AIRGUNS & THE LAW
The most common question we hear is "Is an Airgun a Firearm" or "Do I need a lisence for an airgun".
Airguns with a calibre of 5.6 mm (.22 calibre) and higher AND where the power limit exceeds 6ft/lbs are still regarded as firearms and must, therefore, be licensed.
Airguns with a calibre of less than 5.6 mm (.22) do not have to be licensed. This in itself opens a whole debate on whether a rifle that is stamped as 5.5mm is legal or not. Even the people who have to enforce the law differs about it, so we are not going to go into lenghty debates about it.
We have spoken to varies authorities about this and this is what it comes down to:
If you want to challenge this law, and you come up against a determined prosecutor, a forensic team will determine whether or not the gun in question is a .22 or not. What it basically come down to is that they will shove .22 slug down the barrel, fire a shot with it and you will loose the case, your rifle, your money and probably your freedom as well.
So, if you have or want an airgun, stick to .177 (4.5mm) or .20 caliber (5mm) where no license is required.
According to the law it is illegal to shoot in a built up area. Yes, everyone does it, but it is illegal.
Shooting in parks or on private land
If you go to the park, leave your airgun at home!!! If you want to shoot on privately owned land, make sure it is away from any "built up" areas and that you have the written permission of the land owner. Always adhere to basic safety rules and make sure of your backstop.
Hunting with airguns
Although there are various opinions about this, the general consensus is that it is illegal. Well, illegal or not, the SPCA will be on your case. If there is anyone out there with more knowledge about this, we would like to hear from you.
Shooting kids, cats or dogs in the neigbourhood...
You are well on your way to become somebody's bitch in jail. Don't expect any support from anyone in the airgun community either...
PLEASE READ THIS!!!
According to the Firearms Control Act...
- Owners of airguns and antique firearms must take note that although these firearms no longer have to be licensed, the Act provides for various offences that can be committed with these firearms.
- Owners of the mentioned firearms can still be prosecuted if they use the firearms to commit crimes, to point such firearms at any other person without good reason to do so, to discharge such firearms in a built-up area or any public place without good reason to do so, to fire shots at another person, to injure another person, to damage property, to abuse animals, or handle any of these firearms while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The South African Police Service will investigate all cases of this nature. Offenders who are found guilty may be declared unfit to own a firearm.
- Parents have a duty to ensure that their children use airguns responsibly.