June 2021 changes

The following Arms Act changes that come into effect on 24 June 2021 relate to dealers only.

Overview of changes

  • Dealer’s licence:
    • Expansion of the type of activities that require a dealer licence
    • Limited exemptions to when a dealer licence is required
    • General dealer licence changes
  • Dealer fit and proper requirements
  • Licensing for senior managers of body corporates
  • Places of business
  • Manufacturing
  • Changes to dealer offences and penalties.

Dealer’s licence

The amendments to the Arms Act clarify that applicants must have a current New Zealand firearms licence before they can be granted a dealer’s licence s5B(1)(a). In addition, the types of activities requiring a dealer’s licence (s5) have also been expanded.

A dealer licence applicant must state which dealer activities they wish to undertake and the class or classes of arms items for the activities they wish to conduct.

Applicants must state the place of business where their dealer activities will be carried on. If they intend to operate from two or more places of business, the dealer’s application must list the location addresses and name of the manager holding a dealer licence of each place of business.

The licence will authorise dealer activities in relation to classes of arms items (s5A and 5B). However, an endorsement will still be required for dealer activities involving pistols, prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, and restricted weapons.

Note: A dealer’s licence cannot be transferred to another person.

Activities which require a dealer’s licence

A dealer licence is required to continue any of the following activities in relation to classes of arms items:

Activities

  • the business of selling, hiring, lending or otherwise supplying arms items
  • possessing arms items for the purposes of an auction
  • the business of repairing or modifying arms items
  • displaying arms items as the director or curator of a bona fide museum
  • the business of manufacturing for sale, hire, lending, or supplying a class of arms items
  • manufacturing by certain persons specified in s 4A(1A)-(1C) who were already involved in the business of manufacturing prohibited parts or testing them for the purposes of permitted supply (as defined in section 4A(3)) before 12 April 2019 (other manufacture of prohibited items is prohibited – s 22G).

Classes of arms items:

  • Non-prohibited Firearms
  • Prohibited firearms
  • Non-prohibited Magazines
  • Prohibited magazines
  • Non-prohibited parts
  • Prohibited parts
  • Airguns
  • Pistols
  • Restricted weapons
  • Pistol carbine conversion kits.

Who does this change impact and how?

Current dealer licence holders


All dealer licences currently in force on 23 June 2021 are valid until the licence expires. If the dealer wishes to continue in business after their current licence expires, they will need to complete the new application form (Editable PDF 656 KB) before their licence expires.

 

Dealer employees

 

Dealer employees can continue to possess their dealer’s firearms1 and prohibited magazines in their capacity as an employee subject to them:

  • holding a valid firearms licence and F endorsement (if handling endorsed firearms) on 23 June 2021; and
  • remaining employed by that dealer; and
  • until their employer’s dealer’s licence expires or is renewed.

1 firearms refers to pistols, restricted weapons, prohibited firearms.

 

Those undertaking an activity that is now a dealer activity


People who are not licensed dealers, but who want to carry out any of the range of dealer activities from 24 June 2021, will need to promptly apply for and obtain a dealer’s licence in order to lawfully conduct that activity.

Police are conscious that, immediately prior to 24 June 2021, some people will have been lawfully carrying out activities that did not previously require a dealer licence. For example, displaying arms items as the director or curator of a museum, or repairing arms items. Police are providing 60 days (by 23 August) for these people to submit an application. During this time, they need to be otherwise compliant with the law. Public interest consideration will point strongly against any compliance action being taken for carrying out dealer activities without a dealer licence until a decision is made on their application.

 

Activities that do not require a dealer licence

Limited exemptions that do not require a dealer’s licence include:

  • commercial hunting guide services by a firearms licence holder who, during the provision of those services, supplies no more than six firearms to one or more clients.
  • 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 club management committee 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.

General dealer’s licence changes


The following licence conditions and dealer activities changes include:

  • Record-Keeping: Details prescribed by regulations of arms items (including parts) and ammunition received, sold, hired, lent or otherwise supplied, or manufactured need to be recorded in a physical or electronic dealer’s book. The book in either hardcopy or electronic format must be kept at the dealer licence holder’s place of business and retained for 10 years (section 12) (previously 5 years).
  • Dealer Breaches: 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) until the breach is rectified.

Fit and proper to hold a dealer licence

All persons who carry out dealer activities (s6) must be considered fit and proper to hold a dealer’s licence. The following fit and proper attributes, and other relevant matters, are taken into account when assessing each application:

  • the character and reputation of the applicant, and
  • whether the applicant:
    • has the competencies and resources to continue the dealer activity or activities for which the dealer’s licence is sought;
    • 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 endorsements that may be made on a firearms licence, and can provide advice on those obligations to members of the public.

For an applicant that is a senior manager of a body corporate (e.g. a company) and, in accordance with section 5(2), is applying for a dealer’s licence to enable the body corporate to continue dealer activity; the following is considered (along with other relevant matters):

  • whether the body corporate has appropriate record-keeping systems to comply with the requirements of the Arms Act and Arms Regulations; 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.

Body corporate senior managers

A body corporate (e.g. a company) must not continue any 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 on behalf of the body corporate to do so. If the dealer intends to operate from two or more places of business, there needs to be a manager holding a dealer’s licence at each place of business.

Places of business

Legislation changes regarding places of business now allows for:

  • A dealer’s licence holder can operate from more than one place of business on the condition that there is a manager holding a dealer’s licence at each place of business.
  • Firearms, prohibited magazines, and restricted weapons in the possession of a dealer can be handled at another site, in addition to the place of business specified in the dealer’s licence if:
    • the dealer hires out those items for use by a broadcaster, bona fide theatre company or society or cinematic or television film production company or video recording production company; and
    • the handling and secure storage of the items at that site are supervised by a theatrical armourer who has a firearms licence endorsed under section 30(1)(c) or 30B(3), and the endorsement specifies that the items may be handled at sites other than the dealer’s place of business; and
    • the armourer holds written consent from Police for the theatrical production at that location.
  • A dealer may on an occasional basis, continue activities from two or more places of business specified in their dealer’s licence, if their licence includes a condition which permits them to do so.

Manufacturing

A dealer licence holder proposing to manufacture pistols, restricted weapons, pistol carbine conversion kits or air pistol carbine conversion kits will also need to apply to the Commissioner for written approval stating the numbers of each class of arms item intended to be manufactured before manufacturing can commence.

In the case of pistols, restricted weapons and pistol carbine conversion kits the Commissioner must be satisfied that there are special reasons why these items to be manufactured should be in New Zealand (s6B).

The manufacture of air pistol carbine conversion kits can only be approved if the kits are for the personal use of a member of an airsoft or paintball club that is affiliated with a national organisation.

24 June 2020 changes reminder

Two changes implemented on 24 June 2020 relate to dealer endorsements, and theatrical on-site supervision includes:

  • Endorsements issued to allow a dealer to conduct dealer activities with respect to pistols, restricted weapons, or prohibited items are now issued on the dealer licence, not the person’s personal firearms licence (s 29(2A) and 30A(2)).
  • If the holder of a dealer’s licence hires out firearms for use by a bona fide theatre company, society, cinematic or television film production company or video recording production company, they must ensure that the use of the firearms by members of the company is only done so under the supervision of an on-site theatrical armourer