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Armed violence prevention, gun control laws and the small arms trade:

New Zealand — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in New Zealand is

2016: 1,320,0001 2 3
2010: 48,180
2009: 1,200,0004
2005: 925,0005

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

ChartThe estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in New Zealand is

2016: 29.506 7 3
2010: 1.13
2009: 28.48
2005: 22.65

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In New Zealand, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 460,0008. In the absence of registration for most rifles, only an approximation is possible

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In New Zealand, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 300,0008. In the absence of registration for most shotguns, only an approximation is possible

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In New Zealand, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 36,0009 registered

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, New Zealand ranked at No. 5410

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, New Zealand ranked at No. 225

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn New Zealand, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2005: 16.6%11
1992/94: 24.4%11
1992: 22.3%12

Proportion of Households with Rifles

In New Zealand, the percentage of households with one or more rifles is reported to be

1992: 18.2%12

Proportion of Households with Shotguns

In New Zealand, the percentage of households with one or more shotguns is reported to be

1992: 14.0%12

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn New Zealand, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2005: 0.6%11
1992/94: 1.6%11 12

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

ChartThe number of licensed gun owners in New Zealand is reported to be

2016: 250,00013
2013: 237,68414
2010: 223,0009

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in New Zealand is

2016: 5.596
2013: 5.45
2010: 5.24

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in New Zealand is reported to be

2016: 1,200,00013
2010: 43,8009

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in New Zealand is

2016: 26.826
2010: 1.03

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in New Zealand there are estimated to be

2016: 120,0001 15 3
2010: 4,380

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in New Zealand the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2016: 2.686
2010: 0.10

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of New Zealand are reported to have 41,73716 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In New Zealand, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm17 18

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in New Zealand are reported to have 1,80019 20 to 2,00021 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn New Zealand, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 5122 23
2009: 7122
2008: 56
2007: 55
2006: 58
2005: 55
2004: 48
2003: 55
2002: 60
2001: 60
2000: 52
1999: 54
1998: 84
1997: 70
1996: 66
1995: 80
1994: 92
1993: 92
1992: 122
1991: 106
1990: 108
1989: 90
1988: 140

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 1.2022
2009: 1.60
2008: 1.30
2007: 1.30
2006: 1.40
2005: 1.30
2004: 1.20
2003: 1.40
2002: 1.50
2001: 1.50
2000: 1.30
1999: 1.40
1998: 2.20
1997: 1.90
1996: 1.80
1995: 2.20
1994: 2.50
1993: 2.60
1992: 3.50
1991: 3.00
1990: 3.10
1989: 2.60
1988: 4.10

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn New Zealand, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 8324
2012: 6824 25
2011: 8324 25 26
2010: 5527 25 26 24 28
2009: 8527 25 26 24
2008: 53
2007: 57
2006: 66
2005: 72
2004: 49
2003: 58
2002: 70
2001: 53
2000: 56
1999: 5127 26 24
1998: 57
1997: 69
1996: 69
1995: 47
1994: 7027 24
1993: 5127
1992: 82
1991: 66
1990: 78
1989: 72
1988: 58

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2013: 1.906
2012: 1.576 25
2011: 0.925 26
2010: 1.3027 25 26 28
2009: 2.0027 25 26
2008: 1.2027 29 25 26
2007: 1.30
2006: 1.60
2005: 1.70
2004: 1.20
2003: 1.40
2002: 1.80
2001: 1.40
2000: 1.50
1999: 1.3027 29 26
1998: 1.50
1997: 1.80
1996: 1.80
1995: 1.30
1994: 1.9027
1993: 1.40
1992: 2.30
1991: 1.90
1990: 2.30
1989: 2.10
1988: 1.70

Gun Homicides

ChartIn New Zealand, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 830
2012: 325 30
2011: 3
2010: 731 25 30 23
2009: 1231 25 30
2008: 731 25 26 30
2007: 5
2006: 8
2005: 8
2004: 631 30
2003: 6
2002: 931 26 30
2001: 7
2000: 8
1999: 6
1998: 4
1997: 11
1996: 9
1995: 8
1994: 1731 30
1993: 631
1992: 15
1991: 11
1990: 24
1989: 18
1988: 18

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.186
2012: 0.07
2011: 0.07
2010: 0.2031 6
2009: 0.30
2008: 0.2031 6 26
2007: 0.10
2006: 0.20
2005: 0.20
2004: 0.1031
2003: 0.10
2002: 0.2031 26
2001: 0.20
2000: 0.20
1999: 0.20
1997: 0.30
1996: 0.20
1995: 0.20
1994: 0.5031
1993: 0.20
1992: 0.40
1991: 0.30
1990: 0.70
1989: 0.50
1988: 0.50

