New gun laws come into effect across New Zealand from today, Minister of Police, Poto Williams said this morning.
The Arms Amendment Regulations 2021 is one of the many changes made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (ROI) into the March 2019 terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain, in which 51 people lost their lives and 40 were injured.
“Gangs and other violent criminals cannot continue to threaten, intimidate, and exploit our communities and these additional regulations provide the Police further tools to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, and to keep our communities safe,” said Minister Williams.
“Owning a firearm in New Zealand is a privilege, not a right and these changes are another step towards combatting firearms violence and making our communities safer.
“This Government has a strong track record in tackling firearms violence, and today’s changes are just the latest in a suite of measures which will improve public safety. These include implementing harsher penalties for gun crime, introducing the Firearms Prohibition Orders which ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands and remain committed to the firearms register to be up and running by June 2023.”
The changes to the regulations tailor the requirements to each type of firearms dealer activity, she said. They also work to provide the information that is required for the import of ammunition and pistol carbine conversion kits.
They specify the nature and type of records that need to be kept by businesses selling ammunition.
The regulations will also mean that additional information will be required by applicants for firearms licences, including a list of countries travelled to or visited in the previous five years involving stays of 14 days or more, and the length of stay in each country address.
”This is a key change to the firearms vetting process, which will help ensure anyone with red flags in other jurisdictions will be identified. Police can then consider whether these individuals are fit and proper to hold a firearms licence in New Zealand,” Ms Williams said.
The changes also give greater clarity on transporting firearms in vehicles reducing the previous uncertainty which led to some individuals taking the firearm with them whenever they leave the vehicle. This can involve carrying the firearm in public view and into public premises.
The Firearms Prohibition Orders Legislation Bill, which is one of the key measures combatting firearms violence, has its first reading in the House later this month.