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Unlike the founding counterpart in the United States of America[1], the South African Constitution does not enshrine the right to bear arms – gun ownership is viewed as a statutory privilege principally regulated by the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 (the “Act”). On 21 May 2021, the Government published a notice in the in the Government Gazette, formally inviting public comment on the proposed changes to this Act, as detailed by the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2021 (the “Bill”).[2]

The amendments proposed by the Bill notably include:[3]

  • The imposition of limitations on the types of a firearms and number of licenses hunters and sports-shooters may possess;
  • A reduction in the quantity of ammunition a licensed firearm holder may possess;
  • the deletion of provisions permitting private collectors to possess firearms and ammunition;
  • the introduction of certain obligations on the Private Security Regulatory Authority; and (most controversially)
  • the removal of “self defence” as a valid reason to possess a firearm.

The full impact of these changes is in the process of being assessed and interested parties have been encouraged to make submissions in response to the Bill. The deadline for public comment is 4 July 2021.  

For more information, the full text of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill can be accessed at http://www.policesecretariat.gov.za/legislation/FAC_Bill.php

We trust that you found this article informative, please email info@hjw.co.za for any assistance regarding the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 or any of the proposed amendments in relation thereto.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal advice on any specific matter. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to the law as at the time of writing and will change in accordance with any change in the law. We recommend that you contact HJW Attorneys at info@hjw.co.za directly for advice applicable to your specific matter.


[1]           See the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

[2]          See Government Gazette No. 44593, 21 May 2021. The public has a deadline of 4 July 2021 to submit comment in response to this notice.

[3]          See the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2021. The full text of the bill is  available at http://www.policesecretariat.gov.za/legislation/FAC_Bill.php.