According to the Central Firearms Registry, of 1.33 million licence renewals issued between 2000 and 2014, just under 720 000 were for protection.
The registry stats were handed over by the civilian secretariat for police to the Western Cape community safety department, for the purpose of a report on firearm-related issues.
According to the Firearms Control Act, a person with this licence can own one handgun which is not fully automatic, or one shot gun which is not fully or semi-automatic.
The licence is for those who “need” a firearm for self-defense (used lawfully) and “cannot reasonably satisfy that need by means other than the possession of a firearm”.
According to the registry, the next most popular licence was for occasional hunting and sports shooting. These accounted for 34% of all successful renewals and were for people who were not official members of hunting or shooting clubs.
Around 8% of successful renewals were for dedicated hunters or sport shooters who could prove they were registered members of relevant associations.
Renewals were also for businesses and for private and public gun collections.
Only a small percentage of all renewal applications were refused, cancelled or outstanding.
Licences had to be renewed every two to 10 years, depending on the category.