Amendments to the Arms Act 1983 which came into effect 24 December 2020, introduce new requirements and obligations for Police, firearm licence holders, and health practitioners. These requirements and obligations are about safety. The safety of the firearms licence holder and those around them. The objective of this collective, early intervention approach is to help enable Police to prevent any potential harm caused by the possession and use of firearms in the community.
The changes require:
- Firearms licence applicants to provide details of their health practitioner to Police,
- Police to notify the health practitioner when a licence has been issued or a licence holder changes their health practitioner, and
- Health practitioners to consider notifying Police if they have reason to believe their patient is a firearms licence holder and their health condition will impact on the safety of the patient or the public, if they have access to, or use of, firearms (section 92).
What do I need to do as an applicant / licence holder?
As of 24 December 2020, and as part of the new firearm licence application process, you are now required to provide your health practitioner(s) details as part of your firearms licence application.
This is to ensure that if you are unwell in the future, your health practitioner and Police are able to intervene early to ensure you have the support you need to keep you and others safe. So in future, once your firearms licence has been granted, a notification will then be sent to your health practitioner. This is for them to detail in their records and take into future consideration should you exhibit a health condition (section 92) that they feel puts you, or the community at risk
If you are an existing licence holder, you will need to provide your health practitioner(s) details:
when you renew your licence, at which point you will complete the updated application form where this is now a required field (section 23(2A)); or
when your health practitioner changes, you must notify Police and provide updated details of the name and contact details of that health practitioner (section 24B(1)(f)). The notification of a change of health practitioner can be made using the online form or by downloading the Update Health Practitioner Details Form (editable PDF 75KB) and emailing it to firearms.NST@police.govt.nz or delivering it to your nearest police station or arms office.
It is important to note that should your health practitioner notify Police of their concern about your possession of or access to firearms, you will not necessarily have your firearms licence revoked by Police. Each individual case will be considered in its entirety and dealt with in accordance with the law and in the interests of your safety as well as the communities. You can read more about your rights in relation to this on our Graduated Response page.
What is my obligation as a health practitioner?
There is a new obligation for health practitioners. To be aware of this obligation, please read the Information Sheet for Health Practitioners (PDF 1.5MB).
Note: The Information Sheet was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and agencies within the health sector, and is currently under review.
If you have any queries in relation to the above, you can contact FirearmsCompliance@police.govt.nz .