New firearm legislation introduced to Parliament

Announced yesterday:  Tighter gun laws to enhance public safety


Police Minister Stuart Nash has introduced legislation changing firearms laws to improve public safety following the Christchurch terror attacks.

“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack will be banned,” Mr Nash says. “Owning a gun is a privilege not a right. Too many people have legal access to semi-automatic firearms which are capable of causing significant harm.”

“The attack exposed considerable weaknesses in our laws. The firearms, magazines and parts used by the terrorist were purchased lawfully and modified into MSSAs due to legal loopholes. Our priority is to enhance public safety and wellbeing by urgent changes to the law.

“It is important to reiterate the legislation introduced today is not directed at law-abiding firearms owners who have legitimate uses for their guns. Our actions are instead directed at making sure this never happens again,” Mr Nash says.

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill will:

  • Ban semi-automatic weapons and military style semi-automatics (MSSAs)
  • Ban parts, magazines and ammunition which can be used to assemble a prohibited firearm or convert a lower-powered firearm into a semi-automatic
  • Ban pump action shotguns with more than a five shot capacity
  • Ban semi-automatic shotguns with a capacity to hold a detachable magazine, or with an internal magazine capable of holding more than five cartridges
  • Exempt some semi-automatic firearms, such as .22 calibres and shotguns, which have limited ammunition capacity
  • Create tougher penalties and introduce new offences
  • Create new definitions of prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, prohibited parts and prohibited ammunition
  • Establish an amnesty for firearms owners who take steps to hand over unlawful weapons, parts, magazines and ammunition to Police by 30 September 2019

“The misuse of semi-automatic weapons has caused death and injury at our places of worship. It has left a nationwide legacy of harm, pain and grief,” Mr Nash says.

“The men, women and children who died and suffered injuries at the mosques now have their own legacy. We will tighten gun laws to improve the safety and security of all New Zealanders. Their memory is our responsibility.

“The Arms Amendment Bill will have its first reading tomorrow, and be referred to a Select Committee for a swift public submissions process. It will return to Parliament next week to pass through its remaining stages. It is intended to come into force on 12 April, the day after the Royal Assent.

“Further announcements are due shortly on the administration and parameters of the buyback scheme,” Mr Nash says.

Questions and Answers

What are the new prohibitions?

  • Prohibited firearms include semi-automatics and MSSAs; and shotguns with detachable magazines or internal magazines which hold more than five rounds.
  • Prohibited magazines include those holding more than 5 cartridges for a shotgun; more than ten cartridges for a .22 calibre rimfire weapon; and any other magazine capable of holding more than ten cartridges.
  • Prohibited parts include any component of a prohibited firearm, or any component that can enable a firearm to be used as a semi-automatic or fully automatic weapon. Examples could include bump stocks, free-standing pistol grips and silencers.
  • Prohibited ammunition will include certain types of military ammunition as defined by the Governor General through Order in Council. Examples could include armour piercing ammunition.

Are any semi-automatic firearms exempted from the changes?

  • A small number of firearms owners have a legitimate use for weapons with a larger capacity. Semi-automatic firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting will not be affected. These are:
  • Semi-automatic .22 calibre rimfire firearms with a magazine which holds no more than ten rounds
  • Semi-automatic and pump action shotguns with a non-detachable tubular magazine which holds no more than five rounds

What about licensed owners who have a professional reason for having a semi-automatic or another prohibited firearm?

  • There will be exemptions for specially licensed dealers, bona fide collectors, museum curators and firearms used during dramatic productions, as there are now. They must take steps to disable the weapon and follow other guidelines around security and safety.
  • Authorised pest controllers governed by s.100 of the Biosecurity Act may be permitted by Police to own a semi-automatic
  • There are exemptions for Police and Defence Force personnel.
  • There is no exemption for international sporting competitions. Further advice is needed and it may be considered as part of the second Arms Amendment Bill which is likely later this year

What are the new penalties and offences?

  • maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment:

using a prohibited firearm to resist arrest

  • maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment:

unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm in a public place

presenting a prohibited firearm at another person

carrying a prohibited firearm with criminal intent

possessing a prohibited firearm while committing any offence that has a maximum penalty of 3 years or more

  • maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment:

importing a prohibited item

unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm

supplying or selling a prohibited firearm or magazine

intentionally using a prohibited part to assemble or convert a firearm into a prohibited weapon

  • maximum penalty of 2 years:

possessing a prohibited part or magazine

supplying or selling a prohibited part

How does the amnesty work?

The amnesty means firearms owners who now inadvertently possess a prohibited weapon, magazine, part, or ammunition can hand it over to Police or a licensed dealer without fear of being penalised. Any other firearm, magazine, parts and ammunition not affected by the ban can also be handed over.

Around 200 firearms have already been handed over.

More than 1400 calls have been made to the dedicated Police line 0800 311311

Around 900 online web forms have been filled in at www.police.govt.nz

How will the buyback work?

Police and the Treasury are working on the details of the buyback. The underlying principle is that fair and reasonable compensation will be paid. It will take into account the age and type of weapon, and the market value. It is estimated it will cost between $100 million and $200 million.

What measures are likely to be included in the next Arms Amendment Bill, later in 2019?

