Changes to firearms law - prohibited firearms

Last updated 17 April 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.

Transitional provisions allow for an amnesty until six months after the buy-back is announced so that those in possession of prohibited items have time to notify Police and can hand over their firearm/s to Police at a later stage when we advise of that process.

The below video by Senior Sergeant Patrick Hannon shows examples of firearms people are still able to use, as well as firearms that are now prohibited.

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 firearm, part, or magazine that is now prohibited, you are required store it securely. We also ask you to please complete the notification form below.

We request that people do not hand in firearms to Police at this stage.

The collection of firearms will occur at a later stage and you will be advised of the process for this. Please complete the firearm notification form via the button below.

Completing the online form

Please have the following documents on hand to help you complete the online form:

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

Notify Police of your firearm/s

If you need help or get stuck you can call 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.

Dealers and collectors should not complete the form and should continue to securely store their prohibited items. Police will be in contact regarding next steps.

FAQs

Firearms changes FAQs

Exemptions

The following categories of exempt persons will be able to apply for an endorsement and permit to possess prohibited items. Forms are being developed and should be available soon.

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 for six months from the time the buy-back scheme is put in place by regulation.

Police encourages any person now in possession of a firearm to safely secure it and notify Police by completing the online form or calling 0800 311 311. This will enable Police to contact you in the future about the process for handing in your firearm/s and about the buy-back for prohibited items.

Please do not hand in your firearm/s to Police at this stage.

Indicated buy-back

The details of a compensation scheme are being worked through now and information on what that looks like will be announced in due course.

Notifying Police of the prohibited items you are holding will mean you can be contacted about compensation and the process for handing in your prohibited item when details are finallised.

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

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.