Changes to firearms law - prohibited firearms

Last updated 20 June 2019

New firearms laws are now in effect amending the Arms Act by:

  • Banning most semi-automatic firearms and some pump action shotguns; and also certain large capacity magazines. There are limited exemptions.
  • Placing controls around who may possess parts of prohibited firearms.

There will no longer be a category of firearm known as a military style semi-automatic firearm (or MSSA) and the old "E" endorsement will be obsolete.

The newly banned items will be called prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, and prohibited parts. New offences involving prohibited items carry tougher penalties.

An amnesty is in place until 20 December 2019. Those in possession of prohibited items have until this date to notify Police and hand-in their firearm/s at a collection event. Collection events will be held nationwide and a list will be available soon. Other options for firearm hand in are detailed below.

A buy-back process for newly prohibited firearms will be in place from 20 June until 20 December 2019. To take part in the buy-back process you are required to have a valid firearms licence. If you are handing in parts and accessories included in the prohibited list, you do not require a firearms licence to receive compensation. More information is below.

A video by Senior Sergeant Patrick Hannon shows examples of firearms people can still use, as well as firearms that are prohibited.

More videos related to Firearms law changes are available here.

Information on prohibited firearms

Prohibited firearms parts and magazines

Prohibited firearms are:

  • All semi-automatic firearms (including semi-automatic shotguns), but:
    • excluding rimfire rifles .22 calibre or less as long as they have a magazine (whether detachable or not) that holds 10 rounds or less; and
    • excluding semi-automatic shotguns that have a non-detachable, tubular magazine that holds 5 rounds or less.
  • Pump action shotguns that:
    • Are capable of being used with a detachable magazine; or
    • Have a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds.

Only a person who meets one of the exemption categories and who has applied for and obtained a new endorsement and permit to possess may lawfully possess a prohibited firearm.

Prohibited magazines are:

  • Shotgun magazines (whether detachable or not) capable of holding more than 5 rounds.
  • Magazines for other firearms (excluding pistols) that are:
    • Detachable magazines bigger than 10 rounds that are capable of holding 0.22 calibre or lower rimfire cartridges
    • Detachable magazines bigger than 10 rounds that are capable of being used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm
    • Other magazines, detachable or not, that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Only a person who meets one of the exemption categories and who has applied for and obtained a new endorsement and permit to possess may lawfully possess a prohibited magazine.

Prohibited parts are:

  • Any part designed or intended to be an integral part of a prohibited firearm.
    • Examples include: butt, stock, silencer, sight
  • Any component that can be applied to enable a firearm fire with (or near to) semi-automatic or automatic action.
    • Examples include: gas block, gas tube, sub-calibre conversion kit.

Only a person who has an endorsement permitting them to possess a prohibited firearm may lawfully possess a prohibited part.

List of legal and prohibited firearms

Firearm type

Action

Prohibited firearm

.22 rimfire or smaller

Bolt

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

.22 rimfire or smaller

Lever

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

.22 rimfire or smaller

Semi-auto

No - if it has magazine holding 10 rounds or less.

Yes - if it has a magazine holding more than 10 rounds. 

Shotgun

Pump

Yes - if it is capable of being used with a detachable magazine; or if it has a non-detachable tubular magazine capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

No - if it is not capable of being used with a detachable magazine and it has a non-detachable tubular magazine that is not capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

Shotgun

Semi-auto

Yes - unless below applies

No - if it has a non-detachable tubular magazine that is capable of holding no more than 5 cartridges.

Shotgun

Under & over

No

Shotgun

Side-by-side

No

Centre fire

Bolt

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Pump

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Lever

No - but note that a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds is prohibited.

Centre fire

Semi-auto

Yes

What should I do if I have a prohibited firearm?

If you have a prohibited firearm, part, or magazine you need to please complete the notification form below and hand-in your firearm/s at a collection event.

Police prefer that owners do not hand in firearms at Police stations and instead attend a local collection event.  

Collection events will be held nationwide throughout 2019.  However, please complete the firearm notification form via the button below before attending an event as this will speed up the process.

Completing the online form

If you have already notified us online prior to 5.20pm on 24 April 2019, and wish to update some of the details (e.g. firearm make and model, address, phone numbers), please phone our call centre on 0800 311 311 between 7am and 10pm.

If this is your first time notifying New Zealand Police of your intention to hand in firearms please use the online form via the button below.

Important: Use Google Chrome or the latest version of Safari.

You will need to sign up to create an account. A one-time email verification is necessary to create an account*.

Notify Police of your firearm/s

Please note:

  • You will receive a ‘Firearms Notification Activation’ confirmation email with a code to verify your account. The email will come from a secure “Microsoft – On behalf of New Zealand Police” account.
  • You will then be able to create a password to use with your verified email account to sign in.

You need the following on hand to help complete the online notification:

  • The details of the firearm(s) or items (including serial numbers where known)
  • The Firearms Licence Number of the owner of the firearm (where known)
  • Bank account details (in case you are eligible for the buy-back compensation scheme)
  • Business details (if applicable)

*If you do not have a valid email address or need help completing the online notification form please phone our call centre on 0800 311 311 between 7am and 10pm.

