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Firearm License Application

Kalahari Jag & Kamp - Firearm License Application ProcedureOn 1 July 2004, the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 and the Firearms Control Regulations came into effect. This means that all firearm license holders under the previous Act have to renew their existing firearm licenses. All new firearm license applications have to comply with specific criteria. In terms of the new legislation, a person must obtain a competency certificate before he/she can apply for the renewal of his/her existing firearm license or a new firearm license.

The legislation also stated that individuals who wanted to renew their firearm licenses had to do so within a specific time frame as determined by their dates of birth. This period expired on 30 June 2009.

To get a firearm license, you must:

  • Get a competency certificate.
  • Apply for a firearm license at the nearest police station.

The competency certificate is a new aspect of firearm licensing in South Africa. This training must be completed at an accredited training provider. Details of accredited training providers will be available at police stations.

To get a competency certificate, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be 21 years old, unless there are convincing reasons requiring the applicant to get a competency certificate or firearm license.
  • Must be a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder.
  • Must pass a thorough background check.
  • Must be mentally stable and fit.
  • Must not be addicted to any intoxicating or narcotic substances.
  • Must not have a criminal record inside or outside of South Africa.
  • Must know how to use a firearm (the applicant must have successfully completed a basic training course at an accredited training institution).

To apply for the competency certificate, an applicant needs to complete the application form (SAPS 517) and submit it to the Designated Firearms Officer (DFO) at their nearest police station. The South African Police Service (SAPS) has prepared detailed instructions on how to complete the application form for a competency certificate.

With your firearm license application form, attach a certified copy of:

  • Your identity document (ID).
  • The certificate obtained from the accredited training provider.
  • Two sets of fingerprints.

If you have obtained your competency certificate, you can apply for a firearm license corresponding to the type of firearm competency you have obtained:

  • Handgun
  • Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Hand carbine

If you have a valid competency certificate, you can then apply for the firearm license at your nearest police station. To apply for the license, you need:

  • To submit the application form (Form SAP 271) at the police station nearest to your home. SAPS has prepared detailed instructions on completing the form.
  • Two (not older than three months) colour photographs (passport size).
  • A certified copy of your ID or passport.
  • A certified copy of the competency certificate.
  • A certified copy of your permanent residence permit in the case of a non-SA citizen.
  • A proper motivation indicating the reasons for the need for the firearm.
  • To pay the prescribed fees.

If the application is successfully completed, the police will:

  • Obtain a full set of fingerprints of the applicant as required in Section 6 (1) (a) of the Act on the SAPS 91(a) (Fingerprint) form.
  • Issue remittance advice (SAPS 523(a)) to the applicant and refer the applicant to the relevant financial office.
  • Obtain proof of payment (expenditure receipt (Z263)) from the applicant, and make a copy of the proof of payment and certify the copy.
  • Issue the acknowledgement of the receipt (SAPS 523) of the application to the applicant.
  • Conduct background inquiries and a safety inspection.


All firearms licenses must be renewed every:

  • Five years for business purposes.
  • Five years for self-defense.
  • Ten years for hunting or sports-related shooting.


The Act limits the number of firearms for which you can get a license, depending on your needs:

  • Firearm for self-defense: one handgun or shotgun which is not fully or semi-automatic.
  • Up to four firearms for occasional hunters or sports shooters (but only one handgun and no fully or semi-automatic rifles and shotguns).
  • No limit for dedicated hunters and sport shooters, but you must prove that you are a dedicated member of a hunting or sports organisation, and must show a need for additional firearms.
  • No limit for people who use firearms for business purposes (eg security companies, firearm instructors or game hunters), but strict conditions apply.


The period for the renewal of existing firearm licenses under the previous act expired on 30 June 2009. If you did not renew in time, your existing licence remains valid until the court makes a final ruling on the interim court order.


  • Don’t do crime.
  • Stay away from drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Comply with the Domestic Violence Act.

You must get basic training from an accredited trainer. All accredited trainers are issued with competency certificates from SAPS. You can only buy a firearm from a registered dealer and if your firearm is lost or stolen, or if your documents are damaged, you need to report this to the police within 24 hours.

You may only own 200 rounds of ammunition for each firearm and can only have ammunition that is suitable for that particular firearm (this does not apply to dedicated hunters or sports shooters). Never leave another person in possession of your firearm unless authorised to do so by SAPS. You must renew your new firearm license and corresponding competency certificate 90 days prior to the expiry date thereof.

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