Firearms Policy

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act did a great disservice to the public, including 250,000 law-abiding firearm owners who were unfairly treated throughout the process.

The sweeping changes to the Arms Act 1983 were 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 and has the potential to bring about a raft of unintended consequences.

ACT was the only party to vote against this legislation.

There are now serious risks to public safety. The number of black market firearms in New Zealand has the potential to increase exponentially.

ACT believes that the best way forward is to again amend the Arms Act 1983 in a way that promotes safety, rescinds some of the recent restrictions, and saves taxpayers potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.

ACT would also insist on a proper policy process. We would invite pistol clubs, Deerstalkers' Associations, COLFO, commercial pest controllers, collectors, Police, political parties, and other interested groups to a genuine consultative effort to design better gun laws.

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 has already carried out this process itself, coming up with its own policy.

Below are the policies ACT would promote, but we accept we need to get wide agreement to make the new laws durable.

ACT would:

  1. Extend the amnesty period and ensure that compensation includes security, licensing costs, parts, consumables, and ammunition;

  2. Reinstate the E endorsement category and expand it to include all recently-prohibited semi-automatic firearms (excluding .22 rimfire or smaller) and remove the ‘military-style’ descriptor. The vetting and security requirements would be based on the previously high standards of an E endorsement (prior to the law change), and could potentially be tightened further. The recently-created ‘exemption categories’ would be integrated into this category, including parts and magazines, and sporting/competition shooters would be allowed to apply;

  3. Adjust the magazine limits to 7 for shotgun, 10 for all other centrefire, and 15 for rimfire;
  4. Stop the shift towards a centralised firearms licensing regime, which reduces the local presence of Arms Officers and vetting personnel, and removes face-to-face interviews of applicants;

  5. Stop the creation of a register for A category firearms;

  6. Implement a law that clarifies who can and cannot own a firearm (e.g. members of violent gangs), and on what basis;

  7. Hold an inquiry into whether home security requirements for A category firearms can and should be standardised;

  8. Implement a law that affirms minimum sentences for criminal acts that involve firearms; and,

  9. Hold an inquiry into whether the administration of the Arms Act 1983 should be shifted from the Police to an independent government agency.

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