries on' The Act also criminalises gun owners who have not applied for the renewal of their licences. They face criminal prosecution and can be sentenced to a year imprisonment for not applying and a further maximum of 15 years for the unlawful possession of a firearm. The association's lawyer, George Nell, described the judgment as "excellent". He said it was of national importance, not only for the Hunters Association, but for all private gun owners. "I think the SAPS and the authorities should have a look at the judgment and maybe take out the positive points to carry out the message to the public more positively and to get their own house in order where necessary," he said.
'Everything is put on hold' Nell said their main application will probably only be heard in about six to eight months and would, if they were successful, have to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court. Police Director Phuti Setati said the judgment could not stop the introduction of the new Act, which will continue."Everything carries on, but because there's another application pending, all licences granted under the old Act remain valid. Everything is put on hold now until the main application is dealt with," he said.Setati said the SAPS respected the judgment and "would act accordingly". "We will study the judgment and will make sure that it is properly communicated internally and externally." - Sapa

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