Graduated response

The graduated response means Police will have more options between issuing a licence holder with a warning and undertaking licence revocation. The new process will allow a licence holder to make improvements so Police do not have to initiate licence revocation as the first available response to non-compliance, or poor or unsafe behaviour. This applies to both those holding a firearms licence and those with endorsements on their firearms licence and dealers’ licences.

Improvement notices

 

If a member of Police reasonably believes that a person is failing, or is likely to fail, to comply with one or more provisions of the Arms Act or associated regulations; or any conditions on a licence, endorsement, or permit, they can issue the licence holder with an Improvement Notice (s60).

The person must comply with the notice within the time specified, or face possible suspension and revocation of their licence or endorsement. Police may provide an extension of time for the person to remedy or prevent the failing.

 

Health practitioner reports

 

Health practitioners must consider notifying Police as soon as practicable where they have attended or been consulted in respect of a person who the practitioner knows or has reason to believe is a firearms licence holder and that the health condition of the licence holder is such that, in the interests of the safety of individuals or the public, the licence holder:

  • should not be permitted to use or possess a firearm; or
  • should only be permitted to use or possess a firearm subject to any limitations that may be warranted by the health condition of the licence holder (s91).

If the practitioner notifies Police, they must provide their opinion that in the interests of individual or public safety the person should not be permitted to use or possess firearms (or only if subject to certain conditions), the grounds on which the opinion is based, and whether the practitioner believes the licence holder poses an immediate or imminent danger of self-harm or harm to others.

Following the notification Police may require the licence holder to undergo a further assessment by a by a health practitioner who is independent from the practitioner who made the initial assessment, and, in that case, the licence holder must either comply or surrender their licence under section 27(1). Police has the right to commence suspension or revocation actions under the Arms Act.

Health practitioners are not liable to criminal, civil, or disciplinary proceedings by disclosing personal information in the course of performing any of the notifications under the new Act, as long as they act in good faith. This protection is provided under section 92(5) of the Arms Act.

 

Temporary suspension of licence

 

Police may, by written notice to a firearms or dealer’s licence holder, temporarily suspend their licence if (section 60A):

  • The licence holder is not a fit and proper person to possess any firearm or airgun, including where:
    • The holder has refused to secure arms items or ammunition in the person’s possession; or
    • The holder has failed to comply with any of the conditions imposed on their licence; or
    • The holder has failed to comply with an improvement notice issued under s60; or
    • The member of Police is satisfied on the basis of a notice given under s91 by a health practitioner; or
    • The licence has been seized under s18 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 (warrantless searches associated with arms); or
  • If, in the case of a dealer’s licence, the person is not a fit and proper person to hold a dealer’s licence; or
  • Access to any firearm or airgun in the holder’s possession is reasonably likely to be obtained by a person whose application for a licence has been refused, suspended, revoked, or who is not a fit and proper person.

A notice of temporary suspension must state:

  • the ground on which the notice is given, the licence the notice applies to and the date on which the suspension begins (if the person also holds a dealer licence, their dealer licence will also be suspended while their firearms licence is suspended; and
  • that the suspension is to enable Police to consider revoking the licence on that ground; and
  • that the licence holder may make oral or written submissions by a day which, in the opinion of the Police, gives the holder reasonable time to prepare and make submissions; and
  • that the suspension lasts 90 days or until notice of the licence revocation decision is given to the holder, whichever is less; and
  • the effect of the notice is the holder is treated as not holding the licence until the licence revocation decision is given to the holder; and
  • the holder may be committing an offence if the holder carries on any activity that requires the holder to be licensed; and
  • the holder may be required immediately, or before a specified date, to surrender to Police the holder’s licence and the arms items and ammunition in the holder’s possession.

 

Effect of temporary suspension

 

While a firearms licence is temporarily suspended (section 60B and 60C):

  • any member of Police, at any time after, may require the licence holder to immediately surrender the licence, arms items and ammunition
  • the Arms Act applies as if the holder were not licensed to possess any arms item or ammunition under the suspended licence or any endorsement on it
  • where the licence suspended is a dealer’s licence, the Arms Act applies as if the holder were not authorised to carry on any dealer activity, and an employee of the holder may not carry on any dealer activity for the holder
  • if the holder fails to surrender the arms items concerned (as required by a notice under section 60A), a member of Police may seize and take possession of any arms item or ammunition in the possession or under the control of the holder
  • if a person’s firearms licence is suspended, and the person holds a dealer’s licence, the dealer’s licence is automatically suspended for the period the firearms licence suspension is in effect.

 

Revocation of suspended licence

 

A member of Police may revoke a suspended firearms licence if they have considered any submissions made by the licence holder and they are satisfied that the licence should be revoked on the grounds set out in the notice of suspension (s27C). If at any stage a licence holder becomes a disqualified person, their licence will be immediately revoked (s27B).

