Firearm law changes & prohibited firearms


For any queries about the new firearms laws, please call 0800 311 311, 8.30am – 4.30pm Mon – Fri.

 

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no longer a category of firearm known as a military style semi-automatic firearm (or MSSA) and the old "E" endorsement is obsolete.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

 

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.

 

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

 

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/

 

 

 

Previous changes to firearms

The 21 March 2019 changes made by an Order in Council are superseded by this amendment.