Arms Legislation Bill

Arms Legislation Bill

Government Bill

177—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

This is an omnibus Bill introduced under Standing Order 263(a). The amendments in the Bill deal with an inter-related topic that can be regarded as implementing a single broad policy. That policy is to improve public safety by adjusting legislative frameworks to impose tighter controls on the use and possession of arms.

The role of the Government is to enable a regulatory regime that provides for licence holders to legitimately use firearms in their work and recreation. It is also important to put in place sufficient regulatory controls, risk management systems, and enforcement powers to give the public confidence that the Government can minimise the likelihood of misuse and consequent harm to the wider community.

The Bill—

  • introduces a new purpose statement for the Arms Act 1983 (the Act):

  • creates a registry to store information on firearms and link them to licence holders in order to keep better track of firearms throughout their life cycle:

  • strengthens the licensing regimes to focus more on filtering out high-risk people and behaviour, aiming to ensure firearms remain accessible only to appropriate people acting in the interests of personal and public safety:

  • strengthens the Act by improving the tools available to the Police to enable them to function better as a regulator, including a more graduated suite of interventions aimed at increasing compliance with the regime:

  • introduces an advisory group with membership from the firearms and non-firearms communities:

  • enables more robust and transparent information-sharing and cost-recovery regimes:

  • enables the issue of further guidance on aspects of the Act through a notice-making provision:

  • strengthens regulatory oversight of the importation and sale of ammunition and blank-firing guns, advertising, and manufacturers of parts:

  • provides for a review of the Act to commence 5 years after the Bill is fully in force:

  • introduces new offences and penalties and strengthens existing offences and penalties:

  • enables New Zealand to accede to the United Nations Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (the Firearms Protocol):

  • includes other minor and technical changes.

The majority of the provisions are intended to come into force on the day after enactment date. Some provisions are intended to be staggered (as outlined below) to give Police and other affected parties, such as businesses, sufficient time to prepare information, systems, and processes to implement the changes.

Purpose of Act

The purpose statement emphasises that the Act establishes a regulatory regime to promote the safe possession and use of firearms and other weapons and imposes controls on their possession and use. It reflects that the possession and use of arms is a privilege and that persons authorised to import, manufacture, sell, supply, possess, or use arms have a responsibility to act in the interests of personal and public safety.

Registry to store information on firearms and licence holders

Currently, there is limited knowledge of how many firearms are in New Zealand, who has them, who is selling them and to whom, and how secure they are. This situation makes it easy for firearms to be acquired by criminals, via sale or theft, who then hold them outside the regulatory system. The Bill enables the creation of a full registry to store information about licence holders, their licence details, and the firearms, registered weapons, and prohibited magazines they possess.

The Bill provides for regulations to be made for the efficient operation of the registry. This may include setting out in more detail the information that licence holders or others are required to provide, the manner in which information will be provided, and additional requirements for those with permits relating to prohibited items, gun shows, and importation.

There are obligations on persons undertaking activities within the firearms regime to enter information into the registry.

It is intended that the majority of the provisions related to the registry will come into effect 2 years from the date of enactment or earlier by Order in Council.

Licensing system design

The most important entry point to the firearms regulatory regime is through licensing. The Bill strengthens the licensing regime to enhance public safety.

The Bill enables positive behaviours, skills, and knowledge to be indicators that a person is likely to be a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. It also outlines behaviours that would either disqualify someone from holding a firearms licence, or indicate that a person may not be a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. A person who has had a conviction for serious offending, or a final protection order made against them, would not be able to apply for or hold a licence for 10 years.

The circumstances that may indicate a person may not be a fit and proper person to possess a firearm or an airgun include having been charged with or convicted of certain offences, having had a temporary protection order against them, not complying with the provisions in the Act or regulations made under the Act, exhibiting significant mental health or substance abuse issues that might adversely affect their ability to safely possess firearms or might impair judgement or behaviour, having close associations with a gang or organised criminal group, showing concerning patterns of behaviour relating to, for example:

  • hatred:

  • extremism:

  • being assessed as a risk to national security.

In order to ensure that a licence holder continues to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence, they will be required to inform Police if a circumstance arises where they may no longer meet the requirements.

Health practitioners will have a responsibility to consider notifying Police if, after seeing or being consulted about a patient, they consider the person should not be permitted to use or possess firearms or should only do so subject to limitations that may be warranted by their mental or physical condition. Part of this notification will include an assessment of whether they believe the person poses a risk of harm to themselves or to others. Licence holders may then be required to undergo a further medical assessment or surrender their licence. To assist with this, applicants for firearms licences must provide contact details for their health practitioner to Police.

Individual firearms licences will be issued for 5 years to enable a more regular reassessment of a licence holder’s patterns of behaviour, living and security arrangements, and whether there are any circumstances that may mean they are not a fit and proper person to hold a licence. Existing licence holders on a 10–year licence will be able to see out the duration of their current licence, with some transitional arrangements for applications made since the content of the Bill was announced on 22 July 2019 and before its coming into force.

General conditions on all firearms licences will require licence holders to act in a way that does not pose a risk to themselves or others when using a firearm, and permit Police to inspect firearms and their storage and security arrangements, with Police being required to give reasonable notice of an inspection. Police will also be able to inspect the security arrangements in vehicles when firearms are in transit.

A licence will be required to possess non-prohibited magazines, parts of firearms, and ammunition.

Currently, a person who is a visitor to New Zealand who intends to reside here for less than 1 year may be granted a firearms licence with a duration of up to 1 year. Such a person will not be able to acquire ownership of a firearm or restricted weapon that they will possess and use in New Zealand.

Before lodging an appeal to the District Court, licence holders will be able to request that the refusal of a firearms licence application or a decision to revoke a firearms licence be reviewed by a delegate of the Commissioner of Police (the Commissioner) who was not involved in the original decision.

It is intended that the majority of the provisions related to individual licensing will come into effect 6 months from the date of enactment.

Dealers licensing regime

The Bill broadens the activities covered by a dealer’s licence to be in the business of selling, possessing, supplying, hiring, manufacturing (for which approval is required), repairing, modifying, displaying, or otherwise carrying out commercial transactions involving a class of arms items. It expands the criteria for being a fit and proper person to hold a dealer’s licence (who must first have a firearms licence and therefore meet those criteria) to encompass their character and reputation and whether they have:

  • the appropriate competencies and resources:

  • ever been adjudicated bankrupt or been a director of a company that has been put into receivership or liquidation:

  • any convictions:

  • a sound knowledge of firearms, licences and the legal obligations that attach to them.

