Citation(s) from the literature library

Green, Joe. 2006 ‘The New Zealand Arms Control Regime.’ Presentation to the International Firearms Safety Seminar. Christchurch: New Zealand Police. 23 February

Relevant contents

The New Zealand Arms Control Regime

Those who wish to possess pistols, restricted weapons or military style semi automatic firearms (MSSAs) may apply for an endorsement on their firearms licence. In order to have the endorsement granted they must demonstrate that they are both fit and proper and have cause to possess that firearm. The issuing of any such endorsement is subject to the direction of the Commissioner.

Pistols, restricted weapons and MSSAs may only be sold or supplied to a person holding a permit to procure issued by a member of Police. Individuals are required to confirm having taken possession of these firearms where such a permit has been issued. Police use information from the permit to procure process to record the details of the pistol, restricted weapon or MSSA against the person's firearms licence.

Firearms licenses and endorsements are renewable ten yearly on application. This application is as for a new licence, with full vetting and security inspection being a requirement. In short, in order to renew their firearms licence the applicant must demonstrate that they continue to be fit and proper to possess firearms.

Individuals applying for a firearms licence are determined as being, or not being fit and proper by a vetting process that includes but is not limited to:

1) Information held on Police computer systems, including criminal records, intelligence data and Court Orders such as Family Violence Protection Orders.

2) Face to face interview with the applicant's partner, spouse or next of kin (for both first time applicants and applicants to renew).

3) For first time applicants, face to face interview with an unrelated referee. For renewals this interview may be carried out by telephone.

4) Face to face interview with the applicant.

5) Physical inspection of security in place for firearms. Security requirements are set by regulation.

6. The recording of information about sporting long arms (make, model, serial number, calibre). This is voluntary, with about 90% of firearms licence applicants providing this information (6).

7) Any other inquiry that the Arms Officer considers necessary. This may include obtaining a doctor's certificate.

Those wishing to have an endorsement must further satisfy Police as to their fit and proper status and the reason they wish to possess a pistol, restricted weapon or MSSA. This process includes:

1) Evidence of bona fide interest in possessing that pistol, restricted weapon or MSSA.

2) Interview of referees who already possess pistols, restricted weapons or MSSAs.

3) For target pistol shooting; confirmation as being the member of a pistol shooting club recognised by the Commissioner of Police.

4) Security commensurate with the type of firearm to be possessed. Security standards for pistols, restricted weapons and MSSAs are of a higher standard than for sporting long arms and are set by regulation.

5) On renewal of the licence/endorsement, a physical audit of pistols, restricted weapons and MSSAs recorded against the applicant's licence

6) Any other inquiry the Arms Officer considers necessary.

Arms Officers are directed in the vetting process by the Vetting Guide and the Vetting Master Guide.

[Inspector Joe Green: Manager, Licensing and Vetting, New Zealand Police]

ID: Q3014

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