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn New Zealand, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2012: 7%25
2011: 8%
2010: 16%25 28
2009: 16%25
2008: 14%
2007: 13%
2006: 18%
2005: 15%
2002: 16.7%26
2001: 11.8%
2000: 13.5%
1999: 10.0%
1998: 7.5%
1997: 19.7%
1996: 16.4%
1995: 22.5%

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn New Zealand, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 47832
2010: 53633 32
2009: 512
2008: 518
2007: 496
2006: 527
2005: 515
2004: 495
2003: 521
2002: 467
2001: 508
2000: 458
1999: 515
1998: 577
1997: 561
1996: 540
1995: 543
1994: 512
1993: 443
1992: 493
1991: 474
1990: 455
1989: 465
1988: 484

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 10.632
2010: 12.3033 32
2009: 11.90
2008: 12.10
2007: 11.70
2006: 12.60
2005: 12.50
2004: 12.10
2003: 12.90
2002: 11.80
2001: 13.10
2000: 11.90
1999: 13.40
1998: 15.10
1997: 14.80
1996: 14.50
1995: 14.80
1994: 14.10
1993: 12.40
1992: 14.00
1991: 13.60
1990: 13.20
1989: 13.60
1988: 14.30

Gun Suicides

ChartIn New Zealand, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 3634
2010: 4235 34 23
2009: 5335 34
2008: 42
2007: 48
2006: 48
2005: 44
2004: 39
2003: 41
2002: 49
2001: 51
2000: 36
1999: 46
1998: 72
1997: 56
1996: 4735
1995: 64
1994: 71
1993: 73
1992: 91
1991: 84
1990: 72
1989: 64
1988: 102

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.846
2010: 1.0035
2009: 1.20
2008: 1.00
2007: 1.10
2006: 1.10
2005: 1.10
2004: 1.00
2003: 1.00
2002: 1.20
2001: 1.30
2000: 0.90
1999: 1.20
1998: 1.90
1997: 1.50
1996: 1.30
1995: 1.70
1994: 2.00
1993: 2.00
1992: 2.60
1991: 2.40
1990: 2.10
1989: 1.90
1988: 3.00

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn New Zealand, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2010: 236 23
2009: 436
2008: 5
2007: 1
2006: 2
2005: 2
2004: 2
2003: 7
2002: 2
2001: 2
2000: 4
1999: 1
1998: 636 37
1997: 0
1996: 6
1995: 4
1994: 4
1993: 3
1992: 10
1991: 8
1990: 8
1989: 6
1988: 18

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.056
2009: 0.09
2008: 0.1036
2007: 0.026
2006: 0.05
2005: 0.05
2004: 0.05
2003: 0.2036
2002: 0.056
2001: 0.05
2000: 0.11
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.2036
1997: 0.006
1996: 0.2036
1995: 0.116
1994: 0.11
1993: 0.08
1992: 0.3036
1991: 0.20
1990: 0.20
1989: 0.20
1988: 0.50

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn New Zealand, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 038
2009: 2
2008: 2
2007: 1
2006: 0
2005: 1
2004: 1
2003: 1
2002: 0
2001: 0
2000: 4
1999: 1
1998: 2
1997: 3
1996: 4
1995: 4
1994: 0
1993: 10
1992: 6
1991: 3
1990: 4
1989: 2
1988: 2

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.006
2009: 0.05
2008: 0.05
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.00
2005: 0.02
2004: 0.02
2003: 0.03
2002: 0.00
2001: 0.00
2000: 0.11
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.05
1997: 0.08
1996: 0.11
1995: 0.11
1994: 0.00
1993: 0.338
1992: 0.2
1991: 0.096
1990: 0.12
1989: 0.06
1988: 0.06

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2012: 5939
2011: 61
2010: 80
2009: 77
2008: 92
2007: 69
2006: 77
2005: 60
2004: 62
2003: 88
2002: 65
2001: 59
2000: 54
1999: 45
1998: 51
1997: 59
1996: 64
1995: 56
1994: 60
1993: 70
1992: 72
1991: 91
1990: 92
1989: 89
1988: 97

Rate of Non-fatal Gun Injury per 100,000 People

ChartIn New Zealand, the annual rate of non-fatal firearm injury per 100,000 population is

2012: 1.3039
2011: 1.40
2010: 1.80
2009: 1.80
2008: 2.20
2007: 1.60
2006: 1.80
2005: 1.50
2004: 1.50
2003: 2.20
2002: 1.60
2001: 1.50
2000: 1.40
1999: 1.20
1998: 1.30
1997: 1.60
1996: 1.70
1995: 1.50
1994: 1.70
1993: 2.00
1992: 2.00
1991: 2.60
1990: 2.70
1989: 2.60
1988: 2.90

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In New Zealand, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence40 41

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, New Zealand was ranked 'small'42 41

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law43 44 45 46 47

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,556,66448 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, New Zealand was categorized as 'minor'49

Firearm Imports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law50 51 52 53 43 45 46 54 55