If the dealer is a senior manager of a body corporate, the body corporate must have appropriate record keeping and other systems to comply with the requirements under the Act and regulations, have suitable staff, and have appropriate control and oversight.

It is intended that the provisions related to the dealer licensing regime will come into effect 12 months after the date of enactment.

Licensing for shooting clubs and shooting ranges

The Bill provides for licensing of shooting clubs, including pistol clubs, and shooting ranges. It defines shooting clubs and shooting ranges and specifies requirements for shooting clubs to be granted a certificate of approval and for shooting ranges to be certified, both by the Commissioner.

Shooting clubs must have rules relating to the safe operation of firearms and promoting their safe possession and use, be appropriately administered, and be able to safely manage shooting activities. Shooting ranges must meet safety standards. The duty manager of a certified shooting range must have a firearms licence and be appropriately trained in shooting range management.

Police will also be able to inspect shooting clubs and shooting ranges and their documents.

It is intended that the provisions related to the licensing for shooting clubs and shooting ranges will come into effect 2 years after the date of enactment.

Acceding to United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition

The Bill contains amendments that enable New Zealand to accede to the Firearms Protocol. Those amendments include—

  • a requirement that all firearms manufactured in New Zealand or imported have an identifying mark:

  • new offences, which can be applied extraterritorially, relating to the illegal manufacture of arms items, the illegal trafficking of firearms, parts, and ammunition, and the falsifying, altering, or removal of firearms markings:

  • a requirement that records of firearms manufactured in New Zealand be kept for at least 10 years:

  • 2 technical changes to the definition section to add silencers to the definition of parts for all firearms, and to clarify that antique firearms do not include firearms manufactured after 1899:

  • consequential amendments to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 and the Extradition Act 1999 to reference the Firearms Protocol and new offences to enable New Zealand to co-operate with other State Parties under the Firearms Protocol, and the Convention (the consequential amendments would come into effect by Order in Council as these are dependent on accession to the Firearms Protocol).

In accordance with Standing Orders, all multilateral treaties must be presented to the House for parliamentary treaty examination. New Zealand completed this process in 2004. The Government intends to accede to the Firearms Protocol following passage of this Bill.

Clarifying and strengthening Act

Amendments are being made to clarify and strengthen the Act.

The Bill recognises the risk of harm to the public that can result from ready access to ammunition and strengthens the ammunition regime by requiring a permit to import any quantity of ammunition and requiring an ammunition seller to hold a current firearms licence with conditions for record-keeping.

The Bill requires a permit for importing blank-firing guns. This will enable Police to receive a sample and test it before it is imported. This is so Police can determine whether it can be readily converted to fire ammunition, therefore meeting the definition of a firearm.

In relation to the transitional provisions in the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019, the Bill confirms that the exemption for existing businesses will be made permanent for manufacturing prohibited parts and allowing the use of prohibited items for testing those parts.

The Bill enables the Commissioner to issue notices that provide guidance or administrative details about any aspect of the Act or regulations made under the Act (such as security requirements, identification numbers for firearms and magazines manufactured in or imported into New Zealand, and how to demonstrate the positive behaviours, skills, and knowledge that indicate a person is fit and proper to hold a licence). The Commissioner must consult the new Firearms Advisory Group, and may consult others, before issuing a notice.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Customs Service, and the Department of Conservation will be able to access information from the registry, to assist the agencies in performing or exercising the functions, duties, and powers of their roles. More detail setting out the manner of gaining access, the level of authority to gain access, and conditions on the use and disclosure of information will be set out in direct data access agreements that are approved by Ministers.

The Bill establishes a Firearms Advisory Group to advise the Commissioner on matters that contribute to achieving the objectives of the Act. It also provides for the Minister of Police to undertake a review of the Act when the amendment Act (this Bill once enacted) has been in force for 5 years.

The Bill clarifies that endorsements on licences that enable an individual to possess restricted weapons, pistols, and prohibited firearms last for the length of time left on the licence that is being endorsed and a new application for an endorsement must be made when an application is made for a new licence. The exception to this is wild animal recovery and pest-control endorsements, which will last for 2 years or the length of the licence, whichever is shorter.

Compliance, enforcement, offences, and penalties

The Bill provides a new tool where there are minor infringements against the Act or the Arms Regulations 1992 to enable action to be taken at an early stage. Improvement notices will be able to be issued to firearms and dealer licence holders, ammunition sellers, or shooting range operators, that will outline requirements that are not being, or unlikely to be, met. Improvement notices may include remedial steps that should be taken by a particular date. If the identified requirements in the notice are not met, that could result in the licence being revoked. Improvement notices will also be able to be given to shooting clubs and shooting ranges following an inspection.

The Bill also provides for immediate temporary suspension of a firearms or dealer’s licence in certain circumstances at the commencement of a revocation process, and the potential immediate seizure of firearms and other items. There is a five year stand down period before someone can apply for a firearms licence after having had an earlier licence revoked. A shooting club or shooting range may be required to suspend its operations for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice.

The Bill updates a number of penalties in the Act to make them more fit for purpose and commensurate with the seriousness of the offending. The Bill also includes new offences related to—

  • the supply of information required for the registry:

  • selling or supplying ammunition without a firearms licence:

  • failure to permit inspection of firearms and security:

  • possession of non-prohibited parts, magazines, or ammunition without a firearms licence:

  • conducting or operating an unapproved shooting range.

Clarification of fee setting powers to enable cost recovery

The Bill enables Police to recover their costs for certain activities under the Act (which does not include responding to calls for service relating to potential offending, conduct of criminal investigations, or prosecuting criminal offences). It provides for the Minister of Police to develop regulations for the charging of a fee if the proposed charge is consistent with a set of criteria and the Commissioner has consulted with affected parties. The criteria include that—

  • the fee or charge is not more than the actual and reasonable costs of the activity:

  • the fee is generally obtained from the users and is as far as practicable commensurate with a user’s own use of the service to which the activity relates:

  • the costs are efficiently incurred:

  • the relationship between the costs and the nature and duration of the activity is clear.

How Act binds the Crown

The Bill changes how the Act applies to the Crown by expanding and clarifying the categories of government employees or agents who are exempted from some of the Act’s provisions. The changes fall into 3 categories—

  • the classes of person in the Crown’s service who may lawfully import, carry, or possess firearms or other items is expanded to include visiting law enforcement officers (when approved by the Commissioner), Ministry of Defence staff (under direct supervision), people approved to provide training to Police or New Zealand Defence Force personnel, and Customs officers:

  • the exemption that allows the Crown to import, possess, or manufacture firearms or parts now extends to agents acting on the Crown’s behalf:

  • clarifying that certain requirements in the Act do not apply to the Crown, unless regulations provide that they do.

