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South Africa
Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Easier for Oldies to Surrender

“An unlicensed fire-arm and an incompetent owner are just as illegal as an unlicensed vehicle or a driver without a driver’s licence. That’s why it is in the interest of each current and prospective gun owner to ensure that the new laws are strictly obeyed,” says Arnold van der Linde, Managing Director of IntegriSure Brokers that specialises in short-term insurance for people over 50.
Law-abiding citizens need not fear anything sinister in the new Fire Arms Control Act that officially took effect on 1st July this year. On the contrary – everyone should welcome the new law, as it is aimed at creating a safer community.
Firearms expert and dealer, Dr Lucas Potgieter, says anyone who owns a firearm in terms of the new legislation can rest assured that on account of a series of tests and investigations as prescribed by the new law, he or she has been found to be fully qualified and competent to own, handle and safely keep such a fire-arm. “Unfortunately it doesn’t protect the public against people who handle unlicensed firearms irresponsibly,” he says.
Dr Potgieter notes the reluctance of many people to go through the prescribed legal process – especially older people, who have been in possession of licensed firearms for decades. The older generation is generally more responsible and safety conscious, and do not necessarily see the need to pass a competency test first, followed by a qualifying test, in order to obtain a licence to retain their current firearms.
He says people will have to be extremely patient. “Although the new gun laws are a good thing in itself, enforcement will most probably leave much to be desired because of the shortage of manpower in the police force. So there will be enormous delays with the issuing of firearm licences.”
IntegriSure believes that a substantial number of older people – especially those with firearms that have become obsolete, such as heirlooms, outdated guns etc. – may prefer to dispose of such weapons than to be subjected to the red tape and delays of licensing.
According to Dr Potgieter, the best solution would be to take such firearms with their licences to the nearest police station with the request to have them destroyed. “The police will then accept the firearm and issue a receipt, after which they will be compelled by law to destroy the weapon.”

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:18.1 1st February, 2005
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