Permits to import or possess firearms

Changes to firearms law – prohibited firearms

New firearms laws amend the Arms Act:

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

Key changes impacting on permits to import are:

  • A person applying to import a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine needs to hold an endorsement, or be a dealer importing on behalf of an individual endorsement holder.
  • Applications for permits to import prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, and prohibited parts may only be granted by the Commissioner of Police (or his delegate) who must first be satisfied that there are special reasons why the item should be allowed into New Zealand.
  • More types of parts (including for standard firearms) require permits to import than previously.

Key changes impacting on permits to possess (formerly permits to procure) are:

  • There is a change in name from “permit to procure” to “permit to possess”.
  • Movement of prohibited firearms and prohibited magazines between people (and, where appropriate, between endorsements) will be able to be documented through the permit to possess.

To find out more about how these changes may impact on you, go to Changes to firearms law – prohibited firearms.

 

Under the Arms Act 1983, New Zealand Police receive and consider applications for permits to import (section 18) and permits to possess pistols, restricted weapons, prohibited firearms and prohibited magazines (sections 35 and 35A).

You can contact Police for permit related queries by email at Permitfirearms@police.govt.nz.

Importing firearms

Any New Zealand firearms licence holder may apply to Police to bring a standard firearm into New Zealand.

An endorsement holder may also apply to import a pistol, restricted weapon, prohibited firearm or a prohibited magazine.

Permit to Import

A permit to import is required to import:

  • a firearm, pistol, starting pistol, restricted airgun, or restricted weapon,
  • any part (see Section 2 of the Arms Act 1983) of a firearm, pistol, starting pistol, or restricted weapon
  • A prohibited firearm, prohibited magazine or a prohibited part (prohibited items).

(Section 16, Arms Act 1983)

A permit to import is now also required for all parts of a standard firearm (not just the action).

Applications for permits to import pistols or restricted weapons (and their parts); restricted airguns and prohibited items may only be granted if there are special reasons as to why those items should be allowed into New Zealand. Sufficient information to assess this needs to be provided on the application form (or accompany it).

A permit to import will only be issued to a person who may lawfully possess the item on its arrival in New Zealand. For example, a permit to import a standard firearm will only be issued to the holder of a New Zealand firearms licence; and a permit to import a pistol, restricted weapon or prohibited firearm or a prohibited magazine may be issued to an endorsement holder.

Special case-by-case consideration for persons who have ordered and paid for parts which didn’t require a permit to import before 12 April 2019

Permits for import need to be obtained before items arrive in New Zealand in order to avoid committing an offence. However, to assist people who could not have known that they would later need a permit to import for the parts ordered and paid for before the law change, Police will consider retrospective import permit applications in very limited situations.  Those people who can show that:

  • they ordered and paid for parts before 12 April 2019;
  • those parts did not require a permit to import at the date of order

may apply to Police for a permit to import those parts and that application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

Permit to Possess

A permit to possess is required in order to make your endorsement specific to every pistol, restricted weapon, prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine (see Sections 35 and 35A of the Arms Act 1983) acquired from another person inside New Zealand.   

The permit to possess process will also be able to be used by new prohibited firearm and prohibited magazine endorsement holders seeking to make that endorsement specific to an already held item.

A permit to possess will only be issued to the holder of a New Zealand firearms licence with the appropriate firearms endorsement(s). This means that you must already have been issued with the relevant firearms endorsement before applying for a permit.