The launch today of a new firearms regulator to ensure the legitimate possession and use of firearms, and an online portal to apply for licences, marks a significant step towards modernisation and improvements in gun safety, Police Minister Chris Hipkins says.
Police is moving from being an administrator of the Arms Act and standing up a new firearms regulator, Te Tari Pūreke Firearms Safety Authority, to become an effective regulator to ensure the legitimate possession and use of firearms in New Zealand.
“Establishing a regulator is part of the Government’s commitment following the Christchurch terror attacks, to reform New Zealand’s firearms laws,” Chris Hipkins said.
“This is another milestone in our work to ensure our laws and regulations around firearms keep our communities safe, and at the same time provide efficient services for our firearms community.
“As well as the unit being set up, the MyFirearms online portal is also being launched, which will become part of the firearms registry when it goes live in June next year. The portal allows people to apply and pay for licences, and some endorsements, completely online.
“The online portal goes towards modernising services for the firearms community and foreshadows the firearms registry.
“Once the registry is in place next year, and as it becomes fully operational, all firearms will be linked to licence holders, so for the first time we’ll have a picture of all the legally held firearms across New Zealand. This will allow Police to be better able to trace firearms.
“Having Police focused on addressing, preventing and responding to firearms crime in our communities, and Te Tari Pūreke focused on regulating the firearms environment, will help keep our communities safe,” Chris Hipkins said.
In its role as regulator, Te Tari Pūreke will enable fit and proper people to legitimately use firearms in New Zealand and seek to protect the public from the harm that may be caused by the misuse of firearms.
Notes to Editors
- Since it was established in 1983, the arms regulatory regime has remained fundamentally unchanged, although through this time the arms environment has changed considerably.
- Following the Christchurch Mosque attacks on 15 March 2019, changes were made to the Arms Act 1983.
- A Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attack was completed in late 2020. The Inquiry made further specific recommendations creating a more efficient and effective risk-based firearms licensing system.
- The Arms Legislation Act 2020 amended the Arms Act 1983 to establish a new firearms regulatory framework with greater regulatory oversight and stronger regulatory tools – still allowing for the lawful possession of firearms for hunting, food/kai gathering, pest/animal management, and sport and recreation.
- The new Firearms Registry will go live on 24 June 2023.