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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

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

In New Zealand, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 36,0004 registered

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

Proportion of Households with Firearms

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

2004/05: 16.6%6
1992/94: 24.4%6
1992: 22.3%7

Proportion of Households with Rifles

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

1992: 18.2%7

Proportion of Households with Shotguns

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

1992: 14.0%7

Proportion of Households with Handguns

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

2004/05: 0.6%6
1992/94: 1.6%6 7

Number of Licensed Firearm Owners

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

2013: 237,6848
2010: 223,0004

Rate of Licensed Firearm Owners per 100 Population

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

2013: 5.459
2010: 5.24

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 1.039

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of New Zealand are reported to have 41,73710 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In New Zealand, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm11

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in New Zealand are reported to have 1,80012 13 to 2,00014 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn New Zealand, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2010: 5115 16
2009: 7115
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: 1.2015
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: 8317
2012: 6817 18
2011: 8317 18 19
2010: 5520 18 19 17 21
2009: 8520 18 19 17
2008: 53
2007: 57
2006: 66
2005: 72
2004: 49
2003: 58
2002: 70
2001: 53
2000: 56
1999: 5120 19 17
1998: 57
1997: 69
1996: 69
1995: 47
1994: 7020 17
1993: 5120
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: 1.909
2012: 1.579 18
2011: 0.918 19
2010: 1.3020 18 19 21
2009: 2.0020 18 19
2008: 1.2020 22 18 19
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: 1.3020 22 19
1998: 1.50
1997: 1.80
1996: 1.80
1995: 1.30
1994: 1.9020
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: 823
2012: 318 23
2011: 3
2010: 724 18 23 16
2009: 1224 18 23
2008: 724 18 19 23
2007: 5
2006: 8
2005: 8
2004: 624 23
2003: 6
2002: 924 19 23
2001: 7
2000: 8
1999: 6
1998: 4
1997: 11
1996: 9
1995: 8
1994: 1724 23
1993: 624
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: 0.189
2012: 0.07
2011: 0.07
2010: 0.2024 9
2009: 0.30
2008: 0.2024 9 19
2007: 0.10
2006: 0.20
2005: 0.20
2004: 0.1024
2003: 0.10
2002: 0.2024 19
2001: 0.20
2000: 0.20
1999: 0.20
1997: 0.30
1996: 0.20
1995: 0.20
1994: 0.5024
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%18
2011: 8%
2010: 16%18 21
2009: 16%18
2008: 14%
2007: 13%
2006: 18%
2005: 15%
2002: 16.7%19
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: 47825
2010: 53626 25
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: 10.625
2010: 12.3026 25
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: 3627
2010: 4228 27 16
2009: 5328 27
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: 4728
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: 0.849
2010: 1.0028
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: 229 16
2009: 429
2008: 5
2007: 1
2006: 2
2005: 2
2004: 2
2003: 7
2002: 2
2001: 2
2000: 4
1999: 1
1998: 629 30
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: 0.059
2009: 0.09
2008: 0.1029
2007: 0.029
2006: 0.05
2005: 0.05
2004: 0.05
2003: 0.2029
2002: 0.059
2001: 0.05
2000: 0.11
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.2029
1997: 0.009
1996: 0.2029
1995: 0.119
1994: 0.11
1993: 0.08
1992: 0.3029
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: 031
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: 0.009
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: 0.331
1992: 0.2
1991: 0.099
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: 5932
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: 1.3032
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 licence33

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, New Zealand was ranked 'small'34 33

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law35 36

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,556,66437 (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'38

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In New Zealand, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to New Zealand is reported by Customs to be US$3,807,60337 (2011)46 47 48 49

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in New Zealand is low50 51 52 53

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In New Zealand, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are not specifically regulated by law54

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in New Zealand include35 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 restrictive55

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in New Zealand includes the Arms Act 1983,56 the Arms Amendment Act 1992,57 the Arms Regulations 1992,58 and the Customs Export Prohibition Order35

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in New Zealand are regulated by the Commissioner of Police59 12

Right to Possess Firearms

In New Zealand, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law60 61 62 63

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 endorsement64 65 66 67 68 69 70

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.64 66 67 21 Each automatic or restricted weapon must be registered to its owner, and disabled when not in use71

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.72 65 64 67 68 69 Each MSSA must be registered to its owner and securely stored when not in use71

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.66 65 64 73 68 69 21 Each handgun must be registered to its owner and securely stored71

Law Regulates Long Guns

In New Zealand, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law21

Gun Ownership and Possession

In New Zealand, only licensed gun owners68 74 64 75 76 77 69 66 21 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.76 70 Owning a firearm for self-defence is specifically excluded, and prohibited63

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in New Zealand is 16 years,64 78 74 18 years for military style semi-automatic firearms,72 or any age while shooting an unrestricted firearm (shotgun, rifle, or airgun) under the immediate supervision of an appropriately qualified licence holder79

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 violence80 81 82 68 69 83 21 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In New Zealand, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required80 68 69 84 85

Partner to be Advised or Interviewed

In New Zealand, licensing authorities are required80 68 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 stipulates81 86 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 required87 88 89 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 years90 91

Licensing Records

In New Zealand, authorities maintain a record69 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 rifles92

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in New Zealand are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition93 94 95

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In New Zealand, the law does not require (except for handguns, military-style semi-automatic and restricted firearms)43 68 69 96 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 required97 98 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In New Zealand, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted with a valid firearms licence99 100

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In New Zealand, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful101 102 76

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in New Zealand is not obliged100 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 permit65 103

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In New Zealand, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined93 94 95

Regulation of Gun Shows

In New Zealand, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated104 105 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in New Zealand include80 71 68 69 106 107 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 include108 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 include93 94 95 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in New Zealand include109 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 law110 111 33 112 113

Firearm Tracing

In New Zealand, state authorities do not carry out93 94 95 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 not93 94 95 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 prohibited114 115 116 21

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In New Zealand, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited115 116 114 21

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In New Zealand, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm117 is three months to three years in prison and/or a fine64 118 74

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In New Zealand, it is state policy119 89 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 Forum120 121

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 2006122 by New Zealand.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified123 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 signed124 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 Aspects125

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. 83126 127 128 129 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 reports130 113 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 designated131 113

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In New Zealand, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated131

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 apparent131 113

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated132 133 134 113 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 declared135 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 1945136

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists137 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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