Several issues require more analysis and advice from Police, other government agencies and affected groups. This will take time to get right. These include:

  • A register of firearms
  • Licensing of firearms owners and the Police vetting process for a ‘fit and proper person’
  • The Police inspection and monitoring regime, such as rules around storage of firearms
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18 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. Reply
  3. unitedtribes2

     /  2nd April 2019

    Obviously a lot of confusion going on on whats going to allowed. I rang the help line with a question twice and got two different answers. The other day RNZ published this.
    2. What semi-automatic firearms will NOT be affected by the
    ban?
    This Q&A was released as part of a statement by the government:

    There is a balance to be struck between public safety and legitimate use. The changes exclude two general classes of firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting:
    • Semi-automatic .22 calibre rimfire firearms with a magazine which holds no more than ten rounds
    • Semi-automatic and pump action shotguns with a non-detachable tubular magazine which holds no more than five rounds
    3. What semi-automatic firearms are affected by Thursday’s Order in Council?
    Two types of firearms are now defined as Military Style Semi-Automatics (MSSAs):
    • A semi-automatic firearm capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges
    • A semi-automatic shotgun capable of being used with a detachable magazine which holds more than five cartridges

    My question is is a .22 semi which has a 10 round mag ok or not. The article seems to say yes and no.

    Reply
    • Andrew

       /  2nd April 2019

      In answer to your question: yes, it is OK. A semi-auto .22 with a magazine capacity of no more than 10 rounds is exempt from the ban.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  2nd April 2019

      Some media say up to ten years jail if you go feral and refuse to hand your guns in. Others say up to five years.

      Misunderstandings are what happens when you rush legislation.

      However, if the government can move this fast on gun legislation, and given some gangs have refused to hand in their weapons, what is to stop the government legislating gangs as domestic terrorists and wiping them out?

      The answer is..gangs have become so strong and embedded in society that to remove them
      is beyond the power of the government without implementing military law.

      I hope I’m wrong. We are about to find out.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd April 2019

        We don’t ‘wipe people out’ in NZ.

        There will be no need for military law, forsooth. The ordinary law will suffice.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd April 2019

          Four weeks isn’t rushed; there will have been people working long hours on this, reading and rereading every word and making sure that there are no loopholes or ambiguities.

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  2nd April 2019

        David Seymour misses vote. However, I think gun owners should reward him.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/late-seymour-misses-shot-delaying-gun-legislation

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  2nd April 2019

          Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off t’werk we go …
          Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it seems I’m far too slow,
          Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, Oh no!

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  2nd April 2019

            Xmas may be banned when we become a police state.

            Ho Ho hum
            Why so gum?
            Da gumint has come for everyone
            Pauper,prince and prats.
            Even snivelling twats
            Do no evil;do no harm.
            Definitely no no arms
            Get it wrong.
            Get it right
            Makes no difference
            To our future conditions.

            Reply
          • Griff.

             /  2nd April 2019

            Repeating the American rhetoric …guns make you free .

            Human freedom index Cato.
            https://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index-new
            Top 10 places, in order, New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark (tied in 6th place), Ireland and the United Kingdom (tied in 8th place), and Finland, Norway, and Taiwan (tied in 10th place). Selected countries rank as follows: Germany (13), the United States and Sweden (17)

            Economic freedom Heritage.
            https://www.heritage.org/index/ranking
            1 Hong Kong 90.2 , 2 Singapore 89.4 , 3 New Zealand 84.4,
            12 United States 76.8.

            Freedom in the World 2018 Freedom house.
            https://freedomhouse.org/report/countries-world-freedom-2019?order=field_fiw_aggregate_score&sort=asc
            Finland 100, Norway 100, Sweden100, Canada 99, Netherlands99, New Zealand98,
            United States 86

            Well I never
            Those who are the most free are social democracy’s.
            Capitalist USA with its gun culture is not free .
            Not even close .

            Guns dont make you free and getting sucked in by the USA’s exceptionalist. bullshite “Land of the free” just makes you an idiot ….

            FWIW
            Two of the sources for index are libertarian think tanks hardly biased towards socialism…

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  2nd April 2019

              Guns don’t make you free..they give you a fighting chance to stay safe and protect your loved ones when the chips are down.

              It’s one thing to bang on intellectually for or against guns…quite another
              thing when you have an intruder hacking at your front door with a baseball bat because he wants to rob you, or simply because he has the wrong address for the person who ripped him off.

              We had a family friend around today who works at a service station. She just made it inside as a customer chased her with a hammer. The manager locked down the shop while the enraged customer hacked at the glass. He was still at it when the cops arrived. He then attacked the cops..

              What happens if had broken through?

      • Duker

         /  2nd April 2019

        “I hope I’m wrong”…Lol. Because you are wrong doesn’t mean the politicians are.
        Using a banned gun for a crime – up to 10 years
        Possession of banned gun – up to 5 years or pointing it at someone 7 yrs

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  2nd April 2019

          Really? Instead of trolling you should have watched the news tonight. But hey, what would I know? Maybe the news was fake news? Like how much the buy back will cost?

          Reply
  4. duperez

     /  2nd April 2019

    David Seymour is showboating. He missed out that bit on RNZ when he gave his reasons for his attitude opposing the gun legislation. He said he is ‘taking this position because’ … Taking the position for political attention and relevance.

    It is either that or the inevitable conclusion that he does not trust his colleagues to get it right.
    Twerk? No, twerp.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd April 2019

      Online it’s known as being a concern troll….it’s not a reasoned debate ..he just wants to monetise opposition and maybe pick up the shooters vote – which was once with Dunne.,btw where is Dunne on all this….he seems to get far more publicity in last year even though he’s out of politics

      Reply
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