What does Dedicated Status mean when you are talking about firearm ownership in South Africa?
According to the definitions in the Firearms Control Act (FCA – Act 60 of 2000) a dedicated hunter or sportsperson is a member of an accredited association who has completed the relevant training courses of the accredited association to which he or she belongs. The individual must also regularly participate in hunting or sport shooting activities related to the dedicated status the individual holds with the specific association.
What an Accredited Association is
An accredited association refers to an association that has been accredited by SAPS as a hunting association or as a sport shooting association. This is not easy to achieve, since it involves meeting a long list of criteria as stipulated in Regulation 4 of the Firearms Control Act and Regulations of 2004.
Training courses to attain dedicated status
Several training theoretical and practical courses are prescribed by the Regulations of the Firearms Control Act which must be passed by a member of an accredited association before the status of dedicated hunter or dedicated sports-person can be achieved.
There is not a specific definition for “regular participation” in the legislation, therefore accredited associations all have their own set of rules but are largely comparable in context and nature. These activities comprise a certain number of hunting and/or sport shooting activities or hunting and/or sport shooting related activities that a dedicated member must report in a year.
The benefits of being declared a dedicated hunter or dedicated sport-person
The FCA bids certain privileges to dedicated hunters and sports-persons, for example, an occasional hunter or sports-person may only have a maximum of four firearms for non-dedicated purposes, that is for occasional hunting or occasional sport shooting or for self-defence, combined.
In contrast to that, however, a dedicated hunter or sports-person theoretically experiences no limit to the number of firearms that can be licenced, provided he or she can successfully motivate the application of each firearm.
As occasional hunter or sports-person one may only possess 200 rounds per licenced firearm and no more than 2,400 primers if one reloads, while a dedicated hunter or sports-person may hold more than 200 rounds and more than 2,400 primers per firearm licenced under Section 16 of the FCA.
How do a person become a dedicated hunter or dedicated sports-person?
If a person has completed the relevant course with the National Hunting and Shooting Association (NHSA) in South Africa and has successfully passed the practical and theoretical evaluation, he or she can fill in the application form to be awarded dedicated status.
How to maintain dedicated status
Not all accredited associations have the same requirements for maintaining dedicated status, because “active participation” is not defined by the FCA.
It is therefore each association’s own choice to specify exactly what they require. An applicant must thus acquaint himself or herself on the rules of the association of choice on how to maintain dedicated Status because if you cannot comply with those specific requirements you risk losing your dedicated status which in turn can have serious consequences for your legal ownership of firearms.
Losing your dedicated status
A member can lose his or her dedicated status for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Failure to comply with your association’s activity requirements, for example failure to participate in the prescribed hunting and/or sport shooting related activities in a year.
- Not maintaining your membership – if you do not renew your membership with your association it would not keep you listed as an ordinary or dedicated member.
- Your association can revoke membership as a result of disciplinary measures – If you have been found guilty of some form of misconduct and your membership is terminated you will lose your dedicated status.
What will happen if I cannot participate in the prescribed activities per year?
There are many legitimate reasons why a dedicated member may not be able to participate in such activities, in which case you may usually enter a non-active report.
There may be some specific prerequisites to this, therefore you should approach the association as soon as you realise you will not be able to comply.
What happens if you lose your dedicated status?
Losing your dedicated status can have serious consequences for legally owning your firearms.
If you have used your dedicated status as motivation for your firearm licences, and you then lose that dedicated status, the basis for you owning those firearms is potentially gone.
Section 26 of the Act also requires that, if any of your circumstances have changed, you report to the Registrar (CFR) within 30 days. Losing your dedicated status qualifies as changed circumstances, so if you have not notified the CFR about your change of status and they later find out about it from your association’s annual report, you face being prosecuted for not reporting your change in circumstances. You may also lose all your firearms.
The process of joining another accredited association
Since various accredited associations have agreed to share names of members who have lost their dedicated status, it won’t be easy to swop membership. You will have to have a very good explanation for wanting to join a new association as well as why you have lost membership of your previous association.
If you just want to leave your current association for another, the process will depend on which association you want to move to and first find out whether the new association would recognise your dedicated status with your current association.
The Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000) allows Dedicated Sport and Dedicated Hunter status to be awarded to members of accredited associations.
This is extremely beneficial to such members, because it allows them to own more than four firearms, and they may own semi-automatic firearms and the 200 round ammunition limit per license are not applicable to them.
While such associations endorse firearms for accredited activities and give record of participation, applications to either buy a new firearm, or to renew a license is given more substance.
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What is meant by dedicated status?
A dedicated hunter or sportsperson is a member of an accredited association who has completed the relevant training courses of the accredited association to which he or she belongs.
How do one obtain dedicated status a hunter
The Regulations of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000) prescribes theoretical and practical training courses which must be passed by a member of an accredited association to obtain the status of dedicated hunter or dedicated sports-person.
Can you lose your dedicated status
Yes, you can lose your dedicated status through failure to comply with your association’s activity requirements, if you don’t maintain your membership of if membership is revoked as a result of disciplinary measures.
Is it beneficial to have dedicated status
Yes, it is beneficial, since it allows them to own more than four firearms, more than 200 rounds of ammunition and it gives applications to either buy a new firearm, or to renew a license more substance.