Regulations

In addition to the new regulation-making powers outlined above, the Bill provides for a number of additional regulation making powers.

Other minor and technical changes

The Bill includes minor and technical changes to improve the operation of the Act, including changes for modernisation purposes.

Departmental disclosure statement

The Police are required to prepare a disclosure statement to assist with the scrutiny of this Bill. The disclosure statement provides access to information about the policy development of the Bill and identifies any significant or unusual legislative features of the Bill.

Regulatory impact assessment

Police produced a regulatory impact assessment in June 2019 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill’s regulation-making provisions will come into force on the day after the date of Royal assent. The rest of the Bill’s provisions will be brought into force by 1 or more Orders in Council, by 1 December 2021.

Part 1Amendments to Arms Act 1983

Clause 3 provides that Part 1 amends the Arms Act 1983 (the principal Act).

Clause 4 repeals the Long Title of the principal Act.

Clause 5 inserts, after section 1 of the principal Act, a new Part 1 heading (preliminary provisions). Clause 5 also inserts a new section 1A, which is a purpose clause. It states that the purposes of the principal Act are to promote the safe possession and use of firearms and other weapons and to impose controls on their possession and use. The regulatory regime established by the principal Act reflects certain principles, including the principle that the possession and use of arms is a privilege.

Clause 6 amends section 2 of the principal Act, which defines various terms used in the principal Act. This clause inserts definitions for new terms used, including ammunition seller, arms item, dealer activity, health practitioner, registry, and visitor. This clause also amends the definition of antique firearm so that it does not include a firearm manufactured after 1899 and amends the definition of part to include a silencer. The definition of arms office is repealed.

Clause 7 amends section 3 of the principal Act, which provides that the Act binds the Crown. The amendments in this clause—

  • allow the carriage or possession of firearms or other regulated items by any person in the course of that person’s duties as a Customs officer:

  • enable the Commissioner and the Chief of Defence Force to authorise persons to provide training to members of their respective forces in the use of any firearms or other regulated items:

  • allow the carriage or possession of firearms or other regulated items by a civilian employee of the Ministry of Defence, so long as the person carries or possesses any firearms or other items under the direct supervision of a member of the New Zealand Defence Force:

  • allow the importation or possession by any agent of the Crown of firearms or other regulated items imported on behalf of the Crown:

  • allow the assembly or manufacture by the Crown, or on behalf of the Crown by any agent of the Crown, of any firearms or other regulated items:

  • allow the importation, carriage, or possession of any firearm or other item regulated by the principal Act by any person who is a visiting law enforcement officer from another country and is authorised by the Commissioner to import, possess, or carry the firearm or other item while in New Zealand:

  • exempt the Crown, subject to any regulations, from compliance with reporting and other requirements of the principal Act in relation to firearms and other items regulated by the principal Act that are owned by the Crown.

Clause 8 amends section 4A of the principal Act to include as exempt persons—

  • a person who before 12 April 2019 was in the business of manufacturing prohibited parts for permitted supply and who continues for that purpose to manufacture prohibited parts:

  • a person who before 12 April 2019 was in the business of permitted supply and who continues for the purposes of permitted supply to use prohibited items to test and demonstrate prohibited parts.

This amendment provides a permanent exemption for those persons and replaces the current transitional arrangement that expires in December 2020. However, the current transitional arrangement relating to the manufacture of prohibited magazines that expires on 31 December 2020 is not continued.

Clause 8 also amends section 4A to delete from the list of exempt persons employees and agents of licensed dealers.

Clause 9 replaces the cross-heading above section 5 of the principal Act with a new Part 2 heading (licensed dealers).

Clause 10 replaces sections 5 and 6 of the principal Act, which relate to dealer licensing, with new sections 5, 5A, 5B, and 6.

New section 5 specifies the activities that, if carried on in relation to any class of arms item, require a dealer’s licence. These dealer activities include the following:

  • selling, hiring, lending, or otherwise supplying a class of arms items:

  • possessing, for the purposes of auction, a class of arms items:

  • repairing or modifying a class of arms items:

  • displaying, as the director or curator of a bona fide museum, a class of arms items:

  • manufacturing for sale, hire, lending, or other supply, any class of arms items:

  • manufacturing for permitted supply prohibited parts and using prohibited items to test and demonstrate those parts.

A body corporate may carry on a dealer activity if a senior manager of the body corporate has a dealer’s licence.

A person who contravenes this section without reasonable excuse commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 5A provides that an application for a dealer’s licence must be made on a form provided by the Police, or in a manner approved by the Police, and must specify the dealer activities for which the licence is sought and the class or classes of arms items in respect of which those activities will be carried on.

New section 5B provides for the issue of a dealer’s licence authorising the applicant to carry on 1 or more dealer activities in respect of 1 or more classes of arms items. A dealer’s licence may only be issued to an applicant who holds a firearms licence that bears appropriate endorsements, and who a commissioned officer of Police is satisfied is a fit and proper person to carry on dealer activities and has appropriate secure storage facilities.

New section 6 sets out the matters that the Police must take into account when deciding whether an applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a dealer’s licence. These matters include whether the applicant has the competencies and resources to carry on the dealer activities for which the licence is sought, has any convictions, and has an understanding of the legal obligations of a licensed dealer. In any case where a dealer activity is to be carried on by a body corporate, the Police must also be satisfied that the body corporate has suitable staff, has appropriate record-keeping systems, and that the applicant will have appropriate oversight and control of the dealer activities.

Clause 11 inserts new section 6B into the principal Act, which provides that a dealer’s licence that is issued for the purposes of carrying on a dealer activity relating to the manufacture for sale of specified classes of arms items is subject to the condition that the dealer obtain the written approval of the Commissioner before manufacturing any of those classes of arms items.

Clause 12 amends section 7A of the principal Act. Dealers will no longer be required to close their place of business in respect of which their licence was issued when conducting a gun show at another place of business.

Clause 13 amends section 9 of the principal Act to provide that when a dealer’s licence is revoked, it must be immediately surrendered to the Police and that an employee of the dealer may not then carry on a dealer activity for the dealer.

