Licence & endorsement changes

As a holder of, or applicant for, a standard (A-Category) firearms licence the changes that will impact you immediately are described below.

Standard firearms licence changes

Licence duration

The duration of a standard (A-Category) firearms licence is now (section 25):

  • Five years when the licence is issued on or after 10 February 2020 to a person:
    • who has never previously held a licence; or
    • whose previous licence was revoked or surrendered; or
    • who allowed their previous licence to expire without applying for a new licence prior to expiry; or
  • Ten years in any other case.

See Visitor firearms licences for information on changes to licences issued to visitors.


Licence holder obligation to provide personal information

The existing obligation for a person in possession of certain items to, on demand, give their full name, address, and date of birth to a member of Police, is extended to persons in possession of magazines, parts, ammunition, and pistol carbine conversion kits. (s66B – moved from s 40)


Surrender and revocation

Revocation of firearms licence for failure to secure arms items

The grounds for revocation now expressly include in s27(2)(b) where the holder of the licence has failed or refused to secure any arms item or ammunition in the person’s possession, in accordance with regulations made under the Act.

Effect of revocation or surrender of a licence

A revoked licence must be immediately surrendered to a member of Police (s28(1)):

  • If a person’s firearm licence is revoked or surrendered, and they also hold a dealer’s licence, the dealer’s licence is automatically revoked and must be surrendered too (s 28(6)).


Endorsement changes

If you are a holder of one or more endorsements on your licence, the changes that will impact you are summarised below.

See information on how to apply for an endorsement or learn more about the different types of endorsements.

New exempt person category and new prohibited firearm/magazine endorsement

The Act provides a new exempt person category for persons involved in agricultural, horticultural, or silvicultural businesses (s4A(1)(j)) to possess prohibited arms items.

This allows such persons to obtain an endorsement on their firearms licence that permits them to possess a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine for use in controlling pests on their land.

To obtain the endorsement the applicant must show that they have a genuine need to use a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine to control the pests to protect the commercial viability of their business, and also that they cannot effectively control the pests using a non-prohibited firearm or non-prohibited magazine.

Endorsements for existing manufacture and supply of prohibited items

If you have an exemption allowing you to continue manufacturing prohibited arms items, this has been made permanent (s4A(1A), (1B) and (1C)).

Duration of prohibited item endorsements

An endorsement for a prohibited firearm or magazine under section 30B in one of the pest control-related capacities (as per section 4A(1)(f), (g), (h), (i) or (j)) now lasts for two years and six months (or earlier if the licence is surrendered, revoked or expires earlier) (s 33C(2)).

For employees of licensed dealers with pistol, restricted weapon or prohibited firearms endorsements enabling the employee to handle those items in their capacity as an employee of the licensed dealer. The endorsement lasts for one year unless one of the following occurs first:

  • the employee’s firearms licence expires, is surrendered, or revoked
  • the licensed dealer’s licence expires, is surrendered or revoked
  • the relevant endorsement on the licensed dealer’s licence is revoked
  • the employee ceases to be employed by the licensed dealer (s 33B(1)).

Other endorsements last for the duration of the relevant licence.

Kea guns

The provision relating to Kea guns owned before 1984 has been repealed. Kea guns are pistols that are not suitable for use on a target pistol shooting range and will now need to be held on one of the other endorsement types under section 29(2) (for example, as a bona fide collector, or as an heirloom/memento) in conjunction with a permit to possess. If you own a kea gun that is not possessed under an endorsement you will need to apply for an endorsement and permit to possess it or surrender it within six months from Royal Assent.


Need help?

Find your local Firearms Office