Ammunition Possession and Sale

Effective as of 24 December 2020 there are new provisions relating to the sales, purchase and possession of ammunition.

If you currently hold a dealer licence these changes do not apply to you, although dealers will need ensure that they will be able to keep records of ammunition sales by 24 June 2021 when new section 12(1)(b) takes effect. Dealer employees who hold firearms licences will continue to be able to sell ammunition (s 22D (1)).

Sale and Supply of Ammunition

These changes only apply to ammunition sellers. An ammunition seller is a person who is responsible for the day-to-day management of a business that includes selling or supplying ammunition.

It does not include:

  • a licensed dealer
  • a member of a shooting club, if the member sells ammunition:
    • to a club member, or on club premises, with the approval of the management committee of the club or a majority vote of club members; and
    • the sales revenue is used for the benefit of the club.

Who is affected

Persons responsible for the day-to-day management of a business selling or supplying ammunition

If you have a firearms licence

 

If you are a current firearms licence holder and are responsible for the day-to-day management of a business that includes supplying or selling ammunition, please complete the below Notification of being an Ammunition Seller form (FRM22D-AS) before 31 January 2021. The purpose of this notification is to ensure that Police has visibility over business operators such as yourselves; and the opportunity to check your secure storage facilities and record keeping. Once the storage facilities have been deemed adequate, the notification will then be processed, and the special condition applied to your licence.

Please email your completed notification to permitfirearms@police.govt.nz to begin the process of having the special condition to sell ammunition added to your licence (s24C).

In the interim period, when you have completed the notification and it is being processed, you can continue to supply and sell ammunition so long as you ensure that you abide by the secure storage conditions (s24C), record keeping (s22E), and employer (s22D) requirements.

Information on the existing secure storage requirements is available for your reference.

A new requirement for an ammunition seller is that you must now keep a book at your place of business that records:

  • The name of any person who the ammunition is sold or supplied to, and
  • The quantity and type of ammunition sold or supplied to each person, and
  • The person’s firearms licence number. Or, if the person is a non-licence holder who is purchasing and possessing ammunition under immediate supervision of another person who holds a firearms licence, the firearms licence number of the licence holder who is supervising that person.

You must also permit, at all reasonable times, any member of the Police to inspect and make copies of any entries in that book of sales records, when you have received at least 7 days’ prior notice of Police intention to do so. How you choose to keep these book of sales records, be it in a hard copy form or electronically on a server or database, is your decision. However, you must ensure you keep them for at least 10 years from the date of the last entry.

If at any point in time you licence expires, is revoked or surrendered, or you cease selling or supplying ammunition, you must immediately surrender all records to Police.

Unlicensed Employees - If you employ staff to sell or supply ammunition, you must ensure that those who do not have a firearms licence perform their duties under the supervision of a firearms licence holder. It is an offence if, without reasonable excuse, you fail to comply with the above requirements and you are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (s22D).

Unlicensed Buyers - You or your employees are only permitted to sell ammunition to firearm licence holders. An exception to this is if you sell or supply ammunition to an individual for use under the immediate supervision of a firearms licence holder. This requirement extends to possession where the individual can only be in possession of the ammunition under the immediate supervision of that licence holder (s22D) – so the individual purchasing ammunition will need to bring the licence holder who is going to be providing immediate supervision in with them. It is an offence if you do sell ammunition to an unlicensed buyer (subject to the above exception) and you are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, if you are unable to prove you took reasonable steps to ascertain they were a licence holder (s22D (5)).

 

If you do not hold a firearms licence

 

If you do not have a current firearms licence and you are responsible for the day-to-day management of a business that includes supplying or selling ammunition you need to apply for a firearms licence (FRM23FLA) and please complete the Notification of being an Ammunition Seller (FRM22D-AS) form below.

If you have a firearms licence application that is already in process, please complete the Notification of being an Ammunition Seller form (FRM22D-AS) and note that you have a current firearms licence application in process.

Please email your completed notification to permitfirearms@police.govt.nz to begin the process of having the special conditions relating to being an ammunition seller added to your licence (s24C).

From 24 December 2020, if you don’t currently have a valid firearm licence, you cannot have any ammunition in your possession until you have received your licence. Police acknowledges that this may have an impact on your business and will endeavour to expedite your application where possible.

While your firearms licence application is being processed, and because you are unable to possess ammunition during this time, there are two options available to you:

  • You can give your ammunition to a current firearms licence holder, to store on your behalf, until your firearm licence and Notification of being an Ammunition Seller are approved. Note that these holders are required to abide by the secure storage requirements.
  • You can permanently surrender your ammunition to Police but note no compensation will be granted.

If you do not have a current firearms licence and you do not want to apply for one and you do not have the intention of supplying or selling ammunition past 24 December 2020, refer to either of the above options to dispose of any current ammunition you have in your possession.

 

Individuals wishing to sell ammunition

If you are a current firearms licence holder, who does not meet the definition of an ammunition seller (because you only occasionally sell or supply ammunition – for example, to a friend who is another member in your hunting party - and you don’t sell or supply ammunition in the way of business) you can continue to sell or supply ammunition to fellow firearms licence holders infrequently.

Being firearms licence holders both of you have obligations in this exchange to ensure the individual you are selling to or purchasing from is the holder of a firearms licence (including a licensed dealer) (s 22D).

It is an offence if you do supply or sell ammunition to a person who is not a firearms licence holder and you are liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 if you are unable to prove you took reasonable steps to ascertain they were a licence holder (s22D (5)). An exception to this is if you sell or supply ammunition to an individual for use under the immediate supervision of a firearms licence holder. This requirement extends to possession where the individual can only be in possession of the ammunition under the immediate supervision of that licence holder (s22D) – so the individual purchasing ammunition will need to have the licence holder who is going to be providing immediate supervision with them.

It is an offence if you sell or supply prohibited ammunition without reasonable excuse, and on conviction you are liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years (s 43AA).

If do not hold a current firearms licence you are unable to possess or sell ammunition.

 

Ammunition Possession

 

Ammunition is now treated differently in the Arms Act:

Possession of any ready-made ammunition (other than airgun projectiles) now requires (s22B) a person to be:

  • the holder of a firearms licence; or
  • under the immediate supervision of a person who is the holder of a firearms licence; or
  • the employee of an ammunition seller performing their duties at their place of work under the supervision of a person who is the holder of a firearms licence.

This means both the seller (or supplier) and the buyer of ammunition must now hold a firearms licence, otherwise both parties can be convicted and fined up to $10,000 (ss22B, 22D). There is an exception for an employee of an ammunition seller performing their duties under the supervision of a holder of a firearms licence.
It is an offence for a person to be in possession of prohibited ammunition, when not expressly authorised or permitted by or under the Arms Act. On conviction a person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years (s50CA).

 

Non-prohibited magazines and non-prohibited part

 

From 24 December 2020 a person will need a firearms licence to purchase or possess a non-prohibited magazine of a non-prohibited part unless they are under the immediate supervision of a person who is the holder of a licence (s22A). A definition on what is considered as now prohibited ammunition can be found here.