ConCourt to rule on firearms case costs

2013-05-20 21:38
The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment on Tuesday relating to the costs of an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal over the Firearms Control Act.

Last November the Justice Alliance of South Africa and the False Bay Gun Club took the ministries of finance and police, the national police commissioner, and the Appeal Board of Firearms to court over compensation for people who had handed their firearms in during a legislation change.

The Firearms Control Act, which came into force in 2004, replaced the Arms and Ammunitions Act and made it an offence to possess a firearm without a licence or permit.

It also restricts the number of firearms one person may possess.

Over a five-year transitional period between the two laws, firearm owners had to re-license their firearms, or give them or their extra firearms to a person allowed to have one, or surrender the firearms to the State.

The appellants had argued that because of problems with the changeover, many people's firearms were not licensed in time, and so they surrendered their firearms to the State, and believed they should be compensated for them.

The SCA found that the law only provides for compensation for a firearm seized and retained by the State to be used as part of an investigation, for example, or if it has special value, and not for voluntarily surrendering it.

However, the appellants decided to appeal the costs order made against them, believing the case to have been in the public interest, and not just for their own financial interest.

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