Similarly, a dealer licence that has been temporarily suspended maybe revoked after consideration of submissions if a commissioned officer of Police is satisfied that the licence should be revoked on the stated grounds (s9A).

 

Right of review of licensing decisions

 

There are changes to the right of appeal section.

The main change is if a decision is made to refuse a person a firearms licence, or to revoke a person’s firearms licence, that person may first apply to the Commissioner of Police for a review of the decision (s62). They can also appeal the decision to the District Court, provided they have first applied to the Commissioner for a review and received the Commissioner’s decision on that review (s62B(2)).

 

Disqualified persons and offences

 

Disqualified persons

A person is disqualified from holding a standard firearms licence (s22G) if, within the previous 10 years:

  • they have been convicted of, or been released from prison following conviction for, certain serious offences (see table below for list); or
  • they have had a protection order (other than a temporary order) made against them.

Only people who are not disqualified from holding a firearms licence can apply for one.

This disqualification provision is not applied retrospectively to existing licence holders (Schedule 1, Part 2, clause 10).

Disqualifying offences

A person becomes a disqualified person for 10 years from the date they were convicted or the date they are released from prison following conviction (whichever is later) if they have been convicted of any of the following offences.

Offences under the Arms Act 1983

Section

Title

16(4)

Offence to import firearms, etc. without permit (imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years who acts in contravention of subsection (1)(c) Prohibited item)

16A

Offence to import prohibited ammunition

44A

Offence to sell or supply prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine

50A

Unlawful possession of prohibited firearm

50D

Unlawfully carrying or possessing prohibited firearm in public place

51A

Presenting prohibited firearm at other person

53A

Use or attempted use of prohibited firearm to resist or prevent arrest or commit offence

54

Use or attempted use of firearm, etc, to resist or prevent arrest or commit offence

54A

Carrying prohibited firearm with criminal intent

55

Carrying firearm, etc, with criminal intent

55A

Offence to assemble prohibited firearm

55D

Offences relating to illegal manufacturing of arms items

55E

Offences relating to illegal trafficking of firearms, parts, or ammunition

55F

Offences relating to falsifying firearm markings

 

Serious Violent Offences as defined in Sentencing Act 2002 s86A (means an offence against any of the following provisions of the Crimes Act 1961)

Section

Title

128B

Sexual violation

129

Attempted sexual violation and assault with intent to commit sexual violation

129A(1)

Sexual connection with consent induced by threat

131(1)

Sexual connection with dependent family member under 18 years

131(2)

Attempted sexual connection with dependent family member under 18 years

132(1)

Sexual connection with child

132(2)

Attempted sexual connection with child

132(3)

Indecent act on child

134(1)

Sexual connection with young person

134(2)

Attempted sexual connection with young person

134(3)

Indecent act on young person

135

Indecent assault

138(1)

Exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment

138(2)

Attempted exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment

142A

Compelling indecent act with animal

144A

Sexual conduct with children and young people outside New Zealand

172

Murder

173

Attempted murder

174

Counselling or attempting to procure murder

175

Conspiracy to murder

177

Manslaughter

188(1)

Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

188(2)

Wounding with intent to injure

189(1)

Injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

191(1)

Aggravated wounding

191(2)

Aggravated injury

198(1)

Discharging firearm or doing dangerous act with intent to do grievous bodily harm

198(2)

Discharging firearm or doing dangerous act with intent to injure

198A(1)

Using firearm against law enforcement officer, etc

198A(2)

Using firearm with intent to resist arrest or detention

198B

Commission of crime with firearm

200(1)

Poisoning with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

201

Infecting with disease

208

Abduction for purposes of marriage or sexual connection

209

Kidnapping

232(1)

Aggravated burglary

234

Robbery

235

Aggravated robbery

236(1)

Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to rob or assault with intent to rob in specified circumstances

236(2)

Assault with intent to rob

 

Offences under the Crimes Act 1961

Section

Title

92

Piracy

98

Dealing in slaves

98A

Participation in organised criminal group

189A

Strangulation or suffocation

199

Acid throwing

202C

Assault with weapon

238

Punishment of blackmail

267(1)

Everyone commits arson and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years

269(1)

Intentional damage (Intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages any property if he or she knows or ought to know that danger to life is likely to result.)

269(3)

Intentional damage (Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who intentionally destroys or damages any property with reckless disregard for the safety of any other property.)

306

Threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm

 

Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

Section

Title

6

Dealing with controlled drugs

9

Cultivation of prohibited plants

10

Aiding offences against corresponding law of another country

11

Theft, etc, of controlled drugs

12

Use of premises or vehicle, etc (for an offence against this Act)

12A

Equipment, material, and substances used in production or cultivation of controlled drugs (supplies, produces, manufactures, possession

12AB

Offence to knowingly import or export precursor substances for unlawful use

12F

Drugs smuggling outside New Zealand, etc: prohibited equipment or material