Grahamstown — An audit of all privately owned firearms in South Africa will be done in February next year, under the new Firearms Control Act.
Andrew Lash of the Pretoria Central Firearm Register said yesterday it would be a "difficult and time consuming process".
Gun owners will be called to their nearest police station to present proof of identification and their gun licenses.
A competency test will determine if an individual will get a license. The firearm owners will have to undergo a theoretical and practical training process while a background check will also be conducted The competency test will have to be renewed every five years.
Previously, gun owners applied only once for a license and renewals were not essential. This will change from next year where people who possess firearms for self defence will have to renew them every five years, businesses in firearms will have to renew them every two years and occasional hunters every ten years.
The Act will benefit pellet gun and airgun owners, said insp Nathan Hoffman of the Grahamstown firearms department. He added that as long as the pellet gun's caliber is under .22, owners will not need a license. In accordance to chapter three of the Act airguns are no longer be considered a firearm.
Previously the age limit to own a firearm was 16 which has been increased to 21.