FAQs

General

How many banned guns are still in circulation?

Police cannot be certain about the number of prohibited firearms remaining in our communities. There are approximately 248,000 licensed firearms owners in New Zealand but only a very small percentage were required to register their firearms, due to the endorsement they hold.

 

Why prohibit semi-automatics specifically?

Semi-automatics have the ability to cause harm in a fast and highly destructive way, and from a distance. The greater the calibre, capacity, and capability, the less survivable are any resulting injuries.

 

Won’t there be an increase in firearms smuggled into New Zealand as a result of the change?

New Zealand Customs has good systems in place to detect all firearms importations, both legal and illegal. The vast majority of New Zealanders are responsible and law-abiding citizens. Anyone with information on unlawful firearms is encouraged to contact Police.

 

Haven't you taken away rights of legitimate users?

No. The possession, ownership and use of a firearm in New Zealand is a privilege and not a right, and it carries significant responsibilities.

 

Under what circumstances can people hand in their guns after the amnesty and not be penalised?

As has always been the case, after 20 December 2019 if someone proactively hands in prohibited firearms/parts/ammunition, the Arms Act 1983 (section 59B) expressly affirms that Police have a discretion not to prosecute in such situations where the public interest in favour of prosecution is low.

 

What are the maximum penalties for not handing in prohibited weapons (Fines, prison time?)

If Police comes across someone in possession of a prohibited firearm after 20 Dec 2019 (without the relevant endorsement), the individual is liable for prosecution for an offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and, if that person is the holder of a firearms licence, they may be subject to revocation consideration.

 

How many banned guns are still in circulation? If police do not know, what are some of the challenges that make getting an exact number so tricky?

It is not possible to be certain about the number of prohibited firearms remaining in our communities – there are approximately 248,000 licensed firearms owners in New Zealand but only a very small percentage were required to register their firearms, due to the endorsement they hold.

 

If police suspect someone has a banned gun at their house, can they or will they search the property and seize it?

Police would make enquiries as to the validity of the information provided and will follow up as appropriate in the circumstances.

 

What are people supposed to do if they learn their neighbours have banned guns?

If you are concerned about a neighbour or someone you know being in possession of a banned firearm, contact the Police by calling 105 or you may make an anonymous call to Crimestoppers.

 

How will police respond when told a person or property has banned weapons? For example, will an AOS response result?

All information is treated on a case by case basis. Police’s response will be proportionate to any identified risks on assessment of the situation and information at hand.

 

Arms Amendment update

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2019, and Arms (Prohibited Magazine) Order 2019

Amnesty extension

Why is there an extension of the Amnesty from prosecution?
The amnesty has been extended in order to legally protect:

  • Particular groups of people that have made certain types of applications by 20 December 2019 and are still awaiting processing and/or compensation.
  • Valuers and gunsmiths who need to possess prohibited items to carry out specific authorised processes.

Who does the Amnesty from prosecution cover?
People who have made the following types of applications before 20 December 2019 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, 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).

Is there also a longer time to apply for compensation?
No. All applications for compensation needed to be submitted by 20 December 2019.

However, the time for applying has been extended for:

  • People who had applied for a P endorsement before 20 December 2019 and are notified by Police after 20 November 2019 that their application is declined.

People who made arrangements to have their firearm modified before 20 December 2019, but then receive notification from the gunsmith that the firearm is not suitable for modification after 20 November 2019. These groups of people have 30 days from receiving notification to apply for compensation.

From 21 Dec 2019, what does this mean for:

  • Modification applicant: Having notified by 20 December 2019, the applicant must have made contact with an approved gunsmith to book their modification in as soon as possible. They should then keep their firearm stored safely until the gunsmith is ready to modify it. Once modified, the gunsmith will provide the firearm owner with a certificate of completion to verify the modification has been completed. Police may follow up with those that haven’t made arrangements to carry out the modification.
    • If the gunsmith decides the firearm is unable to be modified, the applicant must apply within 30 days for compensation - as per the buy-back list price list or under the unique prohibited item process.
       
