June 2020 changes

The changes to the Arms Act effective June 2021 all relate to dealers. The changes are described in the summary and sections below.

Changes overview

The June 2021 changes are all related to dealers:

  • Dealer Fit and Proper requirements
  • Dealer licence applications and activities requiring a licence
  • Licensing senior managers of body corporates
  • Dealer endorsement changes
  • Manufacturing
  • General dealer licence changes
  • Changes to dealer offences and penalties

Fit and proper to hold a dealer licence


A licensed dealer needs to be a fit and proper person to carry on the relevant dealer activity/ies (s6). In deciding whether a person is fit and proper to hold a dealer licence, the following will be taken into account (along with any other matters considered relevant):

  • the character and reputation of the applicant, and
  • whether the applicant
    • has the competencies and resources to carry on the dealer activity or activities for which the dealer’s licence is sought; and
    • has any convictions
    • has a sound knowledge of firearms
    • understands the legal obligations of a holder of a dealer’s licence; and
    • understands the legal obligations of a holder of a firearms licence, including an understanding of the endorsements that may be made on a firearms licence, and is able to provide advice on those obligations to members of the public.

In the case of an applicant who is a senior manager of a body corporate, and who, pursuant to section 5(2), is applying for a dealer’s licence to enable the body corporate to carry on a dealer activity, the following must be taken into account (along with any other matters considered relevant):

  • whether the body corporate has appropriate record-keeping systems and other systems to comply with the requirements of this Act and any regulations made under this Act; and
  • if the body corporate operates from two or more places of business, each of those places has a manager who has appropriate oversight and control of the proposed dealer activity or activities to be carried there.


Dealer’s licence applications


The amendments to the Arms Act provide clarification that an applicant must have a current standard (A-Category) firearms licence before they can be granted a dealer’s licence s5B(1)(a).

A dealer licence applicant must state which dealer activities they are going to undertake, and the class or classes of arms items for which the activities will be conducted.

When the dealer’s licence is issued, it will authorise particular dealer activities in relation to class/es of arms items (s 5A and 5B). The types of activities requiring a dealer’s licence (s5) have also been expanded. A dealer licence is required to carry on the following activities:

  • the business of selling, hiring, lending or otherwise supplying arms items;
  • manufacturing for sale, hire, lending or otherwise supplying arms items;
  • possessing arms items for the purposes of an auction,
  • the business of repairing or modifying arms items;
  • displaying, as the director or curator of a bona fide museum, arms items;

There are some activities for which a dealer’s licence is not required. The following are the exemptions from the requirement to be a licensed firearms dealer:

  • commercial hunting guide services by a firearms licence holder who during the provision of those services supplies no more than 6 firearms to 1 or more clients
  • the selling, hiring, lending, or supplying of firearms by a member of a shooting club, if the member -
    • sells, hires, lends, or supplies firearms 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 revenue from the sale, hire, lending, or supply of the firearms is used for the benefit of the club.

Dealers must also state the classes of arms items from the following that their proposed dealer activities would apply to (activities as defined above). An arms item is an item of any of the following classes (s 2):

  • Firearms
  • Prohibited firearms
  • Non prohibited magazines
  • Prohibited magazines
  • Parts
  • Prohibited parts
  • Airguns
  • Pistols
  • Restricted weapons
  • Pistol carbine conversion kits
  • Air pistol carbine conversion kits

In addition, in order to be licensed for dealer activities involving pistols, restricted weapons, pistol carbine conversion kits, and any prohibited arms items the dealer will still need to apply for, and be granted, the appropriate endorsement(s) and permits on their dealer licence (s5B(2)).

A body corporate must not carry on any of the dealer activities in relation to a class of arms items unless a senior manager of the body corporate has a dealer’s licence authorising the senior manager to carry on the activities in relation to the class of arms items on behalf of the body corporate. If the dealer intends to operate from 2 or more places of business, the dealer application must name of the manager of each place of business and the address of each place of business.


Dealer endorsements change


Endorsements issued to allow a dealer to conduct dealer activities with respect to pistols, restricted weapons, or prohibited items must be issued on the dealer licence, not the person’s personal firearms licence (s 29(2A) and 30A(2)).

The transfer of endorsements to the dealer’s licence required in the course of a dealer’s business will be completed during the annual reapplication and review process for existing dealers.




A dealer licence holder proposing to manufacture pistols, restricted weapons, pistol carbine conversion kits or air pistol carbine conversion kits now also needs to apply to the Commissioner for written approval before manufacturing and stating the numbers intended to be manufactured. The Commissioner must be satisfied that there are special reasons why the class of item proposed to be manufactured should be in New Zealand (s6B).


General dealer’s licence changes


The following changes to licence conditions and dealer activities apply from June 2021:

  • Arms items and ammunition received, sold, supplied, or manufactured need to be recorded in a physical or electronic book and retained for 10 years (section 12).
  • If a dealer breaches the conditions of their licence (for example, the conditions set out in s6A or s6B) the dealer may be issued with an improvement notice (s60), or their licence may be temporarily suspended (s60A to s60C).



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