Clause 14 amends section 10 of the principal Act, which imposes restrictions on a licensed dealer possessing pistols, restricted weapons, prohibited firearms, and prohibited magazines. A new restriction is inserted to provide that a dealer may not possess a pistol, restricted weapon, prohibited firearm, or prohibited magazine for the purpose of carrying on a dealer activity unless their dealer’s licence specifies that they may carry on that activity in respect of those items and the dealer has an appropriate endorsement on their licence. A person who contravenes section 10 without reasonable excuse commits an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 15 replaces section 11 of the principal Act. An employee of a licensed dealer must not perform any duties that include carrying on a dealer activity unless the employee holds a firearms licence. If the duties include activities in respect of pistols, restricted weapons, prohibited firearms, or prohibited magazines, the licence must bear the appropriate endorsements. A person who contravenes this section without reasonable excuse commits an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 16 amends section 12 of the principal Act, which relates to the record of dealings by licensed dealers. Section 12(1) currently requires licensed dealers to keep a book that records the receipt, sale, or manufacture of any firearms, airguns, pistols, prohibited items, or restricted weapons. Section 12 is amended to provide that licensed dealers must also record any particulars that may be prescribed relating to the transactions conducted in the course of their activities. Records must be kept for 10 years. The amendments also require a licensed dealer to immediately surrender to the Police the dealer’s prescribed records if the dealer’s licence is revoked under the principal Act.

Clause 16 also inserts new subsections (3) and (5) into section 12 of the principal Act. New subsection (3) increases the penalty for breaching section 12. A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes section 12 is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or a fine not exceeding $10,000. New subsection (5) exempts a licensed dealer from the obligation to record certain particulars that are exempted by regulations or provided to the Police for inclusion in the registry.

Clause 17 amends section 13 of the principal Act, which relates to the seizure of firearms, ammunition, airguns, pistols, prohibited items, and restricted weapons held by licensed dealers. The amendment adds magazines and parts to this list so that magazines and parts held by licensed dealers may also be seized.

Clause 18 amends section 14 of the principal Act, which provides for the disposal of firearms, ammunition, airguns, pistols, prohibited items and restricted weapons by a licensed dealer after the revocation of their licence. The amendment adds magazines to this list so that a licensed dealer may also dispose of magazines in their possession when their licence is revoked.

Clause 19 replaces section 15 of the principal Act, which provides that it is an offence for a dealer to carry on business after the revocation of their licence. New section 15 extends this offence to apply in the case where a dealer’s licence is revoked under new section 27C (inserted by clause 39), and also increases the maximum penalty on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $15,000.

Clause 20 replaces the cross-heading above section 16 of the principal Act with a new Part 3 heading (permits to import).

Clause 21 replaces section 16 of the principal Act, which requires a person to have a permit to bring arms into New Zealand. References to a blank-firing gun replace the current references to a starting pistol, and a permit must now be obtained to bring non-prohibited ammunition into New Zealand. The maximum fine on conviction for bringing firearms, pistols, restricted airguns, restricted weapons, blank-firing guns, parts of those items, or non-prohibited ammunition into New Zealand without a permit is increased from $2,000 to $15,000.

Clause 22 replaces section 16A of the principal Act, which provides that it is an offence to bring into New Zealand any prohibited ammunition. The amendment clarifies that in this context, as in section 16 of the principal Act, New Zealand does not include harbours and other territorial waters of New Zealand. This offence is not intended to apply in respect of prohibited ammunition on craft transiting through New Zealand waters. The penalty for this offence is unchanged (a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years).

Clause 23 repeals section 17 of the principal Act, which provides that in proceedings for an offence against section 16 of the principal Act the defendant has the burden of proving that they acted under a permit. This reverse onus of proof will no longer apply.

Clause 24 amends section 18 of the principal Act, which provides for the issue of permits to import. That provision is amended to align with the amendments to section 16 in clause 21 and provides for the issue of a permit to import blank-firing guns and non-prohibited ammunition. Section 18 is also amended to clarify that a permit is issued in respect of items brought into or sent within New Zealand in a single consignment so that goods cannot be imported in multiple shipments under a single permit. A permit is automatically revoked if the firearms licence of the person importing the item, or on whose behalf the item is imported, is revoked. A permit is also automatically revoked if a licensed dealer’s licence is revoked.

Clause 25 replaces section 18B of the principal Act, which sets out the requirements for providing a sample, at the request of the Police, of any goods proposed to be imported, and for the subsequent disposal of any goods imported that do not correspond with the sample. This provision is divided into 2 new provisions.

New section 18B is substantially the same as existing section 18B, which requires that samples of items proposed to be imported must, if required, be produced for examination and testing as soon as practicable. This section is amended to include reference to blank-firing guns (replacing starting pistols) and non-prohibited ammunition and to provide that the Crown is not liable to pay compensation in respect of damage caused to the sample arising from examination and testing. Samples are also required to be exported or disposed of if they are not approved.

New section 18C requires the disposal, not only of any imported goods that do not correspond with a sample, but of the sample itself. The goods and sample must be exported or disposed of, or otherwise dealt with, in the manner directed by the Commissioner.

Clause 26 amends section 19 of the principal Act, which deals with the seizure of illegally imported items. The amendment ensures that illegally imported blank-firing guns and non-prohibited ammunition are also captured within the scope of this provision.

Clause 27 inserts a new Part 4 heading (general restrictions) after section 19 of the principal Act and new sections 19A and 19B.

New section 19A expressly provides that a person may not have in their possession a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine unless they hold a dealer’s licence, or a firearms licence that bears an appropriate endorsement that, following the issue of a permit to possess, has been made specific to the particular prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine. A person who possesses a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine in breach of this provision commits an offence under section 50A (unlawful possession of prohibited firearm) or section 50B (unlawful possession of prohibited magazine) of the principal Act.

New section 19B expressly provides that a person may not have in their possession a prohibited part unless they are an exempt person of at least 18 years of age and hold a licence that bears an endorsement permitting them to possess a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine. A person who possesses a prohibited part in breach of this provision commits an offence under section 50C (unlawful possession of prohibited part).

Clause 28 repeals the cross-heading above section 20 of the principal Act.

Clause 29 amends section 20 of the principal Act, which imposes restrictions on the possession of firearms. The amendments clarify that section 20 does not apply in respect of prohibited firearms. The maximum penalties on conviction for breaching the requirements of this section are increased to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or a fine not exceeding $15,000.

Clause 30 amends section 21 of the principal Act, which imposes restrictions on the possession of airguns. A term of imprisonment is no longer a penalty for breaching the requirements of this section.

