GUIDELINES FOR THE EVALUATION AND APPROVAL OF NEW MEMBERS, ASSESSMENT OF ‘GOOD STANDING’, AND CATEGORIZATION OF NEW AND EXISTING MEMBERS  

 The FCA 2000 and its associated Regulations require Collectors Associations to have in place, as a prerequisite for acquiring and retaining Accreditation under the Act, a number of requirements which are described in, or coupled to, the Association’s Constitution or Founding Documents.

 

 (a) Evaluation and Approval of Members 

 The first Process (or so-called ‘Dedicated Procedure’) is for the evaluation and approval of their members against various criteria viz. –

 1.    The Member must have a specific ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ for his or her collection.

 The Association must ensure that the ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ is legitimate, and adequately defined, described  and recorded.

 (Please refer to the related NAACCSA publication “Guidelines for the Interpretation of Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)” for a more detailed discussion of this topic )

 The FCA does not place any limits on the scale or scope of Field of Interest and/or Theme(s), provided these are legitimate, and can be adequately motivated.

 The Member may add to his or her ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’, provided this is motivated and submitted to the Association for approval and recordal.

 

2.    The Member is required to have, and to be able to demonstrate , reasonable ‘ Interest in , and Knowledge of ’ his or her stated ‘Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’

In this regard the Regulations highlight a number of attributes of ‘value’ which may be used to assess the Member’s Interest and Knowledge, plus allowing for other attributes which the Association may choose to recognise .

These attributes of “value”, as listed in Regulation 5 of the FCA, currently include Historical, Heritage, Scientific, Technological, Cultural, Educational, Artistic, and Other – as approved by the accredited collector’s association of which the collector is a member .

The Executive Committee of the Association, or Membership Committee appointed by it for the purpose, ( and augmented by suitable members as may be necessary acting as ‘subject matter experts’), will need to assess the Applicant’s professed Knowledge and Interest , and to record the results of this assessment in the Association’s records for possible inspection / audit  .

This assessment may vary slightly from case to case, but would typically include an evaluation of the Applicant’s written application , an interview, consideration of the Applicant’s reference material (books etc), and possibly track record in applicable situations .

Except in exceptional circumstances, new members would be accommodated in Category ‘C’ (‘normal’ firearms) as defined in the Regulations. 

 However it also needs to be recognised that Collectors are not ‘born overnight’, and that often a period of development must be considered.

In this regard, mechanisms such as ‘Novice collector’ or ‘probationary periods’ can be employed to encourage new members , while still observing statutory and governance requirements. (The duration period of the ‘Novice’ status or probation would be at the discretion of the Association, and would typically extend until the Association is satisfied that the conditions for full Categorised membership are met.)

 

Summary of requirements for new members :

  • A written Application form outlining the Applicants Field of Interest and Theme(s) – see typical example (annexure A) attached.
  • Details of any existing firearms, or other artefacts held which support the above. 
  •  A Declaration of Compliance with the relevant portions of the FCA.
  •  Two references from other Association members or persons of repute acceptable to the Association.
  •  A detailed motivation as to why the Applicant wishes to be considered as a Private Collector (as opposed to Hunter or Sports shooter), with as much supporting evidence as possible.
  •  Questionnaires such as the example attached (annexure B) can assist in preparing this motivation.
  •  A report by the Associations on the Applicant’s submission and interview, and the decision reached, which is kept on record.

  

(b) Assessment of ‘Good Standing’ 

 The second question which the FCA requires the Association to consider is the question of the ‘good standing’ of its members – both new and existing.

 This is a controversial topic, and Collectors Associations will have to agree where the relative responsibilities of the Association, and the SAPS, start and stop in this regard.

 Certain elements are fairly easy to determine e.g.

  •  In the case of new Members, is the Applicant known to the Association, or can the Applicant be supported by (at least) two character references from existing members or other persons of repute acceptable to the Association?
  •  Is the member up to date with Subscriptions and other obligations where applicable?
  •  Has the Member conducted him/herself in accordance with the Code of Conduct of the Association?
  •  Annual confirmation by the member of his or her personal details, and description of Field of Interest and/or theme(s), as required to be kept by the Association.

 However where it comes to issues of Compliance with Section 9 of the FCA and related requirements, this is arguably a SAPS matter, and the Association should limit itself to requiring a ‘Declaration of Compliance with the requirements of the FCA’ from the member, both for new Applicants, as well as existing members on an Annual basis.

 It is therefore recommended that the ‘Annual Invoice’ issued by the Association includes not only the Financial (subscription) details, but also confirmation of the members stated Field of Interest and/or Theme(s), and the ‘Declaration of Compliance’ with the FCA, which must be signed and returned timeously by the member as a pre-condition for continued membership.

 The ‘Receipt’, which is then issued by the Association, will confirm the member’s ‘good standing’ and should form an annual adjunct to the members Membership Certificate.

