Do I need to belong to a club or association in order to legally possess a muzzle loading cannon?
There is no determination in the Firearms Control Act that an owner of a firearm must belong to a shooting club or gun association. Neither is there any determination in the Act that one must belong to a club or association in order to legally possess a muzzle loading cannon, which is a muzzle loading firearm by the Act's definition in Section 1. (Note that section 4(b) of the Firearms Control Act prohibits the possession of amongst other things, cannon, "manufactured to fire a rocket, grenade, self-propelled grenade, bomb or explosive device". Muzzle loading cannon cannot fire the ammunition mentioned and are therefore not included in the definition of prohibited cannon.)
May I build my own muzzle loading cannon?
Note that although section 45(1) of the Firearms Control Act prohibits the manufacturing of any firearm unless you are in possession of a manufacturer license, the definition of "firearm" in Section 1 of the Firearms Control Act excludes any device contemplated in section 5 of the Act - which by definition includes muzzle loading cannon. Therefore it should be legal for you to build your own muzzle loading cannon, but it is strongly advised that you not do so unless you had sufficient training and that it should be proof fired by a competent person before using it.
Where can I buy a muzzle loading cannon?
You may be able to buy a muzzle loading cannon from a firearms dealer who specializes in antique firearms, such as Classic Arms.
Would I need a license to possess a muzzle loading cannon?
No. A muzzle loading cannon falls within the definition of a "muzzle loading firearm" in terms of Section 1 of the Firearms Control Act (as amended). (The definition of a muzzle loading firearm in the Act makes no mention of caliber.) In terms of section 5(e) of the Firearms Control Act (as amended), muzzle loading firearms are devices not considered as firearms for the purposes of the Act. Therefore you don't need a license for a muzzle loading cannon. However, you would need a muzzle loading competency certificate in terms of section 9(1) of the Firearms Control Act (as amended)..
How can I obtain a black powder competency certificate?
You need to do a muzzle loading firearms course, which should be available from any firearms dealer who provides firearms training, such as Parow Arms. If you have not already done so in terms of an ordinary firearm, you will need to do a course on the Firearms Control Act as well. After the successful completion of the required courses, you need to apply for a black powder competency certificate at your local branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS).
Where would I be able to get black powder for my muzzle loading cannon?
You would be able to obtain black powder from firearms dealers who stock black powder firearms, such as Safari & Outdoor. You could also apply for a customer number at AEL in Macassar (phone 021 842 3901) and purchase directly from them. However, you will need a valid black powder permit in order to buy the black powder. Please note that it is illegal to buy explosives (i.e. any kind of powder that you could use in your muzzle loading cannon) from anyone who does not possess a dealers license. You may also not sell black powder to anyone unless you are in possession of a dealers license. Furthermore, you may not receive as a gift or donate black powder.
Where can I get a black powder permit?
You will need to apply for a black powder permit at the Explosives Branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS) closest to you.
What will be required from me when applying for a black powder permit?
Currently you will need to possess a black powder pistol, revolver or rifle in order to apply for a black powder permit. (Please note that black powder revolvers must be licensed, as they do not fall within the definition of "muzzle loading firearms" in the Firearms Control Act (as amended), as they can fire more than one shot before reloading is required.) Since 31 July 2012, one can only buy a black powder firearm legally if one is in possession of a valid black powder competency certificate.
May I fire projectiles with my muzzle loading cannon?
There is no determination in the Firearms Control Act that prohibits the firing of projectiles with a muzzle loading cannon. However, it would be illegal to discharge the cannon with a projectile in a built-up area, as it is illegal to discharge any firearm in a built-up area without good reason to do so. Shooting ranges will also have limits on the calibers of firearms that may be discharged on their premises. Therefore, finding a suitable place for firing projectiles legally will be difficult. It will be easier in the case of miniature cannon with small calibers.
May I lend my muzzle loading cannon to someone else or borrow someone else's muzzle loading cannon?
As a muzzle loading cannon is a device not considered to be a firearm in terms of the Firearms Control Act (as amended), you may borrow some else's muzzle loading cannon, as it is not licensed to a specific person. However, you must be in possession of a valid black powder competency certificate to be in legal possession of a muzzle loading cannon. The same principles apply when you lend your muzzle loading cannon to someone else.
May I allow someone else to fire my muzzle loading cannon?
Firing a muzzle loading cannon involves the using of explosives. The Explosives Act stipulates that no-one may use explosives unless they are in possession of a valid permit, unless they are using it under the constant and direct supervision of someone who is in possession of a valid permit.
What are the requirements for the transportation of black powder?
Black powder must be transported in its original container. A maximum of 5kg may be transported in a vehicle, provided that it is accompanied by the holders of valid black powder permits that in total make provision for that quantity of powder.
What are the requirements for storing black powder?
Black powder must be stored in a safe, lockable steel cabinet or sturdy cupboard and the original permit must be kept with the black powder or close by.
May one use someone else's permit to buy or transport black powder?
What are the steps for purchasing a black powder firearm and black powder legally?
Sign up at a firearms dealer who provides training for a training program in handling muzzle loading firearms. (You could complete the course and be tested within one or two weeks.)
Use the SASSETA accredited competency certificate obtained from your training provider to apply for a black powder competency certificate at the firearms section of your local branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS). (It could take a couple of months to receive it, as it is issued in Pretoria.)
Use your SAPS issued black powder competency certificate to purchase a muzzle loading pistol, or rifle cannon from a firearms dealer.
Use your SAPS issued black powder competency certificate to apply for a black powder permit at the Explosives Branch of the SAPS closest to you. (it could take about three months to receive your black powder permit, as it is issued in Pretoria.)
Important: Although every care has been taken to ensure that the answers provided above are correct in terms of the Law, the author cannot be held responsible for any misinterpretation of the Law or the consequences of you acting upon it. It remains your sole responsibility to ensure that you act lawfully. If in doubt, please seek legal counsel.
SOUTH AFRICAN CANNON ASSOCIATION