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Police gun confiscation after self-defence incident 

A man defends himself and his family only for all his firearms to be confiscated by the police.  

Andre was forced to defend himself and his family on his Free State farm last year. While he was enjoying dinner  with his wife and their two young children, he spotted two men wearing balaclavas entering his property in the lighting from a spotlight.  From the farmhouse,  he shouted at the two men to leave his property and warned them that they were trespassing. They ignored his warning and as they approached the farmhouse, he fired three warning shots from his Glock 9mm pistol. The gunshots scared the men off and they immediately fled.

After Andre reported the incident to the police, two officers came to his house to temporarily confiscate his pistol from which he shot the warning shots for ballistics tests. The officers further requested Andre to show them where he kept all his firearms. He was ordered to open  his firearm safe and the police proceeded to confiscate all his firearms, leaving him and his family vulnerable. 

Dr Llewellyn Curlewis, a criminal law expert for Firearms Guardian, had the following to say about the incident:

“It is clear from the facts at hand that the farm owner conducted himself in a manner that is in accordance with the law. From the limited facts provided, I cannot find any untoward behaviour to suggest that the farmer  acted unlawfully in any manner whatsoever. He was entitled to use his firearm under circumstances where he was merely protecting his own life, that of his family and ultimately also his property. 

“The mere fact that the SAPS temporarily took possession of his Glock pistol  is not unjustified seeing that they probably intend to send a firearm for ballistic and/or other forensic examination. The reason for this is to ensure that in the event that he possibly wounded and/or killed one of the intruders, the forensic evidence will be linked to the incident. He will obviously be entitled to reclaim his 9mm Glock, once the examination was completed. However, regarding  the confiscation of all his other firearms, I do submit that such seizure thereof was unlawful, unless the SAPS was in possession of a search and seizure warrant, alternatively had good reason to suspect that those other firearms were involved in other crimes. 

“Without a search warrant, the farmer should have refused to hand over any of his other firearms. He must as soon as possible consider an urgent application for the return of his firearms unlawfully confiscated  by the SAPS, alternatively institute an action known as a rei vindicatio, to reclaim his firearms being the owner thereof. Obviously, an appropriate cost order could also be prayed for. Depending on the circumstances it is not uncommon that a claim for possible damages might also be considered if the facts allow for it.”

What if this happens to you:

In South Africa no one can afford to say, “it won’t happen to me.” You need to be prepared for anything. Firearms Guardian understands your concern for the safety of your family and are there for you when you have to take drastic action to protect those you love. In any investigation following the use of your firearm, you need Firearms Guardian to guide you and to guard your interests.

The Firearms Guardian policy is administered by Insuresense Consultants (Pty) Ltd (FSP47115), an authorised Financial Services Provider and underwritten by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (FSP43638), an authorised Financial Services Provider and licensed non-life Insurer.

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