 The Regulations also require the Associations to report any termination of membership for disciplinary reasons, together with the circumstances, to the CFR by the 31st of December each year.

(c) Categorisation 

 The third issue which Associations have to address is the question of ‘Categorisation’ of existing and future members, and ‘Change of Category’ of current members, and to have a Process in place (‘Dedicated Procedure’) to effect this.

 The Membership Certificate must take the form of a ‘solemn declaration’ to conform with Section 17 of the FCA, and must reflect the Category in which the Association has classified the member.

 The Competency Certificate issued by the SAPS to the member will also, in the case of Categories ‘C’, ‘B’, or ‘A’, reflect the respective Category in which the Association has classified the member .

 The Categories are described in Regulation 5 of the FCA, but can be paraphrased as follows:

 Category ‘C’ – ‘Normal’ firearms

 Category ‘B’ – ‘Normal’ and ‘Restricted’ firearms

 Category ‘A’ – “Normal’, ‘Restricted’ and ‘Prohibited’ firearms.

 It must be emphasised that the ‘Categorisation’ of members is a convenient, and helpful ‘governance and control’ mechanism, which although stringent, is no reflection on the member’s status and knowledge.

 (South Africa has many highly regarded, knowledgeable and experienced ‘Category C’ Collectors, who simply have no interest in Restricted or Prohibited artefacts)

 In most instances, many Associations may also have to accommodate two further ‘Categories’ not described as such in the Regulations viz –

  •  ‘Uncategorised’ – where the member collects artefacts other than firearms e.g. militeria, edged weapons etc
  •  ‘Ammunition Collector’ – where the member collects ammunition and is in possession of an Ammunition Collector’s Permit issued in terms of Section 18 of the FCA, either in isolation , or in conjunction with Category ‘C’, ‘B’, or ‘A’ .

 Associations will have to consider three situations viz –

  •  Categorisation of new members
  • Categorisation (initial) of existing members
  • Categorisation (upgrade) of existing members

 (i) Categorisation of new members

 New members will, except in exceptional circumstances, be classified in Category ‘C’ as set out in sections (a) and (b) above

 (ii) Categorisation of existing members

 Existing members will need to apply for the respective Category in which they feel they should be classified, by means of an Application Form which reflects and motivates their ‘Interest in and Knowledge of a particular  Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)’ as set out in Regulation 5(1)(a) , and is described in Section (a) above .

 In the case of Category ‘C’ applications, the Executive Committee of the Association , or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose, will consider the application as if it were an application for new membership , and evaluate it accordingly with a view to –

  •  Approving the application if the details are well presented, and the applicant’s collecting bona fides are well known in the Association 
  • Arranging a clarification Interview if required
  • Classifying the member as ‘uncategorised’ if the requirements of ‘Interest’, ‘Knowledge’, adequately defined ‘Field of Interest’ etc are not currently met, where after the member may re-apply in due course 

In the case of Category ‘B’ or ‘A’ applications during the transitional phase, these can only be considered if the applicant has Category ‘B’ or ‘A’ artefacts acquired by virtue of his or her previous Bona Fide Collecting activities, and were motivated and approved as such, and which fit with the applicant’s declared Field of Interest and/or Theme(s) .

These requirements should be assessed and confirmed by the Association’s Executive Committee, or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose, by means of a mandatory interview with the applicant, and the details recorded on the Association’s records.

Given the procedural difficulties associated with trying to track down original applications etc, it is recommended that the applicant be requested to furnish an affidavit[1] confirming that the artefacts in question were acquired as Bona Fide collector’s Items.

Given the increased responsibility associated with the ownership of Restricted and Prohibited artefacts, it is further recommended that the applicant be requested to –

  • Furnish two letters of reference from existing members of the Association which affirm the applicant’s good standing and bona fide collecting interest.
  • Confirm the adequacy of his or her security arrangements

 (iii) Categorisation Upgrade of existing members

 Applications from existing members to upgrade from ‘Uncategorised’ to Category ‘C’,  Category ‘C’ to ‘B’ , or ‘B’ to ‘A’ must be made in writing , and must include a full motivation detailing

  •  The envisaged non-restricted artefacts which the applicant wishes to acquire for his or her collection, in the case of Category ‘C’
  • The envisaged Restricted or Prohibited artefacts which the applicant wishes to add to his or her collection in the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’
  • How this fits in with the applicant’s previously stated and approved Field of Interest and/or Theme(s)
  • If this is an extension to the applicant’s previous Field of Interest etc, how this has come about, and the rationale for the proposed extension.
  •  Sufficient information to demonstrate the applicant’s ‘knowledge of and interest in’ the extended Field and the proposed artefact
  • Two letters of reference from existing well known members of the Association[2]

 The application will then be assessed by the Association’s Executive Committee, or Membership Committee constituted and mandated for that purpose, by means of an evaluation of the written submission and a mandatory interview with the applicant, and the details recorded on the Association’s records.

