New Zealand to ban semi-automatic firearms

15 April 2019 (Last Updated April 15th, 2019 12:23)

New Zealand has voted to ban most semi-automatic weapons, including firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited guns.

New Zealand has voted to ban most semi-automatic weapons, including firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited guns.

Under the new law, it is illegal to possess prohibited weapons in New Zealand.

The changes are aimed at ensuring that banned items are not exported to other countries where they would pose a similar risk. It will also no longer be permissible to import the items solely for the purpose of re-export.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade is likely to decline applications for exports of items that are prohibited in New Zealand.

However, the law makes some exceptions. Items that are currently held at the border being returned to the supplier and personal exports by people relocating overseas or possessing overseas citizenship will be permitted.

“Applications will be considered against the assessment criteria, which include the risk that the exported item could be used in human rights abuses, undermine peace and security.”

Permanent exceptions include exports by a person approved to hold prohibited items under the Arms Act, including dealers, collectors, approved pest controllers and entertainment industry permit holders.

Other exceptions are exports by a person to whom the prohibited item has special significance as an heirloom or a memento and by the New Zealand Defence Force, police or other government agencies when disposing of weapons.

Welcoming the law changes, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Winston Peters said: “Approval is not automatic, and applications will be considered against the assessment criteria, which include the risk that the exported item could be used in human rights abuses, undermine peace and security, or be prejudicial to New Zealand’s international relations.

“There will be transitional arrangements to align with the new legislation, including for dealers seeking to return stock to suppliers, items that are stuck at the border because they are now prohibited, personal transfers by people leaving the country, and certain items traded by existing manufacturers and suppliers.”

Items that have already received a permit for export are not affected by these changes.