The Fidelity Security Group welcomes May’s Constitutional Court decision that finally clarifies the position of a firearm owner who possesses a firearm with an expired licence.
In 2016, the South African Police Services blocked such persons from renewing or applying for a new firearm licence if their licence had expired. Fidelity elected to challenge this policy in the Gauteng High Court and after an initial dismissal of its case, succeeded in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Thereafter the Minister of Police elected to approach the Constitutional Court to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
On 27 May, the Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal of the Minister of Police and held that any firearm licence owner, be it a member of the security industry or a private individual may, after handing their firearm to the South African Police Services for safekeeping, submit a new licence application for that firearm, because they remain the owner of the firearm.
This court judgment does not only apply to Fidelity, but to all persons who have expired firearm licences.
Fidelity elected to challenge the policy of the South African Police Services to not allow new applications for expired licences because it believed such policy to be in contravention of the Firearms Control Act and contrary to the constitutional right to own property as set out in Section 25 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court has now confirmed that Fidelity was correct in its legal challenge to such policy.
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