 The interview should follow a fairly structured approach, and should address the following issues (where applicable) –

  1.  How long has the applicant been interested in / collecting firearms, either as a member of the Association or other similar Organisations in the past?
  2.  When did the applicant join the Association.
  3.  What was the applicant’s declared theme / focus / field of interest when he/she joined, and how has this evolved?
  4.  Where applicable, did the applicant’s original application to SAPS for bona fide status reflect the same information as his/her motivation to the Association?
  5.  Does the applicant have a copy of this application that can be shared with the Committee?
  6.  In the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’, did the applicant’s motivation to SAPS include Restricted or Prohibited firearms? (Supported by an Affidavit if necessary)
  7.  Where applicable, a brief description of the contents of the applicant’s collection as it illustrates the above theme/ focus/ field of interest.
  8.  In the case of ‘B’ or ‘A’, if  the applicant’s  collection / status does not include Restricted or Prohibited firearms, include a description of  how the applicant’s field of interest / theme(s), focus has evolved, and why the applicant now wishes to include such artefacts in his/her collection.
  9.  Description of which such artefacts the applicant intends to add to his/her collection.
  10.  Description of the Historical, Scientific, Technological, Heritage, Educational, Cultural or Artistic aspects etc. of these artefacts, within the context of the applicant’s declared field of interest / theme.
  11.  Given that such artefacts are regarded as “sensitive” by the authorities, is the applicant confident that his/her Safekeeping and Security arrangements are adequate?

  If the outcome of the interview and evaluation are acceptable, the member may be issued with a new membership certificate reflecting the change in Category, where after the member may apply to the SAPS for a new Competency Certificate in the changed category.

 

ANNEXURE A      –           Sample application form 

 

ANNEXURE B  –  Application for Membership Form – Questionnaire:

 

(Provide answers on a separate sheet. All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence)

 

1.      How did you learn about the Association and what has prompted you to apply for membership?

 2.     Are you a member of, or have you ever previously applied for membership to another branch of the Association or a similar Arms Collectors Association? If so, please provide full details.

 3.     Are you currently a member of any other Collectors Association of whatever nature? If so, please provide full details.

 4.     How long have you been collecting Arms, Ammunition or related items?

 5.     In terms of the Regulations promulgated under the Firearms Control Act, Act 60 of 2000, you are required to complete, sign and return the attached statement which is to clearly indicate the precise field, theme and focus of your Firearms collection or intended collection. Please note that in the absence of this information it will not be possible to process your application further. Should you require assistance in completing this statement you are referred to the article on collectability guidelines which is available on ( xxx )  and may also be obtained from the Association Administrative Officer. If you do not actually intend to collect firearms this must be clearly stated on the form.

 6.     If not a collector of Arms and/or Ammunition do you have any interests that may be associated with our field? Provide details. Should this not be the case, how do you believe that membership of the Association will assist you in the pursuit of your interests?

 7.     Provide general details of your arms or any other collection. If of firearms, provide a list all firearms which are licensed in your name. (See also attached statement for specific theme list)

 8.     Comment upon what you believe to be the most interesting aspect(s) of your collection.

 9.     Provide a detailed list of the reference material covering your collection(s) of whatever nature, excluding the Internet / World Wide Web.

 10.    In terms of firearms collecting would you say that your collection consists of items that:

          (a) You have deliberately set out to acquire? or

          (b) Items that have just accumulated over the years?

11.    Should you become a registered collector and thus in a position to increase the size of your collection or, alternatively, then be able to obtain a firearm which was previously unavailable to you, what would you acquire and why?

 12.    Have you ever experienced any difficulties in licensing a firearm? If so detail:

          (a) What was the arm for which was the license required?

          (b) What was the stated purpose for acquiring the arm?

          (c) What was the nature of the difficulty encountered?

 13.    If previously convicted of a firearm or violence-related offence(s) please indicate the nature of the offence(s) and the date(s) of conviction.

 14.    Are you already a bona fide hunter or sportsman? If so, please indicate what extra benefits you see for yourself in becoming a certified collector as well.

 15.    If not already a bona fide hunter or sportsman please motivate why your purpose would not be better served by becoming either of these rather than a collector?

 16.    How many active collectors do you know and meet with on a regular basis? Please supply their names and also of any the Association members, apart from those proposing your application, who would be willing to stand as referees concerning your application.

 17.    Should your application not have been proposed and seconded by two current Association members please provide full details as to why this was not done.

 18.    Briefly justify why you believe that you may be entitled to become to a recognised and registered collector.

 19.    Should you become a member of the Association, please detail:

          (a)  What benefits you hope to derive from the Association membership? and

          (b) What benefits do you believe the Association could derive from your membership?

 Please provide any further information that you believe will assist in the motivation of your application for membership.

 

 

Prepared and approved by NAACCSA ExCo