Consultation on proposed regulations to support the new Firearms Registry

Overview

New Zealand Police is inviting public submissions on the proposed regulations to support the new legislation for the Firearms Registry.

The new Firearms Registry is being implemented to help maintain the balance of keeping our communities safe while still enabling the safe use of firearms in our communities for legitimate purposes.

 

Director Partnerships, Arms Safety and Control, Superintendent Mike McIlraith provides a summary of the proposed regulations to support the Firearms Registry and how to engage with the consultation.


Māori Responsiveness Manager, Arms Safety and Control, Inspector Whiti Timutimu provides a summary of the proposed regulations to support the Firearms Registry in te reo Māori.

What are we consulting on?

We are consulting on proposals for regulations to support the changes coming into force for the Firearms Registry.

We want to ensure the regulations are fit for purpose, and to give the public and stakeholders, in particular firearms licence holders and dealers, the opportunity to understand and shape the proposed regulations.

Consultation opens on 31 August and closes on 12 October 2022.

The scope of the consultation includes:

  • the specified arms items and the details of those items to be recorded in the Firearms Registry.
  • the obligations of licence holders and those in possession of specified arms items to provide information to Police for inclusion in the Firearms Registry.
  • associated provisions that support these changes, including a final date by which licence holders must have registered all their specified arms items.

Out of scope

The consultation does not cover establishment of the Registry, access to the Registry by other Agencies, or offences related to the Registry, all of which are already set out in the Act.

What are the proposals?

The discussion document (PDF, 1.14MB) details each proposal.

Supplementary guide to required information on firearms (PDF, 221KB).

How to provide feedback

  • We want to hear from anyone with an interest in the Firearms Registry and/or in improved firearms safety outcomes. This includes firearms licence holders, dealers, and organisations from the firearms-owning community, Iwi/Māori, and the public.
  • You can provide feedback on a single proposal, a few proposals or all.
  • Please include your name, contact details, (organisation, or professional capacity, if applicable).

There are three ways to send in your submission:

What happens to my submission?

  • Once consultation has closed all submissions will be analysed and used to inform decisions on regulations to implement the Firearms Registry.
  • All submissions and feedback will be collated and assessed by Police, with the results reported to Cabinet.
  • We intend to have the regulations available before the Firearms Registry is established on 24 June 2023.The regulations will be published and available on the Police and government legislation websites.

General FAQs

  • The inclusion of licence holders’ personal and licence details in the Firearms Registry is a necessary first step before the Registry can begin recording details of the arms items you hold. These need to be recorded against the licence holder along with endorsements held.
  • Once Police have these details confirmed in the Registry, you will not need to supply these again, unless there are changes to their details.
  • Information on all places where a licence holder stores their firearms and ammunition is needed for Police to carry out inspections on storage locations to assess a licence holder’s capacity to safely store arms.
  • To be effective, the Firearms Registry must have up-to-date information. Information on licence holders’ current contact details is needed to ensure that any correspondence is sent to the correct address.
  • Having your personal details will mean if your firearm is ever lost or stolen, then subsequently recovered by Police, there is a greater likelihood it will be able to be returned to you.

Firearms licence holders have a period of five years from 24 June 2023 to 24 June 2028 to provide information to Police on the specified arms items they possess. It is proposed that there are certain occurrences which will require licence holders to update the Firearms Registry within 14 days, including whenever they:

  • are involved in any sale, hire, import, purchase, receipt, or manufacture of an arms item,
  • are subject to any compliance or enforcement action under the Arms Act.

If none of these actions occur, people can still log on and enter their information at any time during the five years from 24 June 2023 to 24 June 2028. Self-registration enables firearms users to plan for and undertake the registration process in their own time.

After these five years, there will be a short ‘grace’ period (to be prescribed in the regulations) during which licence holders who haven’t already provided Police with information on the regulated arms items they possess must provide that information.

This will build up a comprehensive Firearms Registry over time and enable licence holders to be assured that there is accurate information about themselves and their arms items in the Firearms Registry.

 

  • We are seeking feedback on proposals for regulations relating to the registry that will amend the Arms Regulations 1992.
  • We are consulting on proposals for regulations to support the changes coming into force for the Firearms Registry.
  • We want to ensure the regulations are fit for purpose, and to give the public and stakeholders, in particular firearms licence holders and dealers, the opportunity to understand and shape the proposed regulations.
  • Consultation opens on 31 August and closes on 12 October 2022.

The scope of the consultation includes:

  • The specified arms items and the details of those items to be recorded in the Firearms Registry.
  • The obligations of licence holders and those in possession of specified arms items to provide information to Police for inclusion in the Firearms Registry.
  • Associated provisions that support these changes, including a final date by which licence holders must have registered all their specified arms items.

 

  • We are not seeking feedback on the establishment of the Firearms Registry, access to the Firearms Registry by agencies, or offences related to the Firearms Registry, all of which are already set out in the Act.