  • P endorsement applicant: Having applied for a P endorsement by 20 Dec 2019, they should keep their firearm stored safely while their application is being assessed by Police. Police may contact you for additional information if required and may arrange a security check. You will be notified of the results and the licence sent to you if accepted.
    • If the application is declined, the applicant may apply within 30 days to get their firearm modified (as above). Please check the firearm meets the specifications for modification. (If a gunsmith decides on receipt of the firearm that it cannot be modified, apply for compensation within 30 days).
    • Alternatively, the applicant must apply within 30 days for compensation as per the buy-back price list and hand in their firearm.
       
  • Unique Prohibited Item (UPI) applicant: Having applied by 20 Dec 2019, the applicant should keep their unique firearm, part or magazine stored safely while their application is being assessed by the UPI panel. Once the item is assessed the firearm owner will be advised of the valuation and Police will contact them re compensation and hand in.
    • If the item doesn’t meet the criteria (for example, is not considered rare or unique; or it hasn’t been modified in a way that has extended its value by more than 30 percent of the schedule price), Police will advise that the application for a unique price is declined and the applicant will instead receive compensation as per the buy-back price list and hand in their firearm.
       
  • Approved Gunsmiths: Can continue to receive prohibited items and process modifications after 20 Dec 2019, until applications are completed.
     
  • 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. (If they only have personal stock they should have notified Police of this fact through the dealer portal by 20 December 2019 and arranged hand in).
     
  • Manufacturers of prohibited parts or magazines: manufacturers (including dealers) who manufactured prohibited magazines or prohibited parts before 12 April must submit an application form that includes a statement of the date of manufacture of the prohibited item, and documentary evidence to support the amount of compensation claimed, to Police by 20 Dec 2019. Compensation may be claimed for the purchase price of the raw materials used in the manufacture of the item and any costs incurred that are directly attributable to the manufacture of the item. Police will then contact each manufacturer to assess appropriate compensation for the purchase price of raw materials and, if applicable, costs directly attributable to the manufacture of the item.

Will gunsmiths still be available?
Yes, we expect to have around 30 gunsmiths available to carry out modifications of prohibited firearms until applications are completed.

How long will the unique prohibited items ‘panel’ run for?
The UPI panel is expected to meet demand of current applications before 20 December however it may be extended if required.

 

Parts

What is a prohibited part?

Prohibited parts are:

  • Anything (such as a butt, stock, silencer, or sight) that is:
    • designed to be an integral part of a prohibited firearm; or
    • intended to be an integral part of a prohibited firearm; and
  • Any component that can be applied to enable (or take significant steps toward enabling) a firearm fire with (or near to) semi-automatic or automatic action.
  • Examples include: bump-stock, gatling trigger.

 

Can I still use a suppressor?

You can still use a suppressor fitted to your standard firearm.

 

Can exempt persons have prohibited parts?

Individuals who apply for, and obtain, an endorsement to possess a prohibited firearm may lawfully possess parts for that firearm.

 

Can I import prohibited parts?

An import permit is required to import prohibited parts. Only the Commissioner of Police (or his delegate) may grant the application, and the Commissioner must be satisfied that there are special reasons for why the prohibited part/s should be allowed into New Zealand. The person applying for the permit to import must hold an endorsement (or be a dealer applying as an agent for an individual who is an endorsement holder).

 

Do I need an import permit for a firearm part?

Yes you do. See 'Permits to import or possess firearms'

 

Buy-back

When did the buy-back end?

The buy-back ended on 20 December 2019.

 

Did the buy-back cover parts, accessories, magazines and ammunition?

The buy-back included parts, accessories and magazines but not ammunition.

 

Could someone have sold a firearm to someone overseas instead of taking part in the buy-back?

No. If it was a prohibited firearm, it is unlikely to have been given a permit to export under the Customs and Excise Act.

 

Will you be doing checks on all firearms licence holders?

Police’s established processes for checking licence holders will continue. However, work on the proposed second bill will consider the need to audit and monitor compliance of all licence holders.

 

I handed-in my firearm on 20 December 2019 for buy-back, when will I be paid?

It is likely you will be paid the week commending 13 January 2020.

 

Last updated 21 Dec 2019