Questions and answers

Amnesty and buy-back 2021 changes

 

When will the new amnesty and buy-back start?

The temporary amnesty is now in place and provides protection from prosecution for possession offences under section 50A and 50AA arising from continued possession where the newly prohibited items:

  • were lawfully possessed before the amendment; and
  • only if they are not used.

The buy-back will begin on 1 February 2021 and end on 1 May 2021. Applications for compensation are made when the applicant hands the firearm or item to Police.

Applications for endorsements, dealer compensation, manufactured stock, and unique specified items must be submitted by 2 April 2021. This is to enable the owner to still be eligible for compensation should the endorsement application be refused.

The amnesty period runs from 1 February 2021 to 1 August 2021. This means that you can hand in newly specified items for no compensation until 1 August 2021.

 

What is the new group of prohibited firearms and pistol carbine conversion kits (specified items)?

You can find details of the small group of additional newly prohibited firearms and new restrictions on pistol carbine conversion kits on the Police website.

Decision trees to help identify which are newly specified items are here (PDF 4.46MB).

 

What should I do with my firearms until I can hand them in?

You are not able to use these newly specified items. We ask that you please store them safely and securely until you can hand them over to Police.

 

How will newly specified firearms and parts be collected?

Firearms and parts will be handed in at Police stations by appointment with Regional Collection Teams. To ensure efficient service and payment we ask people to please contact Police on buyback2021@police.govt.nz to book an appointment at a Police station with our regional collection teams. This is to enable your specified item and any associated parts to have their condition assessed at the time and the price advised. This will ensure a fast and efficient compensation payment to you.

 

Can I hand my firearm or specified items into any station at any time?

We ask that you please contact Police on buyback2021@police.govt.nz to book a time to hand in your firearms and/or parts at a station.

Regional Collections Teams will be travelling to specific stations at pre-arranged times to undertake planned collections. This is to enable your specified item and any associated parts to have their condition assessed at the time. This will ensure a fast and efficient compensation payment to you.

If you cannot make a time when they are there, you can make an appointment with other staff, however your items will not be assessed when you drop them into the station meaning it will not be possible to advise you of the buyback price on the day. Your items will be held at the station until the Regional Collection Team can collect your items and make an assessment. Given the possible delays in this process we urge you to email buyback2021@police.govt.nz to book in a time to avoid any unnecessary delay in processing of your items.

 

Can I hand my firearm or specified items into any station at any time?

We ask that you please contact Police on buyback2021@police.govt.nz to book a time to hand in your firearms and/or parts at a station.

Regional Collections Teams will be travelling to specific stations at pre-arranged times to undertake planned collections. This is to enable your specified item and any associated parts to have their condition assessed at the time. This will ensure a fast and efficient compensation payment to you.

If you cannot make a time when they are there, you can make an appointment with other staff, however your items will not be assessed when you drop them into the station meaning it will not be possible to advise you of the buyback price on the day. Your items will be held at the station until the Regional Collection Team can collect your items and make an assessment. Given the possible delays in this process we urge you to email buyback2021@police.govt.nz to book in a time to avoid any unnecessary delay in processing of your items.

 

What if I can’t bring my items to a Police station?

If you have extenuating circumstances that mean you are unable to travel to a station to hand in your item/s, you may apply to have these picked up by Police. Police pickups are for exceptional circumstances only and will be assessed on a case by case basis and agreed by the Regional Collection Team. To request consideration please complete the below form and email it to buyback2021@police.govt.nz for consideration.

Exception based pickup application for compensation form
(Editable PDF 318KB)

 

What if I have a large number of items to hand in?

If you have more than 10 items to hand in, please complete the below form and email to buyback2021@police.govt.nz for consideration.

Exception based pickup application for compensation form
(Editable PDF 318KB)

 

If I hand in items before 1 February 2021 will I still be eligible for the buy-back later?

Yes you will. However, as noted above, because an earlier drop off would not involve the regional collection team, this may create a delay in the processing of your specified items and any associated parts. We encourage you to please make a time to hand in your item/s to enable a faster, streamlined process. You can contact buyback2021@police.govt.nz to make a time.

 

What do I do if I have a unique specified item?

If you have a unique item that meets the below criteria you can apply for compensation by using a unique specified item application form and emailing it to uniquefirearm@police.govt.nz. This process will begin on 1 February 2021 and all applications must be submitted by 2 April 2021, unless you can satisfy the Commissioner that exceptional circumstances means a later application date is justified (which will be assessed on a case by case basis).

There will be a $138 fee for this application and Police may require you to provide a valuation from an approved valuer.

To be eligible for this process your specified item must be either:

  • Not on the price list and:
    • Rare or has other distinguishing characteristics that significantly affect its value or
    • Otherwise unique and substantially different from any other item or part listed in a compensation schedule.
  • On the price list but modified to such an extent you consider the value is 30 percent above the list price.
  • Not listed in the price list and does not meet the criteria of the above options.

Once you have applied, Police will obtain advice on the valuation from a panel of industry experts. The application form for a unique specified item can be found below.

 

I am in possession of items that are not listed on the price list but I believe they are specified items and should be eligible for compensation?

