MIL-OSI New Zealand: Government to overhaul firearms laws

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Source: New Zealand Government

Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand’s outdated and complicated firearms laws.

“The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated and complicated requirements that unfairly target licenced firearms owners, often with no clear benefit to public safety,” Ms McKee says.

“It is time we take a good look at the whole system and make the necessary changes to ensure that it is fit for purpose for New Zealand today and into the future. We need to find simple, workable solutions that deliver tangible safety outcomes for New Zealand communities.

“The reform programme has been sequenced in four overlapping phases. This approach balances the delivery of more immediate changes with investing time in robust analysis and consultation.”

Phase 4 will tackle the large task of rewriting the Act to modernise the law, so that it provides for greater public safety, reflects best regulatory practice, and is fit for purpose.

“I expect to take advice on phase 4 in the coming months, with the aim of passing law changes before the end of the term.

“I am really looking forward to phase 4 – it provides a unique opportunity to take a systematic and considered approach to our laws, in a way that hasn’t been done in over 40 years. Rather than the rushed ‘government-knows-best’ approach, that we have seen in the past, we will be consulting with New Zealanders to allow their views to be heard.”

The first two phases of the firearms reform programme are already well underway:

  • The Firearms Prohibition Orders Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced in the Government’s first 100 days and is currently before the Justice Committee. It aims to strengthen the role of firearms prohibition orders and provide greater powers to search gang members for firearms. 
  • A package of proposals for the simple and effective regulation of shooting clubs is out for consultation among stakeholders (Government to consult on regulation of shooting clubs and ranges | Beehive.govt.nz).

Phase 3 consists of two key components – the review of the Firearms Registry which was announced on 1 June 2024 (Government commences Firearms Registry review | Beehive.govt.nz) and transferring the Firearms Safety Authority from Police to another Government department.

“I look forward to progressing this reform programme and to engaging with New Zealanders on these real and important issues. Together, we can deliver simple and effective regulation that contributes to the safety of New Zealand communities, reduces regulatory burden for licenced firearms owners, and increases compliance with the law.”

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