Update on changes to the Arms Act 1983

There have been a number of changes to New Zealand’s firearms laws this year.


The New Zealand Police is the lead agency for firearm policy and makes the decisions on what does and does not require a permit to import.

There is no change to the law regarding:

  • Single shot firearms (e.g. bolt or lever action)
  • Semi-automatic rifles .22 calibre and under, provided the magazine holds 10 rounds or less
  • Pistols
  • Pistol magazines
  • Restricted weapons
  • Airguns

Parts

There is a new definition for ‘part’. Anything that attaches to a firearm is now considered a part and requires a permit to import. This includes integral parts of the firearm, such as barrels and trigger group parts, as well as other items like scopes, sights, butt plates and slings, that attach to a firearm but are not integral to their use.

Shooting accessories such as reloading supplies and gun cases do not require a permit to import.

Prohibited items

The following types of firearms, parts and magazines are prohibited items:

  • Semi-automatic rifles over .22 calibre, that can take a detachable magazine
  • Semi-automatic rifles .22 calibre and under, with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds
  • Semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns that can take a detachable magazine
  • Semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns with a tubular magazine that holds more than 5 rounds
  • Any part of any of the above firearms
  • Any shotgun magazine that can hold more than 5 rounds
  • Any rifle or shotgun magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds (whether detachable or not)
  • Any part that can be added to a firearm to make it fire with (or near to) semi-automatic or automatic action

These prohibited items can only be imported by a limited number of people who are exempt from the prohibition. Those people will require a permit to import these items.

Ammunition

The Arms (Prohibited Ammunition) Order 2019 prohibits some types of ammunition:

  • Tracer ammunition
  • Enhanced-penetration ammunition
  • Armour-piercing ammunition
  • Incendiary ammunition (excluding flares for flare guns)
  • Explosive ammunition
  • Multi-purpose ammunition
  • Discarding-sabot ammunition (excluding shotgun cartridges)
  • Multi-projectile ammunition (excluding shotgun ammunition)
  • Chemical or biological carrier ammunition (excluding projectiles for any device designed and intended solely for any medical, surgical, veterinary, scientific, agricultural, industrial, or other similar lawful purpose)
  • Flechettes (excluding projectiles designed and intended solely for any bolt gun, stud gun, humane killer, deer net gun, nail gun, or a pistol that is part of rocket-throwing or line-throwing equipment).

These types of ammunition are prohibited and cannot be imported. There is no ability to obtain a permit to import these items.

More information

For more information on whether an item requires a permit, and the permit process, please visit the Police website or contact the Police by email.