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2019 Firearm law changes (Arms Amendment Bill 2)

 

For any queries about the new firearms laws, please call 0800 311 311, 8.00am – 4.00pm Mon – Fri.

 

2019 New firearm laws

 

The Arms Act has been amended,- banning most semi-automatic firearms, some pump action shotguns, some tubular magazine firearms and certain large capacity magazines. There are limited exemptions. There are also controls around who may possess parts of prohibited firearms.

There is no longer a category of firearm known as a military style semi-automatic firearm (or MSSA) and the old "E" endorsement is obsolete.

The newly banned items are called prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, and prohibited parts. New offences involving prohibited items carry tougher penalties.

An amnesty and buy-back scheme ran until 20 December 2019. Those who are still in possession of prohibited items must hand these items in immediately to Police.

 

2019 Information on prohibited firearms

 

Prohibited firearms, parts and magazines

Prohibited firearms are:

  • All semi-automatic firearms (including semi-automatic shotguns), but:
    • excluding rimfire rifles .22 calibre or less as long as they have a magazine (whether detachable or not) that holds 10 rounds or less; and
    • excluding semi-automatic shotguns that have a non-detachable, tubular magazine that holds 5 rounds or less.
  • Pump action shotguns that:
    • Are capable of being used with a detachable magazine; or
    • Have a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds.

Only those who meet one of the exemption categories and who have applied for and obtained a new endorsement and permit to possess may lawfully possess a prohibited firearm.

Prohibited magazines are:

  • Shotgun magazines (whether detachable or not) capable of holding more than 5 rounds.
  • Magazines for other firearms (excluding pistols) that are:

    Only those who meet one of the exemption categories and who has applied for and obtained a new endorsement and permit to possess may lawfully possess a prohibited magazine.

    • Detachable magazines bigger than 10 rounds that are capable of holding 0.22 calibre or lower rimfire cartridges
    • Detachable magazines bigger than 10 rounds that are capable of being used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm
    • Other magazines, detachable or not, that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Prohibited parts are:

  • Any part designed or intended to be an integral part of a prohibited firearm.
    • Examples include: butt, stock, silencer, sight
  • Any component that can be applied to enable a firearm to fire with (or near to) semi-automatic or automatic action.
    • Examples include: gas block, gas tube, sub-calibre conversion kit.

Only those who have an endorsement permitting them to possess a prohibited firearm may lawfully possess a prohibited part.

 

2019 List of legal and prohibited firearms

 

 

Firearm type

 

Action

 

Prohibited firearm

.22 rimfire or smaller

Bolt

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

.22 rimfire or smaller

Lever

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

.22 rimfire or smaller

Semi-auto

No - if it has magazine holding 10 rounds or less.

Yes - if it has a magazine holding more than 10 rounds. 

Shotgun

Pump

Yes - if it is capable of being used with a detachable magazine; or if it has a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

No - if it is not capable of being used with a detachable magazine and it has a non-detachable tubular magazine that is not capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

Yes - unless below applies

Shotgun

Semi-auto

Yes - unless below applies

No - if it has a non-detachable tubular magazine that is capable of holding no more than 5 cartridges.

Shotgun

Under & over

No.

Shotgun

Side-by-side

No.

Centre fire

Bolt

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Pump

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Lever

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Semi-auto

Yes

 

2019 Amnesty and buy-back

 

The amnesty and buy-back programme for prohibited firearms, parts and magazines ended on 20 December 2019.

An amendment to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2019 came into effect in November 2019 - this extends the amnesty period for select groups who possess prohibited items.

People who have made certain types of applications before 20 December 2019 - and have received notification from Police that their applications have been received - will continue to have amnesty from prosecution for possession of their prohibited items while their applications are processed:

  • Modification of a prohibited firearm
  • Unique Prohibited Item assessment
  • P endorsement (and permit to possess) for prohibited items
  • Dealer compensation
  • Other applicants whose items are subject to a pre-planned arrangement for collection by Police.

It also legally protects valuers, gunsmiths and dealers who may be involved in the above processes after 20 December 2019 (for example, valuers preparing valuations for unique prohibited item assessments, and gunsmiths conducting modifications).

Unique Prohibited Items applicants

Police will be in touch with those firearm holders who have applied for Unique Prohibited Items (UPI). Please continue to keep your unique firearm, part or magazine safely stored while applications are assessed.

If you have any queries about the UPI process please call 0800 311 311.

Modification applicants

If you have been informed by your gunsmith that your firearm is not suitable for modification, then you have 30 days from 20 December 2019 to apply for compensation. Phone 0800 311 311 for more information.

If you are still waiting for a gunsmith to modify your firearm/s, you must continue to keep your firearm safely stored until modification can take place. You must not use your firearm.

Once modified, the gunsmith will provide you with a certificate of completion to verify the modification has been completed. Police may follow up with you to check what arrangements you have made for the modification to be done.

If you have any queries about the modification process please call 0800 311 311.

Endorsement applicants

You must continue to store your firearm/s securely and not use them.

You will be notified of the results and the endorsement application once it has been fully considered. If your application is unsuccessful, we will explain the process for the hand in of your firearms (including buyback options).

If you have any queries, please call 0800 311 311 or visit endorsement process

Dealer applying for compensation

Having applied for compensation through the dealer portal by 20 Dec 2019, Dealers who have prohibited items must continue to store their stock and personal items securely. Once applications by dealers are validated and approved, we will advise dealers how their personal and commercial stock can be handed in to us or Police will arrange for items to be collected and compensation paid.

Complaints on the Dealer Stock process can be made to dealer_compensation@police.govt.nz or please call 0800 311 311. Complaints will be responded to within 48 business hours and escalated as required.

To appeal the firearm buy-back price

Should you wish to appeal the firearm buy-back price for your item(s), you can do so to the District Court.