If you believe you are in possession of a newly prohibited firearm/s or pistol carbine conversion kit/s but you cannot find your item/s on the price list, please apply using the above described process and forms for unique specified items. Select option four, and once completed send it to: uniquefirearm@police.govt.nz

 

What if I have a newly specified firearm that is a family heirloom, can I keep it?

If you have a newly specified firearm that is of special significance to you such as an heirloom or memento, you may be eligible to apply for an endorsement to possess it (but not use it) in one of those capacities. This endorsement application must be made by 2 April 2021. More information can be found here. Alternatively, you can contact the endorsement team at ProhibitedFirearmEndorsement@police.govt.nz.

 

Can I still hand in prohibited firearms and items that were made prohibited in April 2019?

You are still able to hand in any firearms or items that were prohibited in the 2019 Firearm law changes (Arms Amendment Bill 2). However, you will no longer receive compensation for those items.

 

I ordered a firearm to import before 24 June 2020 which will now be considered prohibited, what will happen?

Permits to import issued before commencement for firearms that became newly specified items after commencement are revoked to the extent that they apply to the new group of specified items if they haven’t arrived in New Zealand. Shipments that arrive subsequently will be seized by Customs at the border and become the property of the Crown but affected persons may be eligible to apply for compensation. Anybody in this situation should please contact buyback2021@police.govt.nz.

 

Medical


How will my medical practitioner know I have a firearms licence?

To complete the application for a firearms licence, an applicant will need to provide Police with the name and contact details of their health practitioner (Doctor or medical practice).

When a person’s application is approved Police will inform the health practitioner that the person has been granted a firearms licence. This change takes effect in six months.

This is so health practitioners can consider notifying Police if a licence holder’s health condition is such that in the interests of the safety of individuals or the public, the licence holder should not be permitted to possess firearms (or should only be able to possess firearms with limitations).

If Police receive such a report from a health practitioner, the person may be asked to undergo an independent medical assessment.

 

Do I need to tell Police if I have changed health practitioner?

Yes. When you move to a new medical practice or change doctor you must tell Police the name of the medical practice / practitioner and their contact details.

Police will contact the practitioner to advise them that you are a firearms licence holder.
 

Minister’s advisory group


When will we know who is on the new advisory group?

The new law enables this group to be established and that will take place over the next few months to enable this group to be consulted on further policy development. There will be up to nine people on the group including the Chairperson. When they are appointed, notice of that appointment will be published in the Gazette.

 

How will members be chosen for the advisory group?

The group will be made up of people from within and outside the firearms community, including people who are concerned about the mitigation of harm from firearms from a health perspective. The Minister of Police will appoint the Chairperson and the members.

 

What will the group do?

The group will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Police on matters that contribute to achieving the objectives of the Arms Act, in particular, the safe use and control of firearms. It can provide advice on any matter relating to firearms in New Zealand, including legislative proposal, policies for regulating New Zealand’s firearms regime, and the promotion of firearm safety.

It must produce an annual report of its proceedings and operations during the year.
 

New penalties and offences


Will there be a grace period with the new penalties?

Most of the new and updated offences and penalties come into effect and apply immediately.

Police have to apply the law at the relevant time the conduct occurred. When deciding whether to prosecute for any offence, Police have to apply the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines which require consideration of both whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, and also whether there is a public interest in prosecuting.

 

If I was charged with an offence recently and the penalty has been increased by the new laws, which penalties will I face?

If the conduct that you are charged with occurred before the law changed, the case will proceed on the basis of the law that applied at that time.
 

Firearms registry


When will the registry come into effect?

The Firearms Registry will be developed over the next three years. Once it is up and running, firearms owners will be required to enter information into the register over five years as they engage with the licensing system, such as when applying for a licence or buying or selling a firearm.

The registry is expected to be operational within three years of enactment of the Act and can go live earlier under Order in Council.

 

How will it work?

The operation of the registry will have some similarities with the transactions of the motor vehicle register operated by the NZ Transport Agency.

Information belonging to firearms licence holders will be shifted onto the register over five years as they engage with the licensing system, such as when renewing their licence or buying or selling a firearm. If an existing licence holder does none of these processes in the five-year period, they will be required to enter the information in the registry at the end of the five-year period.

Items that individuals or Police will place on the secure register will be the licence holder’s full name, date of birth, and address, the details of their licence number, and any endorsements. It will also include details of all firearms in each licence holder’s possession, including standard sporting and hunting firearms, prohibited firearms, pistols, restricted weapons, and prohibited magazines, and each item’s identifying markings.

The registry will be online with a paper-based notification option also available for people without easy access to computers or good connectivity. Private sales will still be permitted but details of the transactions must be recorded on the register.
 

Other


When will the new agency be established?

The establishment of any new agency and its functions will take considerable time to work through. Until such time, Police will remain responsible for administration of the Arms Act and implementing changes to it.

Police will now undertake further work on developing a model for moving accountability for the Arms Act regulatory functions from Police. These will be presented to the Minister of Police who will then report to Cabinet on options for an independent regulatory entity.