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,807,60348 (2011)56 57 58 59

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in New Zealand is low60 61 62 63

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In New Zealand, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law64

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in New Zealand include45 44 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in New Zealand is categorised as restrictive65

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in New Zealand includes the Arms Act 1983,66 the Arms Amendment Act 1992,67 the Arms Regulations 1992,68 and the Customs Export Prohibition Order44

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in New Zealand are regulated by the Commissioner of Police69 19

Right to Possess Firearms

In New Zealand, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law70 71 72 73

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In New Zealand, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, military-style semi-automatic weapons or fully automatic firearms without a permit to purchase and a relevant firearm licence endorsement74 75 76 77 78 79 80

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In New Zealand, private possession of fully automatic weapons is restricted to police-approved licensed gun owners with a ‘collector' licence endorsement.74 76 77 28 Each automatic or restricted weapon must be registered to its owner, and disabled when not in use81

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In New Zealand, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is restricted to police-approved licensed gun owners with a Military-Style Semi Automatic (MSSA) licence endorsement.82 75 74 77 78 79 Each MSSA must be registered to its owner and securely stored when not in use81

Regulation of Handguns

In New Zealand, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is restricted to police-approved licensed gun owners with a ‘pistol’ licence endorsement.76 75 74 83 78 79 28 Each handgun must be registered to its owner and securely stored81

Law Regulates Long Guns

In New Zealand, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law28

Gun Ownership and Possession

In New Zealand, only licensed gun owners78 84 74 85 86 87 79 76 28 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in New Zealand are not legally required to establish a genuine reason to possess a standard hunting or sports shooting firearm, but specific reasoning is required for special licence endorsements for pistols, restricted firearms, and Military Style Semi-Automatic weapons, including sports shooting, hunting, and collection.86 80 Owning a firearm for self-defence is specifically excluded, and prohibited73

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in New Zealand is 16 years,74 88 84 18 years for military style semi-automatic firearms,82 or any age while shooting an unrestricted firearm (shotgun, rifle, or airgun) under the immediate supervision of an appropriately qualified licence holder89

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in New Zealand must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical, addiction and domestic violence90 91 92 78 79 93 28 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In New Zealand, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required90 78 79 94 95

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In New Zealand, licensing authorities are required90 78 to conduct interviews with, or to advise an applicant's spouse, partner, or next of kin before issuing a gun licence

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in New Zealand stipulates91 96 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In New Zealand, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required97 98 99 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In New Zealand, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every ten years100 101

Licensing Records

In New Zealand, authorities maintain a record79 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in New Zealand are permitted to possess any number of sporting type shotguns or rifles102

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in New Zealand are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition103 104 105

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In New Zealand, the law does not require (except for handguns, military-style semi-automatic and restricted firearms)106 78 79 107 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In New Zealand, licensed firearm dealers are required108 109 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In New Zealand, licensed gun makers are required40 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In New Zealand, State agencies are required110 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In New Zealand, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited without a valid firearms licence111 112

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In New Zealand, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful113 114 86

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in New Zealand is obliged112 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks for Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in New Zealand is obliged112 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In New Zealand, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to one pistol, military style semi-automatic firearm, or restricted firearm per acquisition permit75 115

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In New Zealand, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined103 104 105

Regulation of Gun Shows

In New Zealand, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated116 117 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in New Zealand include90 81 78 79 118 119 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in New Zealand include120 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in New Zealand include110 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in New Zealand include121 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In New Zealand, a unique identifying mark on each firearm only in the handgun, military-style semi-automatic and restricted weapon categories is required by law122 123 40 41 124 125 126 127

Firearm Tracing

In New Zealand, state authorities carry out128 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In New Zealand, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not103 104 105 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In New Zealand, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited129 130 131 28

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In New Zealand, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited130 131 129 28

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In New Zealand, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm132 is three months to three years in prison and/or a fine74 133 84

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Small Arms Destroyed

In New Zealand, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2015: 3,500134

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In New Zealand, it is state policy135 136 99 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Pacific Islands Forum

As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand adopted the March, 2000 Nadi Framework agreement, which aims to harmonise small arm-related legislation across Oceania. In August 2003, the Nadi Framework’s draft model Weapons Control Bill was unanimously accepted for consideration by all 16 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum137 138

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 2006139 by New Zealand.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified140 by New Zealand

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed141 by New Zealand

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, New Zealand committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects142

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored New Zealand against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 83143 144 145 146 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, New Zealand has submitted one or more national reports147 127 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In New Zealand, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated148 127

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In New Zealand, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated148

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of New Zealand submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent148 127

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated149 150 151 127 by New Zealand to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, New Zealand has declared152 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, New Zealand has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945153

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists154 New Zealand as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Global Peace Index

To see where New Zealand ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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