For more information please go to https://www.justice.govt.nz/courts/civil/

 

2019 Price list

Arms Amendment Regulations 2019

Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019

View Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019 from the New Zealand Legislation website

The temporary amnesty for persons possessing prohibited ammunition (Regulation 28Y of the Arms Regulations 1992) ended on the 30 September 2019.

Regulation 28Y of the Arms Regulations 1992 allows for certain persons (below) to possess prohibited ammunition.

A bona fide collector / a director or curator of a bona fide museum of prohibited ammunition

Under Regulation 28Y (1) of the Arms Regulation 1992 the following persons may only possess prohibited ammunition that is manufactured for small arms:

  1. a director or curator of a bona fide museum:
  2. a bona fide collector of ammunition.

Small arms means (Regulation 28Y (5) Arms Regulation):

  1. a rifle of a calibre up to 20 millimetres
  2. a pistol of a calibre up to 20 millimetres

If you wish to keep your collection of prohibited ammunition, you will need to be recognised by Police as a bona fide collector of prohibited ammunition. To be recognised as a bona fide collector please:

  1. Complete the POL67AC Police form attached with the relevant supporting document/s
  1. Send your completed form to prohibitedfirearmendorsement@police.govt.nz
  2. If approved, you will receive a “letter of recognition” that identifies you as a bona fide collector of prohibited ammunition.


Note: The letter is not an endorsement

If you do not wish to keep your collection of prohibited ammunition, then Police will arrange to visit you and collect the prohibited ammunition.

A researcher of prohibited ammunition

Under Regulation 28Y (2) of the Arms Regulation 1992 a researcher may possess prohibited ammunition if the researcher is—

  1. employed or contracted by—
    1. the New Zealand Defence Force; or
    2. the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited; and
  2. researching the chemical makeup of certain types of prohibited ammunition.

If you wish to possess prohibited ammunition for the purpose of research, you will need to be recognised by Police as a researcher of prohibited ammunition. To be recognised as a researcher of prohibited ammunition please:

  1. Complete the POL67AR Police form attached with the relevant supporting document/s
  1. Send your completed form to prohibitedfirearmendorsement@police.govt.nz
  2. If approved, you will receive a “letter of recognition” that identifies you as researcher of prohibited ammunition


Note: The letter is not an endorsement

If you do not wish to continue to possess of prohibited ammunition for the purpose of research, then Police will arrange to visit you and collect the prohibited ammunition.

 

Prohibited ammunition

(Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019)

Ammunition

Description

Tracer ammunition

Projectiles containing an element that enables the trajectory of the projectiles to be observed

Enhanced-penetration ammunition

Projectiles that have a steel or tungsten carbide penetrator intended to achieve better penetration

Armour-piercing ammunition

Projectiles intended to penetrate or perforate armour plate and ceramic armours, typically achieved through the use of hardened or specialised core materials

Incendiary ammunition
(excluding flares for flare guns)

Projectiles designed to provide an incendiary effect on impact with the target

Explosive ammunition

Projectiles containing a high-explosive charge that detonates on impact with or in close proximity to the target

Multi-purpose ammunition

Armour-piercing incendiary ammunition in which the incendiary compound is replaced by a high-explosive charge to provide a blast, fragmentation, and incendiary effect as well as an armour-piercing effect

Discarding-sabot ammunition
(excluding shotgun cartridges)

Small-diameter projectiles designed to pierce armour that are placed into a supporting plug (a sabot) and then pushed down the bore as an assembly; the sabot is stripped off when the assembly leaves the barrel

Multi-projectile ammunition
(excluding shotgun ammunition)

Ammunition that has the ability to fire multiple projectiles in a single shot (for example, duplex ammunition)

Chemical or biological carrier ammunition
(excluding projectiles for any device designed
and intended solely for any medical, surgical,
veterinary, scientific, agricultural, industrial, or
other similar lawful purpose)

Projectiles that have the ability to carry a chemical or biological agent

Flechettes
(excluding projectiles designed and intended
solely for any bolt gun, stud gun, humane killer,
deer net gun, nail gun, or a pistol that is part of
rocket-throwing or line-throwing equipment)

Lightweight, fin-stabilised projectiles, fired from a sabot, with an aerodynamic shape and small frontal area to minimise air resistance

 

2019 Amnesty and buy-back statistics

The Firearms Amnesty & Buy-back Performance data has been updated as of 20 February 2020 and is published here for your interest. These national statistics include an update since 20 Dec 2019 of exemptions completed or being processed such as firearms modified, endorsements and UPI.

A dashboard overview of the Amnesty & Buy-back per District is now available which includes volumes, collection opportunities and breakdown by condition / category. Please see links below.

firearms buy-back performance dashboard

National Overview

Overview by District

Detailed Reports

Firearms buy-back scheme data This report presents the number of buy-back firearms and parts that were collected through public channels. Data is provisional as at 20 February 2020. The report includes the brand (make), model/type as represented on price list, and the condition and Police district the item was collected from.

2019 New offences and enforcement

The Act also contains a number of new offences and penalties including the following:

  • maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment:
    • using a prohibited firearm to resist arrest
  • maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment:
    • unlawful carriage or possession of a prohibited firearm in a public place
    • presenting a prohibited firearm at another person
    • carrying a prohibited firearm with criminal intent
    • possessing a prohibited firearm while committing any offence that has a maximum penalty of 3 years or more
  • maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment:
    • importing a prohibited item
    • unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm
    • supplying or selling a prohibited firearm or magazine
    • without lawful purpose, assembling a prohibited firearm or converting a firearm into a prohibited firearm
  • maximum penalty of 2 years:
    • possessing a prohibited part or magazine
    • supplying or selling a prohibited part