Consultation on the Firearms Registry

Closes 12 Oct 2022

Opened 31 Aug 2022

Overview

In 2020, a number of changes were made to the Arms Act 1983 (the Act) through the Arms Legislation Act to strengthen the control and regulation of firearms in Aotearoa. The changes reflect the Act’s principles that possessing a firearm is a privilege, and people with that privilege have a responsibility to act in the interests of personal and public safety. Not all of the changes have come into force at the same time. Instead, implementation is in phases. The next group of changes will come into force on 24 June 2023.

These changes provide for the establishment of a registry to store and link information on all firearms and other arms items and their licence holders. This will enable greater and more centralised oversight of the number and location of firearms and other arms items in New Zealand.

Police already holds information on all licence holders and any prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, pistols and restricted weapons they may have. This information is collected through the endorsement requirements combined with the application and notification process for permits to possess or import.

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. This makes it easy for people with criminal intentions to get around the regulations through unrecorded changes of possession. To discourage this, the 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.

From 24 June 2023, the Act will prescribe the staged gathering of information by the registry on arms items possessed by licence holders at that date. It requires licensed persons and any other persons specified in regulations to provide up-to-date information for the registry on all items in their possession at the time when specified circumstances take place during the first five years of the registry. Specified circumstances include when applying for a licence or endorsement, changing address, or buying or selling arms or ammunition).

Why your views matter

Regulations must be made to provide clear and comprehensive directions on what is required to meet the new legislation on the arms registry.

Police is seeking your views on proposed regulations that set out:

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

The general aims of this consultation are to:

  • ensure the regulations are fit for purpose and minimise any unintended consequences, and
  • give stakeholders, in particular firearms licence holders, the opportunity to understand and shape the proposed regulations.

New Zealand Police invites you to submit your views on the proposals in this discussion document. We are particularly interested in your thoughts on whether the proposals are fit for purpose and whether you can foresee any unintended consequences.

We are not seeking feedback on the establishment of the registry, access to the registry by agencies, or offences related to the registry, all of which are already set out in the Act, or on the transitional provisions in schedule 1, clause 14 of the Act. We are only seeking feedback on proposed changes to the Arms Regulations 1992 relating to the registry.

 

Give us your views