Clause 31 inserts new sections 22A to 22F into the principal Act.

New section 22A provides that a person may not have in their possession a non-prohibited magazine or a non-prohibited part unless they hold a firearms licence. A breach of this provision, without reasonable excuse, is an offence that has a penalty on conviction of a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 22B provides that a person may not have in their possession any ammunition unless the person holds a firearms licence or is under the immediate supervision of a holder of a firearms licence. A breach of this provision, without reasonable excuse, is an offence that has a penalty on conviction of a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 22C imposes restrictions on the selling or supplying of ammunition. Ammunition can only be sold or supplied by a person who holds a firearms licence, and supplied or sold to a person who is the holder of a firearms licence. A breach of this provision is an offence that has a penalty on conviction of a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 22D requires an ammunition seller to keep at their place of business a book that records details of the ammunition they sell or supply, and to make this book available for inspection and copying by the Police. Records, whether in hard copy or electronic form, must be kept for 10 years. A breach of this provision is an offence that has a penalty on conviction of a fine not exceeding $10,000. However, this section does not apply if recording these details is exempted by regulations or if the ammunition seller provides the details to the Police for inclusion in the registry.

New section 22E provides that a visitor who holds a firearms licence may not, during their stay in New Zealand, acquire ownership of any firearm or restricted weapon for possession in New Zealand. A visitor is a person who intends to stay in New Zealand less than 1 year. If a visitor breaches this provision, their firearms licence is revoked.

New section 22F provides that no person, other than a manufacturing business that is an exempt person under new section 4A(1A) of the principal Act (inserted by clause 8) may manufacture a prohibited item. To do so would engage the offences in sections 50A, 50B, and 50C of the principal Act.

Clause 32 replaces the cross-heading above section 23 of the principal Act with a new Part 5 heading (firearms licences, endorsements, and permits to possess).

Clause 33 inserts new section 22G into the principal Act, which sets out the matters that disqualify a person from holding a firearms licence. These matters are that the person—

  • has, within the previous 10 years, been convicted, or released from custody after being convicted, of specified offences, including a serious violent offence as defined in section 86A of the Sentencing Act 2002; or

  • has, or has had in the previous 10 years, a final protection order in force against them.

Clause 34 amends section 23 of the principal Act, which relates to applications for a firearms licence. New section 23(1) provides that a person who is at least 16 years of age, has not had a firearms licence revoked in the previous 5 years, and is not disqualified under new section 22G (inserted by clause 33) from holding a firearms licence may apply to the Police for a firearms licence. A new subsection (2A) is also inserted, requiring an applicant to provide to the Police, at the time of making an application for a firearms licence, the name and contact details of their health practitioner.

Clause 35 amends section 24 of the principal Act, which relates to the issue of a firearms licence. Before issuing a licence, a member of the Police must inspect the applicant’s storage facilities and be satisfied that the facilities comply with the requirements for the secure storage of firearms and ammunition.

Clause 36 inserts new sections 24A to 24C into the principal Act.

New section 24A relates to determining whether an applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. The Police may consider any matters they think appropriate, but new section 24A(1) lists circumstances detrimental to an application that the Police may take into account. Those matters include whether the applicant has—

  • been charged with or convicted of an offence, in New Zealand or overseas, punishable by imprisonment:

  • been charged or convicted of an offence under the principal Act:

  • at any time had a temporary protection order made against them:

  • exhibited significant mental health issues or issues with drugs or alcohol that adversely affects their ability to safely possess firearms.

The Police may seek and consider information from any source and must give an applicant the opportunity to refute or comment on any information that is or may be prejudicial to the application.

New section 24B sets out 5 general conditions that every firearms licence is subject to. Those conditions include the holder of the firearms licence not using a firearm in a way that poses a risk to any person, producing any firearm within their possession to the Police on demand, and permitting the Police to inspect the holder’s firearms and storage arrangements. Any breach of these conditions would be a ground for the temporary suspension of a licence (see new section 60A(1)(a)(ii) inserted by clause 75).

New section 24C imposes on a firearms licence issued to an ammunition seller the condition that the seller have appropriate storage facilities for all the ammunition they possess.

Clause 37 amends section 25 of the principal Act, which relates to the duration of a firearms licence. A licence will be issued for a period of 5 years (not 10 years as currently).

Clause 38 replaces section 27A of the principal Act, which provides that the Police may decide that a person is not a fit and proper person to possess a firearm or an airgun if the Police are satisfied that there are grounds under the Family Violence Act 2018 for applying for a protection order against the person, or if the Police are satisfied that a protection order is already in force against the person. Reference to the latter consideration is repealed as a consequence of new section 22G (inserted by clause 33) and new section 24A(1)(d) (inserted by clause 36).

Clause 39 inserts new sections 27B and 27C into the principal Act, which relates to the revocation and surrender of a firearms licence and the revocation of a dealer’s licence.

New section 27B provides that a firearms licence is immediately revoked and must be surrendered if the holder becomes disqualified under new section 22G (inserted by clause 33) from holding a licence.

New section 27C allows the Police to revoke a licence that has been temporarily suspended. The prohibition in new section 15 (inserted by clause 19) against carrying on business as a dealer applies if a dealer’s licence is revoked under this section. New section 27C also provides that, if a person’s firearms licence is revoked and the person holds a dealer’s licence, the dealer’s licence is automatically revoked.

Clause 40 amends section 28 of the principal Act, which requires the holder of a firearms licence that has been revoked or surrendered to deliver to the Police items in their possession. The penalty on conviction for failing to do so is increased to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 41 inserts a new cross-heading after section 28 of the principal Act.

Clause 42 amends section 29 of the principal Act, which provides that an endorsement to own a kea gun may be granted if the person has been the registered owner of a kea gun since before 1984. Any person obtaining a kea gun after that date would need an endorsement permitting them to possess the gun in one of the capacities specified in section 29(2). Most kea gun owners have a collector’s endorsement under section 29(2)(b) to (d). As it is considered that there is now no valid reason to own a kea gun other than as a collector, section 29(1) is repealed.

Clause 42 also amends section 29 of the principal Act to provide that an applicant for a dealer’s licence or the holder of a dealer’s licence may apply for an endorsement on their dealer’s licence permitting them to possess a pistol or restricted weapon. This is to clarify that the endorsement is made on the person’s dealer’s licence, not their firearms licence.

Clause 43 amends section 30 of the principal Act to provide that an endorsement permitting possession of a pistol or restricted weapon may be made on a dealer’s licence.

