Arms Code

Please note:

Since the 2013 Arms Code was published, there has been a change to processes for purchasing or acquiring a firearm as it relates to mail order and internet sales.

If you are purchasing firearms or ammunition in any non-face-to-face transaction you must provide an order form to Police (Police have a standard form for this). Police will verify your firearms licence details, certify the order form, and provide the certified order form direct to the seller.

This does not apply to transfers of pistols, restricted weapons or military style semi-automatic firearms which have their own process, requiring a permit to procure issued by the Police to the person wishing to acquire these items.

The Code is currently being reviewed and updated in consultation with members of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum and other subject matter experts. A revised version with e-learning modules is expected to be available in late 2018. First time firearms licence applicants will still be able to use the 2013 version of the Arms Code to prepare for the new firearms safety programme that will be available from 1 July 2018.


Effective and active safety instruction is vital for anyone involved with firearms. All applicants for a firearms licence are required to attend the New Zealand Police firearms safety training session.

This is a test of the applicant’s knowledge of the Arms Code, particularly the Seven Firearms Safety Rules.

The Seven Firearms Safety Rules:

Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
Rule 5: Check your firing zone
Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
Rule 7: Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

A video series is also available courtesy of the NZ Mountain Safety Council on the Seven Basic Rules of Firearms Safety.

Basic Firearms Safety Rules