The World's Best Firearms Laws

ACT’s priority is to repeal this year’s Arms Legislation Act, including the threat of a firearm register, then set about making the world’s best firearm laws that balance public safety, firearms control, and freedom. We would introduce another Bill that repeals the Arms Act 1983 - and all subsequent amendments - after the Royal Commission reports back. The new law will be delivered in the next parliamentary term and will be the envy of the world.

Fair Firearms Policy

After our country’s tragedy in Christchurch last year, the Government had two jobs:

  1. The first was to find out what went wrong and fix any problems that allowed it to happen.
  2. The second was to bring people together to move forward in a united way.

Sadly, the Government failed at both tasks.

We are no safer as a result of the Government’s law changes, but the way they were done was unjust, ineffective and, until the Royal Commission tells us what went wrong, premature.

Nearly everyone agreed that firearm laws needed to change, but the way the Government went about it amounted to bullying and scapegoating. The end result was expensive, ineffective, and insulting. ACT says if gun laws are worth changing, it is worth doing right.

ACT acknowledges the 250,000 honest and hardworking New Zealanders in our law-abiding firearms community, who have shown patience and resilience following the sweeping changes to New Zealand’s firearm laws, and the confiscation of their private property.

The Arms Amendment Act 2019 did a great disservice to the public at large, and unfairly treated the firearms community throughout the process. This law change was followed up by the arguably worse Arms Legislation Act 2020.

The Arms Amendment Act 2019 was unnecessarily rushed, and lawmakers did not seek any meaningful input from industry experts. The Order in Council, originally valid until 30 June 2020, provided sufficient time for public consultation, however the superseding legislation was passed under urgency. This legislation effectively criminalised law-abiding citizens. Put simply, it targeted the wrong people. There are now serious risks to public safety. The number of black-market firearms in New Zealand has the potential to increase exponentially.

ACT was the only party to vote against both the Arms Amendment Act 2019 and the Arms Legislation Act 2020. Only ACT has consistently supported the firearms community.


ACT’S Real Solution For Fair Firearms

ACT’s bottom line is to repeal this year’s Arms Legislation Act, including the threat of a firearm register, then set about making the world’s best firearm laws that balance public safety, firearms control, and freedom.

We would introduce another Bill that repeals the Arms Act 1983 - and all subsequent amendments - after the Royal Commission reports back. The new law will be delivered in the next parliamentary term and will be the envy of the world.

ACT would also insist on a proper law-making process. We would invite national organisations such as the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, COLFO, commercial pest controllers, collectors, Police, political parties, and other interested groups to a genuine consultative effort to design better gun laws.

ACT will prioritise the rebuilding of trust and confidence in the firearms community with Police and save taxpayers from any further confiscation programmes.

The Arms Act 1983 is no longer fit for purpose. It has become a confusing, bureaucratic mess that is riddled with inconsistencies. Below are the key points of our policy, but we accept we need to get wide agreement to make the new laws durable.


ACT Would

  1. Repeal the Arms Legislation Act 2020

  2. Introduce a new bill that would repeal the Arms Act 1983 and all subsequent amendments. Upon enactment, this bill would become the new Arms Act

  3. Create new classes of firearms that are simple to understand and administer. For example:
    Class 1 for bolt/lever/pump actions and .22 rimfire or smaller semi-automatics
    - Class 2 for all other semi-automatics (with sporting use allowed)
    - Class 3 for pistols (pistol clubs)
    - Class 4 for collectors
    - Class 5 for theatrical
    - etc.

  4. Allow magazine limits of 7 for shotgun, 10 for all other centrefire, and 15 for rimfire; a special endorsement would be required for purchase and possession of higher capacity magazines. Pump-action and lever-action firearms would be exempt from magazine limits

  5. Support the local presence of vetting personnel and promote face-to-face interviews of applicants, regardless of who is administrating the licensing regime

  6. Stop the creation of a full register, which would include firearms that are presently A category

  7. Support the work of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum’s Security Subcommittee

  8. Ensure that the promised independent authority tasked with licensing gains full administrative control of firearms legislation, not just licensing

  9. Hitting Gangs Where it Hurts.


Hitting Gangs Where it Hurts

Gang numbers are increasing under Labour.

We are starting to see regular headlines about gang shootings. According to Police, there has been a significant increase in the number of offences involving firearms in the last few years, identifying a clear change in the behaviour of gang members and prospects.

New Zealanders don’t feel safe. The old approach hasn’t worked.

We need to get smarter. That means coming up with a bold new policy to hit gangs where it hurts – their pockets. Therefore, we would implement the following:

If a lawful Police search of a property (a ‘raid’) discovers ALL of the following -
  1. an illegal operation, e.g. drug manufacturing for supply, money laundering, and/or weapons manufacturing;

  2. unlawful possession of a firearm, e.g. a firearms licence holder is not present or there is possession of a prohibited or illegal firearm;

  3. a person who is either a member of a gang or is closely affiliated, as defined by the National GangList (NGL);

then the Crown can apply to the Court for an order to seize the assets of that operation, e.g. the house, cars, motorcycles, cash, and so on. By satisfying the above criteria, the Crown is exempted from establishing a link between the purchasing of those assets and illicit financial gain. This policy would be brought into law by amending and increasing the scope of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009, including sections 3, 5, and 6.

Note: The National Gang List (NGL) is maintained by the New Zealand Gang Intelligence Centre, a unit within the New Zealand Police.

This policy is justified by the assumption that the unlawful firearm is part of the protection and enforcement of the operation, therefore it is directly linked to illicit financial gain. Of course, a gang conducting an illegal operation could get around this law by disarming, which is still a win for the community at large. 

A scenario

A small mechanical workshop, owned by a known gang member, is suspected by Police to be a front that is facilitating money laundering. Upon a lawful search, the Police discover a firearm in the workshop, and the owner does not have a firearms licence. Assuming money laundering is taking place, the presence of the firearm has escalated the seriousness of the situation to the point where it falls under our proposed law change. The Crown would be able to apply to the Court for the seizure of the workshop, tools, parts, cash, and so on.


Where We'll Get To

ACT believes that we should again be able to claim New Zealand has the world’s best firearm laws. Developed in a way that is thoughtful, inclusive, and democratic.

New Zealanders rightly concerned about the tragedy of March 15 will be able to say that effective action has been to taken to prevent it happening again.

New Zealanders for whom firearms are a tool, a hobby, and a source of food will be able to exercise their rights under the law in a safe and dignified way.

Altogether, New Zealand will be truly united around high quality, democratically made laws that are respectful of all parties involved.