Clause 44 replaces section 30A of the principal Act, which relates to applications for endorsements in respect of prohibited firearms and prohibited magazines. New section 30A separately identifies, as persons who may make an application under this section, exempt persons described in section 4A(1)(b) to (i).

Clause 45 amends section 30B of the principal Act to provide that an endorsement permitting possession of a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine may be made on a dealer’s licence.

Clause 46 inserts new section 33C into the principal Act to expressly provide that an endorsement on a firearms licence continues in force as long as the licence continues in force. However, an endorsement made on a firearms licence held by an employee of a licensed dealer continues in force for 1 year only (unless the employee’s firearms licence is earlier surrendered or revoked, the dealer’s licence earlier expires or is surrendered or revoked, or the employee ceases to be employed by the licensed dealer). And in the case of an endorsement made on a firearms licence held by a person involved with animal or pest control, the endorsement continues for a maximum period of 2 years.

Clause 47 amends section 34 of the principal Act, which requires firearms licence holders to notify the Police of any change of their address or the address at which a firearm in their possession is kept. Currently, section 34(1) requires the change to be notified to the nearest Arms Office within 30 days. The amendment replaces that requirement with a requirement to give notice of the change to the Police within the time and in the manner prescribed by regulations made under section 74 of the principal Act. The penalty for breaching this requirement is increased to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

Clause 48 amends section 34B of the principal Act to replace a reference to the Arms Office, which is an outdated term.

Clause 49 amends section 35 of the principal Act to provide that a permit to possess a pistol or restricted weapon may be issued to an applicant who holds a dealer’s licence that bears an endorsement made under section 30 of the principal Act.

Clause 50 amends section 35A of the principal Act to provide that a permit to possess a prohibited firearm or prohibited magazine may be issued to an applicant who holds a dealer’s licence that bears an endorsement made under section 30B of the principal Act.

Clause 51 amends section 36 of the principal Act, which is an offence provision relating to the carrying of pistols or restricted weapons without authority. The scope of this section is extended to include prohibited firearms and prohibited magazines. The penalty on conviction for this offence is also increased to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000. Also, the burden of proof placed on the defendant by section 36(4) is repealed.

Clause 52 amends section 38 of the principal Act, which requires that a person intending to remove any pistol, prohibited firearm, prohibited magazine, or restricted weapon out of New Zealand must give not less than 4 days’ notice to an Arms Office. Notice must now be given to a member of the Police. The penalty on conviction for failing to comply with this provision is increased to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

Clause 53 inserts new Parts 6 and 7 into the principal Act.

New Part 6 imposes requirements for shooting clubs (new sections 38B to 38J) and shooting ranges (new sections 38K to 38S).

New section 38A is an interpretation provision for new Part 6 and defines terms used in that Part, including shooting activities, shooting club, and shooting range.

New section 38B requires all shooting clubs that use a shooting range to hold a certificate of approval issued by the Commissioner. Contravention of this requirement is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 38C sets out the requirements for making an application for a certificate of approval.

New section 38D provides that, after receiving an application, the Commissioner may make inquiries and require the applicant to provide further information.

New section 38E requires the Commissioner to be satisfied of certain matters before issuing a certificate of approval, including that the shooting club will use a certified shooting range for its shooting activities and will safely manage its shooting activities.

New section 38F requires that, if the Commissioner grants an application, the Commissioner must issue a certificate of approval to the shooting club. A certificate of approval may be issued subject to any conditions that the Commissioner considers appropriate.

New section 38G provides that a certificate of approval continues until it is surrendered or cancelled.

New section 38H provides for the cancellation of a certificate of approval by the Commissioner.

New section 38I provides for the renewal of a certificate of approval.

New section 38J requires shooting clubs to provide to the Commissioner each year a report on their operations which must include prescribed particulars.

New section 38K requires all shooting ranges to be certified.

New section 38L sets out the requirements for making an application for certification.

New section 38M provides that, on receiving on application, the Commissioner may make inquiries and request the applicant to provide further information.

New section 38N requires the Commissioner to be satisfied of certain matters before issuing a certificate.

New section 38O requires that, if the Commissioner grants an application, the Commissioner must issue a certificate to the applicant.

New section 38P provides for conditions to be imposed on a certificate. All certificates are issued subject to the condition that whenever the shooting range is operating there must be on duty a manager who holds a firearms licence and is appropriately trained in shooting range management. The Commissioner may impose any other conditions the Commissioner considers appropriate, which may include restrictions on the types of firearms and ammunition that may be used at the shooting range and the competitions that may be conducted.

New section 38Q provides that a certificate expires 5 years from its date of issue unless sooner surrendered or cancelled.

New section 38R provides for the cancellation of the certification by the Commissioner.

New section 38S provides for a renewal of a certification.

New section 38T provides for inspections by the Police of shooting clubs and shooting ranges.

New section 38U provides for the issue of an improvement notice to a shooting club or shooting range if the club or range is contravening, or likely to contravene, the principal Act or any regulations made under the principal Act.

New section 38V provides for the suspension of the operations of a shooting club or shooting range that fails to comply with an improvement notice.

New Part 7 provides, in new sections 38W to 38ZF, for certain government agencies to have direct access to the registry.

New section 38W is an interpretation provision for new Part 7 and defines terms used in that Part, including accessing agency, import and export information, and licence information.

New section 38X sets out the relationship between new Part 7 and other laws relating to information disclosure.

New section 38Y provides that the Department of Conservation may have direct access to a licence holder’s licence information recorded in the registry to provide administrative assistance to the Director-General of Conservation in relation to the issue of hunting permits under section 38 of the Conservation Act 1987.

New section 38Z provides that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Customs Service may have direct access to a licence holder’s import and export information recorded in the registry to assist those agencies in performing or exercising their functions, duties, and powers more efficiently or effectively.

New section 38ZA requires the direct access authorised by new section 38Y or 38Z to be in accordance with a written direct access agreement entered into between the Minister responsible for the accessing agency and the Minister of Police.

New section 38ZB sets out the matters that the Ministers must have regard to before entering into an agreement.

New section 38ZC provides that, before entering into an agreement, the Ministers must consult the Privacy Commissioner and the Commissioner’s Firearms Advisory Group established under new section 88 (inserted by clause 83).

New section 38ZD specifies the matters that must be included in the content of an agreement.

New section 38ZE provides for the variation of the agreement.

New section 38ZF sets out the requirements for the publication of the agreement.

Clause 54 repeals sections 39 to 41 of the principal Act and the cross-heading above section 39.

