“South Africa’s current firearms regulatory framework consists of the Firearms Control Act (FCA) and its subsidiary legislation, which has been in place since 2004.

“This framework imposes strict substantive and procedural requirements for obtaining a competency certificate, licence, permit, or authorisation to possess a firearm, to deal in firearms, or to carry out other firearm-related activities, including running a firearms-training enterprise or a hunting business.

“Some of these requirements are of universal application. For instance, a separate firearms licence must be issued for every firearm and applicants must obtain a competency certificate. To do so, an applicant should, among other things, be a ‘fit and proper person’ with no recent conviction for certain crimes, be stable, and not have a proclivity for violence. Other requirements vary depending on the type and purpose of the specific licence sought. For instance, a person wishing to obtain a licence to possess a firearm for self-defense is required to demonstrate a need for the weapon and inability to achieve protection through other means. In addition, an eligible individual may obtain only one licence of this class, which must be renewed every five years.

“Limited, mostly secondary sources located for this report point to a decrease in firearms-related crimes since the FCA came into force, although none of the sources establish a direct causal effect.”

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