New regulations are required to:

  • Clarify the requirements for firearms licence holders and dealers around what information is needed for the Firearms Registry.
  • Specify processes covering the manner and form for providing information to Police for inclusion in the Firearms Registry.
  • Clarify the transitional provisions needed to bring the Firearms Registry up to date including the date by which all licence holders must have provided information on all the arms items that they possess.
  • Set out administrative rules and standards of the Firearms Registry.

 

  • The establishment of the Firearms Registry will, over time, give Police a picture of all legally held firearms and transactions in New Zealand.
  • The Firearms Registry will link firearms to licence holders, which will ensure centralised oversight of the number and location of firearms and other arms items across New Zealand.
  • A Firearms Registry will help licence holders ensure they buy from, and sell firearms to, licence holders.
  • A Firearms Registry will enable Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa (Police) to better carry out its regulatory and enforcement role, in the interests of public safety.
  • The Act will enable some direct access by specified agencies to the Registry to improve decision-making.
  • Having a Registry may mean if your firearm is ever lost or stolen, then subsequently recovered by Police, there is a greater likelihood it will be able to be returned to you if the serial number is still intact and appropriate.

 

  • As part of the firearms regime modernisation process, significant developments are being made to ensure security and privacy of personal data and information, and this work has already begun with new Police online licence application forms.
  • A comprehensive set of controls have been developed to address the range of security risks, and ongoing checks and responsibilities are in place to ensure those controls are in place and are effective. They cover the service providers as well as the various Police groups. Those checks include third-party provider audits, configuration reviews and technical testing.
  • Initially, and every three years, the system’s design, implementation and service management complete the Police Certification and Accreditation process, which is directed from Government through the NZ Information Security Manual and the Protective Security Requirements. Accreditation – or formal approval to operate – is provided by the Police Director of Assurance on successfully passing the certification process.
  • While the incoming Firearms Registry will be designed to these standards, to ensure enhanced risk, privacy and security standards are fulfilled, Police will also undertake further security risk, privacy impact and policy risk assessments. Additional security and penetration testing will also ensure the system is robust.
  • This high-level security design will make it significantly harder for anyone to fraudulently access the Firearms Registry or for breaches to occur.
  • We have undertaken significant training of all of our staff. We are focused on training to make sure our staff are equipped and enabled to do the job required of them.
  • New Zealand operates numerous public registries that are well governed and operated. Modern registries have security and privacy settings designed to combat privacy breaches and cyber-attacks.
  • As with all new Police computer systems, the Firearms Registry will follow a stringent certification and accreditation process to ensure that privacy protections and security of personal data and information meet or exceed Government security control standards.
  • Police understands that concerns have been expressed about the privacy, security and safety risks associated with multiple agencies accessing the Firearms Registry. Police is acutely aware of concerns about unauthorised access to its computer systems and how this could undermine the confidence of firearms licence holders entering information into the Firearms Registry. Police holds considerable quantities of sensitive information, and its information systems have features designed into them to protect privacy. The Firearms Registry itself will also be digitally auditable.
  • While the incoming Firearms Registry will be designed to these standards, to ensure enhanced risk, privacy and security standards are fulfilled, Police will also undertake further security risk, privacy impact and policy risk assessments. Additional security and penetration testing will also ensure the system is robust.

 

Licence holder FAQs

  • Populating and updating the Firearms Registry should not be onerous. You will already have this information readily available, either to meet your own licensing requirements, or more generally for good records management (including recording assets and sales), to support insurance matters and claims, or as part of business policy and processes for dealers.
  • Individuals will still have the paper-based option for providing information to police for inclusion in the Firearms Registry.

 

  • All firearms and other specified items need import permits. Police receives notifications from licence holders when they receive these imported items. However, if standard (non-prohibited) firearms are on-sold or otherwise transferred after import, there is currently no way of knowing who has transferred them and to whom, or how securely they are held.
  • However, the Firearms Registry will store information on all regulated arms items held, obtained, and transferred by all licence holders, and other information to be specified in regulations, which will prevent people not complying with the regulations.

 

  • Access to the Firearms Registry and the use and disclosure of information from it will be audited to monitor the effectiveness of the privacy safeguards. Only a limited number of staff from Customs, Department of Conservation, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will have access, and all will be security vetted.

 

  • Police will work with licence holders to help them engage with the Firearms Registry. We have confidence that full population of the Firearms Registry is achievable, as fit and proper licence holders will do the right thing. We will engage with individuals through education and encouragement. There will be community champions to assist anyone needing help.
  • If individuals still don’t comply with their regulatory requirements, Police will consider which enforcement tool is appropriate based on the individual circumstances.

 

  • As part of a community of fit and proper licence holders Police expects all existing licence holders will comply with their obligations under the Firearms Registry.
  • In the unlikely event that there is non-compliance, failing to provide required Firearms Registry information to the Police without reasonable justification will be an offence punishable by a fine up to $10,000. It will also be an offence to intentionally fail to provide information or to knowingly provide false or misleading information, punishable by a fine up to $20,000 or up to 2 years in prison.

 

  • There is no fee for the updating or confirming of personal, licence or holdings information in the Firearms Registry.