Potential firearm owners in South Africa must realise that the process starts at a firearm training centre and not with the South African Police Service. This step-by-step guide should help with getting handgun competency in South Africa.
The application process entails two phases – the first phase to establish whether the applicant is competent to own and operate a handgun and entails successful completion of the prescribed training at an accredited training institution to obtain a training proficiency certificate.
The second phase is the handgun licence application. Both phases take about 90 days each to complete and cannot be done at the same time.
A potential handgun owner must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove his/her knowledge of the Firearms Control Act of 2000 (FCA) as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a handgun at an accredited training provider. This entails a compulsory unit standard, generally known as Knowledge of the Act, and the unit standard for the kind of firearm, in this case Handle and use a handgun (SAQA US 119649).
On receipt of the training certificate from an accredited training provider or the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (Sasseta), the person must apply to the SAPS for the competency certificate by completing the SAPS 517 (Application for a competency certificate) form.
The application and supporting documentation must be submitted to the designated firearms officer (DFO) situated in the area where you ordinarily reside.
Steps to follow:
Find your nearest firearm training centre and make an appointment.
Choose whether you want to operate a handgun, shotgun or rifle and start the training course for a handgun.
Pass the relevant course for operating a handgun, in this case Handle and use a handgun (SAQA US 119649).
Receive your training certificate from the centre. The certificate for a handgun is valid for five years. Note that, once expired, the holder of such a certificate must approach a training centre to obtain a new one.
Only once the training certificate has been received, the applicant may approach the police station to apply for the competency certificate to own a handgun.
Visit the local SAPS to apply for a competency certificate.
Documents needed to apply for the competency certificate:
- Two copies of your identity document
- Two colour passport photos
- A copy of your training certificate in with your training results
- Cash for payment – R70 at the time of writing this article
- Two testimonials from friends and/or family
- The completed competency application form
The police will then interview your friends and/or family to ascertain whether you are competent to own a handgun and registers your application with the provincial police headquarters from where it is referred to the Central Firearms Register.
The applicant’s background and possible criminal record will be monitored to ascertain whether he should be allowed to operate a handgun before a panel will approve or deny the application based on information gathered.
The competency certificate remains valid for the period of validity as determined in the Firearms Control Act, 2000, in respect of the licence for a handgun.
The competency certificate must also specify whether it relates to competency to:
- Possess a handgun
- Trade in handguns
- Manufacture firearms
- Conduct business as a gunsmith.
If an applicant is under the age of 21 years, compelling reasons which require you to obtain a competency certificate must be submitted.
Extra documents that should accompany the application should include:
- A sworn affidavit from a parent or guardian
- A certified copy of the person’s official identification document or passport
If you have more questions regarding the competency process, please don’t hesitate to contact Zero Points Down Academy by following this link: www.firearms.co.za/training/zero-points-down-academy/