On 12 April 2019, the New Zealand Police announced that new firearms laws (the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019) 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 buyback 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 Act also contains a number of new offences and penalties including the following:
- unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, magazines, and parts
- using or intending to use a prohibited firearm to resist arrest or commit offence
- unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm in a public place
- presenting a prohibited firearm at another person
- possession of a prohibited firearm while committing any offence that has a
- penalty of imprisonment for 3 years or more
- carrying a prohibited firearm with criminal intent
- importing prohibited items without a permit
- knowingly supplying or selling a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine to a person who does not hold a permit to import or possess one
- using a prohibited part to assemble or convert a firearm into a prohibited firearm
- knowingly supplying or selling a prohibited part
NZ Customs announced that all import permits issued before 12 April for what are now prohibited items have been revoked.
Any of these items imported from 12 April onwards may be seized. “Importation” refers to arrival in New Zealand, not the date of export from supplier. Multi-line permits may be partially or wholly revoked depending upon the goods covered.
“Prohibited items” are prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines and prohibited parts, as defined in the legislation.
“Parts” of a firearm has an expanded definition, so more items will require import permits from Police.
Goods imported with a valid permit on 11 April and earlier, which have not cleared Customs control have been made prohibited goods and Customs may authorise the delivery of the goods to the Police.
Importers are liable for the payment of outstanding duty on the importations of the prohibited items.
Importers and their agents are advised to familiarise themselves with information on the Police website, which is being updated regularly.
Details of the buy back scheme will be announced in due course.