Looking at the stats of firearms sold at gun shops, handguns by far outnumbers the type of firearm that is purchased.
Most of these are bought for the purpose of self-protection. This comes with some important factors to take into consideration as you would most likely be carrying your firearm with you most of the times.
Your firearm may not be carried in such a way that it is visible to the public. It has to be concealed.
As always, owning a firearm comes with a fulltime responsibility.
An important fact is that close family members are aware that you “carry” when accompanying you on an outing or even inside your home.
If you are going to carry your firearm, you need to consider changing your way of life and movement and adopt a habitual way of living.
This includes how you dress, where you go, how you get in and out of your car, your awareness of your surroundings and your observation of people around you.
The Firearms Control Act is very clear that any firearm must be concealed when in public.
Section 84 of the act states the following:
84 Carrying of a Firearm in a Public Place
- No person may carry a firearm in a public place unless the firearm is carried –
- In the case of a handgun-
- In a holster or similar holder designed, manufactured, or adapted for the carry of handgun and attached his person or her person; or
- In a rucksack or similar holder; or
- In the case of a handgun-
- In the case of any other firearm, in a holder designed, manufactured, or adapted for the carry of a firearm.
- A firearm contemplated in subsection (1) must be completely covered and the person carrying the firearm must be able to exercise effective control over such firearm
This means that you are not allowed to have your firearm visible to other members of the public.
Depending on the size of your firearm and the type of holster you use as well as where on your person you carry, you should always attempt to hide that fact that you have a firearm on you. It should be hidden.
If you are going to be carrying all the time, do not buy a huge gun. It becomes bulky and uncomfortable to carry and before you know it, the firearm will be left at home due to the uncomfortable experience.
Most modern firearms today can be safely carried with a live round in the chamber and with the safety on. This is also dependent on your ability to safely draw your firearm and again, back to the type of holster you use. Also note that revolvers are effectively carries with a live round in the barrel and just pulling the trigger will send of a shot.
Some pistols have a double action mechanism which does the same. However, if you have a single action pistol, you may need to cock the hammer first.
We once again stress the importance of practicing this on the range with your specific firearm and know how to effectively and safely operate it. There are differences between handguns and the type of safety they are fitted with. Be sure you know how to operate your firearm safely.
Another question we need to cover is if you are allowed to carry hollow points for self-defense.
The answer is yes. You may carry any type of ammunition that you can legally buy at your gun dealer or if you are reloading, any component that you may legally buy or have in your possession.
Last but as important as the other factors is that if you are going to carry, you need to know if the space or building you are entering is declared as a Gun Free Zone. It is important to note that the Minister of Safety and Security may declare a premises or categories of premises as a gun free zone.
Some of these gun free zones are banks, post offices, schools, airport, to name a few.
No person is allowed to carry or store a firearm in these places without authorization.
Section 140 deals with this:
140 Firearm-free Zones
- The minister may, after consultation with the National Commissioner and the Secretary of the Police Service, by notice in the Gazette declare any premises or categories of premises to be firearm-free zones, if it is-
- in the public interest; and
- in accordance with the objects of this Act
- Unless authorised to do so in terms of a notice under subsection 20 (1), no person may-
- allow any firearm or ammunition to be in a firearm free zone;
- carry any firearm or ammunition in a firearm free zone; or
- store any firearm or ammunition in a firearm free zone
What are the penalties if you contravene any of these laws and regulations?
Chapter 16 of the Act deal with:
Offences, Penalties and administrative fines (ss 120 – 122)
- A person is guilty of an offence if he or she contravenes or fails to comply with any –
- Provisions of this act;
Penalties for contravening the act are dealt with per section
|Section||Maximum period of Imprisonment|
|140 (2) (a)||Five Years|
|140 (2) (b)||Ten Years|
|140 (2) (c)||Twenty-Five Years|
As always, we urge our members to act responsible and we aim to keep you informed.
Shoot responsible and enjoy.