One of the most frequently asked questions on firearm groups, if not the most frequently asked, is something like “if I have an expired white licence, and an old green card / ID book licence, am I still alright?”
I have written two articles about this problem. One pertaining to the validity of the green licences themselves. And one confirming that yes, you can actually reprint these licences.
The short answer to the above question – yes. Your old green card or ID book licence is still 100% valid. Regardless of whether or not you applied for (or received) a new FCA white card licence for the same firearm.
Allow me a moment to briefly explain why.
In Judge Bill Prinsloo’s 2009 court order he states “all firearm licences contemplated in sub-item 1 of item 1 of schedule of the firearms control Act, Act 6 of 2000 shall be deemed lawful and valid pending final adjudication of the main application.” (I have taken the liberty to attach the full 27-page judgement below in PDF format)
The NHSA solicited independent legal opinion on the Prinsloo judgement from Adv. H van Eeden SC back in 2016. He came to the conclusion that all so-called “green card” licences are indeed valid regardless of whether or not the holder applied for a new white licence card. (I have also attached the NHSA legal opinion in PDF format below)
I recommend you read the entire thing for yourself.
The Gun Owners of SA (GOSA) legal team agrees with this interpretation. They do, however, want to add an additional paragraph of information:
It may be argued that the green license “lapsed” upon the white license being issued, and that it is therefore no longer in existence. Deeming language in which the order is couched, such an argument would be wrong, amongst others because the order does not say that all green licenses remain valid and in existence. It says “deemed” to be valid. So even if it has technically “lapsed” (which is not the case), the deeming provision in the order takes care of that problem.
It must be emphasised that the National Commissioner of Police told Parliament that all old firearm licences (from the previous Act) are considered valid. Hence, despite the confusion and chronic inability of the SAPS to coordinate internal communication, the police do not oppose this interpretation. Not that it would make any difference: the SAPS are law enforcers, not law creators.
I hope this (finally) puts to bed a virally-recurring question which shares more than one characteristic with herpes simplex.
Written by Gideon Joubert
Gideon is owner and editor of Paratus