Clause 55 inserts new section 41A into the principal Act, which relates to the marking of firearms. The new section applies to all firearms, parts, and magazines possessed by firearm licence holders, including those manufactured in or imported into NZ, but does not apply to antique firearms. Those items will be required to be marked in accordance with regulations made under section 74, and no compensation is payable for any loss of value that results or for the costs of marking an item.

Clause 56 replaces the cross-heading above section 42 of the principal Act with a new Part 8 heading (offences).

Clause 57 replaces section 42 of the principal Act (offences in respect of licences). New section 42 is substantially the same as existing section 42, but increases the penalty on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $20,000, but both penalties cannot be imposed. It will also be an offence to use another person’s licence intending to obtain a magazine or ammunition.

Clause 58 replaces section 43 of the principal Act (selling or supplying firearm or airgun to unlicensed person). New section 43 is substantially the same as existing section 43, but increases the penalty on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or a fine not exceeding $20,000, but both penalties cannot be imposed.

Clause 59 replaces section 43A of the principal Act, which relates to the sale, by mail order or an Internet transaction, of firearms and ammunition. The burden of proof imposed on a defendant by section 43(2) is retained, and the penalty on conviction for breaching section 43A, without reasonable excuse, is increased to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 60 repeals section 43A of the principal Act once the registry and the associated obligations are operating.

Clause 61 repeals section 43B of the principal Act, as new section 22C (inserted by clause 31) now deals with the restrictions on the sale and supply of ammunition.

Clause 62 replaces the offence in section 44 of the principal Act (selling or supplying pistol or restricted weapon to person who does not hold permit to possess). The provisions in existing section 44 that place the burden of proof on the defendant no longer apply, and the penalty, on conviction, is increased.

Clause 63 replaces the offence in section 46 of the principal Act (carrying of imitation firearm, except for lawful, proper, and sufficient purpose). The penalty, on conviction, is decreased, but the burden of proving that the defendant is carrying an imitation firearm for some lawful, proper, and sufficient purpose remains with the defendant.

Clause 64 replaces the offence in section 48 of the principal Act (discharging firearm, airgun, pistol, or restricted weapon in or near dwellinghouse or public place). The amendment increases the penalty on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 65 amends section 50D of the principal Act, which provides that it is an offence to carry or possess a prohibited firearm in a public place without a lawful purpose. The amendment decreases the penalty, on conviction, from a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

Clause 66 amends section 52 of the principal Act, which provides that it is an offence to present a firearm, airgun, pistol, or restricted weapon at another person. The amendment increases the penalty, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 67 amends section 53A(2) of the principal Act, which provides that it is an offence to possess a prohibited firearm at the time of committing an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment for 3 years or more. The penalty for this offence is decreased from a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

Clause 68 amends section 54 of the principal Act (use or attempted use of firearm, etc, to resist or prevent arrest or commit offence). This offence provision is extended to apply to airguns.

Clause 69 amends section 55B of the principal Act (offence of failing to produce firearm, etc, on demand or to permit inspection of firearm, etc) to clarify in its heading that it does not apply to non-prohibited firearms. The penalty for this offence, on conviction, is also increased to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 70 inserts new section 55C into the principal Act, which creates an offence for failing to produce a firearm (other than a pistol, restricted weapon, or prohibited firearm) if demanded by a member of the Police, or failing to permit a member of the Police to inspect the firearm or where it is kept. It is a companion provision to section 55B (amended by clause 69). The penalty for this offence is a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 70 also inserts new sections 55D to 55I into the principal Act, which relate to offences that are intended to enable New Zealand to accede to the Firearms Protocol.

New section 55D creates offences that relate to using illegal parts, manufacturing without a dealer’s licence, and failing to mark a firearm in accordance with the principal Act or the regulations. The maximum penalty on conviction for those offences is imprisonment for a term of 10 years.

New section 55E creates offences that relate to illegal trafficking of firearms, parts, or ammunition. The maximum penalty on conviction for those offences is imprisonment for a term of 10 years.

New section 55F creates offences that relate to falsifying firearm markings. The maximum penalty on conviction for those offences is imprisonment for a term of 10 years.

New section 55G creates an offence that relates to removing or altering firearm markings. The maximum penalty on conviction for that offence is imprisonment for a term of 3 years.

New section 55H provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction for the offences against new sections 55D, 55E, 55F, and 55G.

New section 55I requires the Attorney-General’s consent to a prosecution for those new offences.

Clause 71 inserts new section 58A into the principal Act, which creates offences relating to the registry. The new offences are,—

  • without reasonable excuse, failing to provide information to the Police in accordance with new section 94 (inserted by clause 83):

  • intentionally failing to provide information to the Police in accordance with new section 94:

  • providing information to the Police for inclusion in the registry knowing the information to be false or misleading in a material respect.

The penalty, on conviction, for the first of those new offences is a fine not exceeding $10,000. The penalty, on conviction, for the second and third of those new offences is to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Clause 72 amends section 59 of the principal Act, which empowers the Police to serve on the owner of any unsafe firearm or pistol a notice requiring the owner to have the firearm or pistol repaired to a safe standard. Failure to comply with a notice without reasonable excuse is an offence and the penalty, on conviction, is increased to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Clause 73 inserts a new Part 9 heading (miscellaneous provisions) after section 59 of the principal Act.

Clause 74 amends section 59A of the principal Act to replace references to an Arms Office, which is a outdated term, and to provide that a licensed dealer who takes into their possession a pistol, restricted weapon, or prohibited item does not contravene section 10 if within 5 working days they surrender it to the Police.

Clause 75 inserts new sections 60 to 60B into the principal Act.

New section 60 enables the Police to issue an improvement notice if they reasonably believe that a person with a firearms or dealer’s licence is failing, or is likely to fail, to comply with 1 or more applicable provisions of the principal Act or regulations.

New section 60A provides for the temporary suspension of a firearms or dealer’s licence on any ground specified in the section, including failure to comply with an improvement notice.

New section 60B states the effect of a temporary suspension of a licence. If a firearms licence is suspended, the holder is treated as not being licensed under the principal Act and section 28(1) and (2) applies so that the holder must hand over the affected firearms or other items on demand by the Police, although the holder may sell or dispose of a firearm and other items with Police approval. If a dealer’s licence is suspended, the holder, and employees of the holder, are treated as being unauthorised to carry out any dealer activity. This section also provides that, if a person’s firearms licence is suspended and the person holds a dealer’s licence, the dealer’s licence is automatically suspended.

