The Process of Importing a Firearm Privately
Joe visited Royal Karoo Safaris with his hunting group during April 2018, and after many hours around the campfire and with a successful hunt behind his group, he started loosening his grip on a very special firearm in his armoury.
Earlier that year, during our marketing travels to Canada he had introduced me to his pre 1964 restored 416 Rigby. This was certainly a special rifle, and had an interesting history – being the rifle of choice in more than a hundred African Elephant hunts, it had changed hands around a remote campfire when a bet was lost and its then owner honoured his word! The rifle made its ways to Canada and ended up in Joe’s collection.
Back to the campfire at Royal Karoo Safaris – an offer was made – a bit of haggling and good natural banter, and the Rigby was once again destined to grace the hunting grounds in Africa!!
But now the real process was to begin!!!
The local DFO was consulted, the requisite forms completed, supporting letters and documentation obtained and the import permit process was initiated. The idea was to have all the paperwork completed by my January 2019 trip, and I would bring it home with me on my return to South Africa! Well, that’s the theory…
Five months later, in December 2018, the application was nowhere to be found, and by the time I boarded for Canada in mid January 2019 I was holding out the last hope that it would at least be issued before I returned at the end of February.
But alas, it was not to be – I had the opportunity to once again to be acquainted with its smooth action, but she would have to endure the cold climate for a while longer…. On my return, it took another few months to get the permit issued – and I had until September 2019 to have it arrive on the shores of its new home. Fortuitously I had a client who lived close to her Canadian home, coming out to take part in a hunting safari during August, so arrangements were made, hard travel case acquired etc. The collection had grown in the interim – there were now three firearms on the permit.
All went well, the Canadian export was issued timeously, loaded on the airplane and everybody was happy!!
But not for long!! I had flown to Johannesburg to facilitate the arrival of the rifles – and after checking with the local DFO, was armed with all the correct paperwork. It wasn’t as easy as that at all – life never is!
There they were – on the counter in the police clearance office – all safe and had travelled well – but the paperwork I had in my possession was not to be accepted!!
What do you do when the paperwork is not registering on the system? How can the application number be incorrect and not line up with the successful application?!!! Stress counters were suddenly hitting the red zone – flights to Port Elizabeth had been booked, check in was in an hour – but the officer behind the counter was adamant – there was nothing on his system, and he was not budging!!!
Now to retrace steps, delay flights, find the DFO, find someone at Central Registry to speak to – and after many phone calls, some anxious moments, the relevant issuing officer was located – and two hours later the paperwork was restored with the correct numbers!!! What had taken 8 months to be issued incorrectly, was corrected within 20 minutes!! The officers in the firearm office at Johannesburg International Airport have been amazing, going out of their way to be helpful, the lady at Central Registry – thank you and the DFO at Jeffreys Bay – I appreciate your effort.
I am a happy camper, waiting in the airport lounge for my Port Elizabeth Bound flight, having successfully loaded my new acquisition onto the flight.
The next adventure is at hand, my thoughts have started wandering what the next big game animal will be lined up in the Rigby’s iron sights??
Is there anybody out there ready for an adventure………?????