It is important existing pest controllers note themselves as pest controllers when completing the form if they intend to apply for an exemption.

Privacy statement

The information you provide on the Firearm Notification Form is collected for the purpose of administration of the Arms Act 1983. NZ Police will hold, store, use or disclose the personal information to enable it to carry out its lawful functions, including prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences. Please refer to the Privacy section of our website for more information.

FAQs

Firearms changes FAQs

Exemptions

The following categories of exempt persons are able to apply for an endorsement and permit to possess prohibited items. You can find application forms on the "Apply for an endorsement and permit to possess prohibited items" page.

Exemption categories

  • A licensed dealer, or an employee or agent of a licensed dealer.
  • A bona fide collector of firearms.
  • A person to whom a prohibited item has special significance as an heirloom or memento.
  • A director or curator of a bona fide museum.
  • An approved employee or member of a broadcaster (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1989) or a bona fide theatre company, society, cinematic, television film production company, or video recording production company.
  • A person who is employed or engaged by the Department of Conservation and involved in operations for the purpose of controlling wild animals or animal pests. (In accordance with the Wildlife Act 1953, the Wild Animal Control 1977, the Conservation Act 1987, or the Biosecurity Act 1993)
  • A person who is the holder of a concession granted by the Minister of Conservation to undertake wild animal recovery operations (In accordance with the Wildlife Act 1953, the Wild Animal Control 1977, the Conservation Act 1987, or the Biosecurity Act 1993)
  • A person who is employed or engaged by a management agency as defined in section 100 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 and involved in operations for the purpose of controlling wild animals or animal pests in accordance with that Act.
  • A person whose sole business, or a substantial part of whose business, is providing services to control prescribed wild animals or animal pests, or a person employed or engaged by that person for that purpose. Prescribed animals are wild deer, chamois, tahr, wild pigs, wild goats, wallaby, feral rabbit, feral hare, and Canadian Geese.

Amnesty

The amnesty on possession of prohibited firearms, parts, and magazines will run until 20 December 2019. Police encourage any person in possession of a prohibited firearm to safely secure it and notify Police by completing the online form or calling 0800 311 311.

The amnesty period includes the ability for firearms holders to anonymously hand in any firearm/s no questions asked. These firearms will be destroyed and are not eligible for buy-back.

Amnesty allows time for you to handover prohibited firearms even if you no longer hold a valid firearms licence. You may also hand in a non-prohibited firearm/s if you no longer wish to have it in your possession.

During the amnesty period it is not an offence to possess firearms that are newly prohibited, but you cannot use them.

Buy-back

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Act will come into effect 20 June 2019. The new regulations allow for the buy-back of newly prohibited firearms and parts from owners within a six month amnesty period (by 20 December 2019).

To receive compensation for prohibited firearms you are required to have a valid firearms licence. If you are handing in parts and accessories included in the prohibited list, you do not require a firearms licence to receive compensation.

More information: Legal framework for gun buy-back scheme announced

Collection events

Collection events will be held around New Zealand during the amnesty and is the preferred way for people to hand in their newly prohibited firearms and parts. The first firearms collection event will be held in Christchurch over the weekend of 13 July 2019. A list of the initial events to be held in the coming months will be available here soon.

Before going to a collection event, people must go to the Police’s website and complete the online notification form. This will speed things up at collection events. Safety is very important – before coming to a collection event, remember to clear firearms of all ammunition and place the firearms and parts in a safe carry bag, such as a firearms bag, or a non-descript cover.

When you come to a collection event, please bring the following with you:

  • Your online notification reference number
  • Your firearms licence (if applicable)
  • Your bank account number
  • Photo identification (drivers licence or passport)
  • All your prohibited firearms and parts, cleared of all ammunition
  • Any other firearm/s or parts you wish to hand-in to Police for destruction.

Please see our FAQs on Collection events for further information.

New offences and enforcement

The Act also contains a number of new offences and penalties including the following:

  • maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment:
    • using a prohibited firearm to resist arrest
  • maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment:
    • unlawful carriage or possession of a prohibited firearm in a public place
    • presenting a prohibited firearm at another person
    • carrying a prohibited firearm with criminal intent
    • possessing a prohibited firearm while committing any offence that has a maximum penalty of 3 years or more
  • maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment:
    • importing a prohibited item
    • unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm
    • supplying or selling a prohibited firearm or magazine
    • without lawful purpose, assembling a prohibited firearm or converting a firearm into a prohibited firearm
  • maximum penalty of 2 years:
    • possessing a prohibited part or magazine
    • supplying or selling a prohibited part

Support

If the changes are causing you stress or anxiety, you can get support by calling or texting 1737 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk it through with a trained counsellor 1737.org.nz.

Previous changes to firearms

The 21 March 2019 changes made by an Order in Council are superseded by this amendment.