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New Zealand — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in New Zealand is 925,0001 to 1,200,0002. In the absence of registration for most firearms, only an approximation is possible

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in New Zealand is estimated to be 22.61 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In New Zealand, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 460,0003. 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 300,0003. In the absence of registration for most shotguns, only an approximation is possible

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

There are reportedly 36,0004 registered handguns in civilian possession in New Zealand

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, New Zealand ranked at No. 545

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, New Zealand ranked at No. 221

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

The number of licensed gun owners in New Zealand is reported to be 223,0004

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

The rate of licensed firearm owners per 100 people in New Zealand is 5.246

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in New Zealand is reported to be 43,8004. Of these, approximately 36,000 are privately owned pistols and revolvers, and 7,800 are military-style semi-automatic weapons (MSSAs)4

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in New Zealand is 1.036

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of New Zealand are reported to have 41,7377 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In New Zealand, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm8

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in New Zealand are reported to have 1,8009 to 2,00010 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn New Zealand, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 5111
2009: 71
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: 1.2011
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: 8312
2012: 68
2011: 3913 12
2010: 5514 13 12
2009: 85
2008: 53
2007: 57
2006: 66
2005: 72
2004: 49
2003: 58
2002: 70
2001: 53
2000: 56
1999: 51
1998: 57
1997: 69
1996: 69
1995: 47
1994: 7014 12
1993: 5114
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: 1.57
2011: 0.9013
2010: 1.3014 13
2009: 2.00
2008: 1.2014 15 13
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: 1.30
1998: 1.50
1997: 1.80
1996: 1.80
1995: 1.30
1994: 1.9014
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: 816
2012: 3
2011: 3
2010: 717 16
2009: 12
2008: 717 13 16
2007: 5
2006: 8
2005: 8
2004: 617 16
2003: 6
2002: 917 13 16
2001: 7
2000: 8
1999: 6
1998: 4
1997: 11
1996: 9
1995: 8
1994: 1717 16
1993: 617
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: 0.2017
2009: 0.30
2008: 0.2017 13
2007: 0.10
2006: 0.20
2005: 0.20
2004: 0.1017
2003: 0.10
2002: 0.2017 13
2001: 0.20
2000: 0.20
1999: 0.20
1997: 0.30
1996: 0.20
1995: 0.20
1994: 0.5017
1993: 0.20
1992: 0.40
1991: 0.30
1990: 0.70
1989: 0.50
1988: 0.50

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn New Zealand, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 47818
2010: 53619 18
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: 10.618
2010: 12.3019 18
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: 3620
2010: 4221 20
2009: 53
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: 4721
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: 1.0021
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: 222
2009: 4
2008: 5
2007: 1
2006: 2
2005: 2
2004: 2
2003: 7
2002: 2
2001: 2
2000: 4
1999: 1
1998: 622 23
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: 0.1022
2007: 0.026
2006: 0.05
2005: 0.05
2004: 0.05
2003: 0.2022
2002: 0.056
2001: 0.05
2000: 0.11
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.2022
1997: 0.006
1996: 0.2022
1995: 0.116
1994: 0.11
1993: 0.08
1992: 0.3022
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: 024
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: 0.324
1992: 0.2
1991: 0.096
1990: 0.12
1989: 0.06
1988: 0.06

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

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

2012: 5925
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 reported, or estimated annual rate or proportion of non-fatal firearm injury is

2012: 1.3025
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 licence26

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, New Zealand is ranked 'small'27 26

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law28 29

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,556,66430 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, New Zealand is categorized as 'minor'31

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,807,60330 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in New Zealand is low39 40 41 42

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In New Zealand, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law43

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in New Zealand include28 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 restrictive44

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in New Zealand includes the Arms Act 1983,45 the Arms Amendment Act 1992,46 the Arms Regulations 1992,47 and the Customs Export Prohibition Order28

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in New Zealand are regulated by the Commissioner of Police48 9

Right to Possess Firearms

In New Zealand, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law49 50

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 endorsement51 52 53 54 55 56 57

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.51 53 54 Each automatic or restricted weapon must be registered to its owner, and disabled when not in use58

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.59 52 51 54 55 56 Each MSSA must be registered to its owner and securely stored when not in use58

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.53 52 51 60 55 56 Each handgun must be registered to its owner and securely stored58

Gun Ownership and Possession

In New Zealand, only licensed gun owners55 61 51 62 63 64 56 53 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 prove 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.63 57 Owning a firearm for self-defence is specifically excluded, and prohibited50

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in New Zealand is 16 years,51 65 61 18 years for military style semi-automatic firearms,59 and any age while shooting an unrestricted firearm (shotgun, rifle, or airgun) under the immediate supervision of an appropriately qualified licence holder66

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in New Zealand must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental, medical, addiction and domestic violence67 68 69 55 56 70 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In New Zealand, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required67 55 56 71 72

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In New Zealand, licensing authorities are required67 55 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 stipulates68 73 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 required74 75 76 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 years77 78

Licensing Records

In New Zealand, authorities maintain a record56 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 rifles79

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in New Zealand are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition80 81 82

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In New Zealand, the law for only handguns, military-style semi-automatic and restricted firearms requires36 55 56 83 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 required84 85 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in New Zealand is not obliged86 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In New Zealand, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted with a valid firearms licence87 86

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In New Zealand, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful88 89 63

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 1 pistol, military style semi-automatic firearm, or restricted firearm per acquisition permit52 90

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In New Zealand, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined80 81 82

Regulation of Gun Shows

In New Zealand, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated91 92 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in New Zealand include67 58 55 56 93 94 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 include95 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 do not include80 81 82 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in New Zealand include96 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 law97 98 26 99 100

Firearm Tracing

In New Zealand, state authorities do not carry out80 81 82 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In New Zealand, state authorities do not employ80 81 82 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In New Zealand, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited101 102 103

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In New Zealand, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited102 103 101

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In New Zealand, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is 3 months to 3 years prison and/or a fine51 104 61

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In New Zealand, it is state policy105 76 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 Forum106 107

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 2006108 by New Zealand.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified109 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 signed110 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 Aspects111

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 reports112 100 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 designated113 100

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In New Zealand, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated113

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of New Zealand submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent113 100

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated114 115 116 100 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 declared117 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 1945118

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists119 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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