IT is important to draw to the attention of the public that some may well be criminals in the very near future.
That old musket, the one with the broken spring and missing hammer, will be an illegal firearm on August 1 and the owner will be liable to between one and 15 years in jail. The fact that it does not work is no defence, excuse the pun.
The good news is you can take some exams and do a firing test, not necessarily with your firearm, to obtain a certificate which, if registered before July 31, will keep you out of jail. There are a few problems.
The first is that the cost of the training is about R900. Your old souvenir may well be worth less than that R900 so is it worth the trouble and expense?
Or if there are several guns, they may be worth a lot of money and you be put in this awkward position, which will cost a lot of money and time perhaps you cannot afford. You could be forced to have them trashed or sell them to an avaricious individual, only too keen to take advantage of this legislation.
It is difficult to understand the reasoning behind the regulation. Largely black powder weapons are single shot, not completely reliable and are the last thing to use in a robbery or other crime.
What muppets thought up this bit of legislation I don’t know, but they have been around for a long time. When I arrived in South Africa, I was told I was not allowed to import any edge weapons, the fancy name for knives and sword, with a blade longer than 5in [13cm] (if my memory is correct). Meanwhile I was able to buy such a weapon, cunningly disguised as a cooking knife, at any general or hardware store in South Africa.
This is head-shaking stuff, but beware the legislation is real, as are the penalties.
Name supplied, Port Elizabeth