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The Act has established a comprehensive system of firearms control, from registration, purchase, licensing, use and the way they must be stored.
Even before a potential owner may lawfully possess a firearm, he or she will must install a proper gun safe in a safe place in his or her home.
After a person has taken a firearm in possession, he or she may never leave it unattended and if it was, for some reason, left in possession of another person, the person is not allowed to do it without explicit written permission from his or her local Designated Firearms Officer.
Installing a gun safe
According to the SAPS regulations, a firearm owner must install a gun safe in his residence, but the regulations do not prescribe exactly where it should be installed. The gun safe must be affixed to the floor or wall, to both or to an immovable structure in the room.
A firearm owner may not possess more than 200 cartridges for each firearm for which he has a licence, except if he is a licensed hunter or sports shot, or the holder of a licence for an accredited shooting range.
If you participate in an outdoor sport in an area where you want to have your firearm nearby, you may install an approved vehicle safe (a concealed type B3 safe that is bolted to the body of a vehicle) in which you are allowed to store a firearm if an alarm and immobiliser are installed in the vehicle.
Storing somebody else’s firearm
Section 83 of the Firearms Control Act deals with the storage of firearms and Regulation 86 deals with the safe custody of firearms and in terms of these, a person is only allowed to store anyone else’s firearm with the licenced firearm owner’s written permission as well as consent from the SAP.
A firearm stored in such a way may only be used by the original holder of the license and only he may remove the firearm from the safe or strong room where it is stored.
This means that a person may only store someone else’s firearm on the following conditions:
- He or she must already be a licensed firearm owner;
- He or she, as well as the licensed holder of the firearm must complete and sign the SAPS 539 – the storage permit;
- The SAP must sign and issue such a storage permit to give permission;
- Only the licensed owner may transport the firearm to the storage safe or remove it again from there.
- The person who stores the firearm may not use the firearm
The Firearm Control Act prescribes the circumstances in which any firearm must be stored while that firearm is not under the owners’ direct physical control.
These rules are there for the safety of each firearm owner and his loved ones, and actually just boil down to normal common sense to take the necessary responsibility for a firearm, and to prevent it landing up in the hands of a criminal.