Clause 76 replaces section 62 of the principal Act with new sections 62 to 62C.

Currently, section 62 provides a right of appeal to the District Court against certain official decisions under the principal Act that affect licences, permits, endorsements, or conditions. The new sections provide for a new first step in the case of a decision to refuse an application for, or to revoke, a firearms licence. That new step involves a review of the decision concerned. This review will be a prerequisite for an appeal to the District Court.

New section 62 relates to the review of a decision to refuse an application for, or to revoke, a firearms licence.

New section 62A specifies how a review is to be conducted. The Commissioner must delegate this task to a person not involved in making the original decision. The review will be conducted on the papers within a 28-day period that starts on the day after the day on which the application is lodged.

New sections 62B and 62C continue the existing right of appeal to the District Court, subject to completion of the review process in an applicable case.

Clause 77 consequentially amends section 64 of the principal Act to continue the right of appeal to the High Court on a question of law against the District Court’s decision under new section 62B.

Clause 78 replaces the cross-heading above section 66 of the principal Act.

Clause 79 inserts new sections 66A to 66D into the principal Act.

New section 66A replaces section 39 of the principal Act and requires the owner of a firearm, prohibited magazine, prohibited part, restricted weapon, non-prohibited part, or non-prohibited magazine that is lost, stolen, or destroyed to immediately notify the Police and give the Police all information in their possession relating to the loss, theft, or destruction. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty on conviction of $10,000.

New section 66B replaces section 40 of the principal Act, which requires a person in possession of a firearm, airgun, pistol, magazine, part, or restricted weapon or ammunition to give their name, address, and date of birth to the Police if requested. Failure to do so is an offence and new section 66B increases the penalty, on conviction, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 66C replaces section 41 of the principal Act, which requires a person who is not the holder of a licence to surrender to the Police on demand any airgun or antique firearm in the person’s possession. The Police may demand the surrender of the item if it is considered that the person is not a fit and proper person to have possession of that item. Failure to surrender the item is an offence and new section 66C increases the penalty, on conviction, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

New section 66D requires the owner or operator of a craft temporarily berthed in New Zealand to provide details of all arms items on board the craft and to comply with any directions they are given relating to the secure storage of those items. If they fail to do so, the Police or a Customs officer may board the craft and seize and detain the arms items, using any reasonably necessary force to do so.

Clause 80 replaces section 69 of the principal Act with a new provision which is substantially the same as existing section 69, but provides that, in any case where a person is convicted of an offence of using, carrying, or being in possession of a specified item, the convicting court need not order the forfeiture of the item if the court considers it would be unjust to make that order.

Clause 81 amends section 72A of the principal Act, which relates to the service of notices and other documents. The amendment provides for a notice or document to be made available electronically through the registry, so long as an email is sent to an address supplied by the person to tell them the notice or document has been made available and the person has agreed to receive notices or documents in this way.

Clause 82 amends section 74 of the principal Act, under which regulations may be made. This clause expands section 74 to enable regulations to be made in relation to the following:

  • advertising, promoting, and displaying of any firearm, firearm part, magazine, or ammunition by persons who sell or hire any of those items:

  • notices given by health practitioners under new section 91 (inserted by clause 83):

  • the operation of the registry:

  • the marking of firearms, parts, and magazines:

  • the provision of information:

  • the Advisory Group established under new section 88 (inserted by clause 83).

Clause 83 inserts new sections 79 to 95 into the principal Act.

New sections 79 to 86 provide for the making of cost recovery regulations for activities undertaken by the Police under the principal Act. These provisions are based on the cost recovery regime in Part 4A of the Policing Act 2008.

New section 79 states the purpose of those provisions.

New section 80 lists the activities that may be the subject of cost recovery regulations.

New section 81 sets out the criteria for cost recovery.

New section 82 requires the Minister of Police to consult relevant people before recommending the making of cost recovery regulations under new section 86(a).

New section 83 specifies the different methods of cost recovery.

New section 84 relates to payment of fees and charges.

New section 85 provides for exemptions, waivers, and refunds that relate to fees and charges.

New section 86 sets out the regulation-making powers.

New section 87 enables the Commissioner to issue guidance notices for the purposes of the principal Act.

New sections 88 to 90 provide for the appointment and operation of the Commissioner’s Firearms Advisory Group.

New section 91 obliges health practitioners to consider notifying the Police if they think there are medical grounds for preventing a patient who is a firearms licence holder from using or possessing a firearm or for limiting the patient’s use or possession of a firearm. If the Police receive a notice under this section, the Commissioner can require the licence holder to undergo a further medical assessment or surrender their licence. The Police may temporarily suspend a licence under new section 60A. Section 27 of the principal Act enables a commissioned officer of the Police to revoke a person’s firearms licence if satisfied that the person is not a fit and proper person to be in possession of a firearm.

New sections 92 and 93 provide for a registry to be kept and operated for the purposes of the principal Act. The registry must record, for every licence held under the principal Act, the licence holder’s full name, date of birth, address, and licence number, the date of expiry of the licence, every endorsement on the licence, every condition on an endorsement, and particulars that regulations made under section 74 of the principal Act require to be recorded in the registry.

New section 94 imposes an obligation to provide information to the Police for the registry.

New section 95 provides for the Minister of Police to review of the operation of the principal Act, including the impact of the provisions in this Bill, when the amendments have been fully in force for 5 years.

Clause 84 inserts new Part 2 of Schedule 1 into the principal Act.

Part 2Amendments to other enactments

Subpart 1—Amendments to Extradition Act 1999

Clause 85 amends the Extradition Act 1999 to deem the offences in new sections 55C to 55F of the Arms Act 1983 (inserted by clause 70) to be offences described in extradition treaties concluded between New Zealand and any country party to the Protocol against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (the Protocol).

Subpart 2—Amendment to Intelligence and Security Act 2017

Clause 86 amends the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 to enable the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service to have direct access to the Police database holding information about people and firearms collected in connection with the performance or exercise of a function, duty, or power under the Arms Act 1983. This sharing of information will assist Police in determining whether a person is a fit and proper person to possess firearms or airguns.

Subpart 3—Amendment to Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992

Clause 87 amends the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 to enable a foreign country that is a party to the Protocol to request New Zealand’s assistance in relation to the commission or suspected commission of offences that correspond to offences under new sections 55D to 55G of the Arms Act 1983 (inserted by clause 70).

Subpart 4—Consequential amendments

Clause 88 consequentially amends the Acts and regulations set out in Schedule 2 of the Bill.