Advisory: proactive release, firearms paper

  • Hon Stuart Nash

The Cabinet Minute related to decisions for the next Arms Amendment Bill has now been proactively released. A media statement with summarised questions and answers about the Bill was released on Monday 22 July.

The Cabinet Minute can be found on the Police website, here:

The details in the Cabinet Minute will assist interested parties to begin preparing submissions on the Bill, which is due for introduction by late August.


The Cabinet Minute records decisions on the content of the Arms (Purpose, Licensing, Registry and Trading) Amendment Bill, which will be introduced and passed this year.

The Bill is designed to strengthen firearms law in order to balance safe and legitimate use of guns with the need to manage the risk to public safety.

The decisions set out the overall structure of the Bill, as follows:

  • A. It introduces a new Purpose Statement to the Arms Act, to reflect that owning a firearm is a privilege. In order for a person to gain that privilege they must take responsibility to protect and promote personal and public safety.
  • B. A new Part will establish the framework for an online registration system for all firearms, magazines, parts and ammunition, including details of storage. The register will also hold details of firearms licence holders. It will record all transfers, sales and purchases, imports, exports, and disposal. It will be populated with this information over a five-year period. It will allow for some paper-based systems to continue for those without access to online services.
  • C. The design of the firearms licensing system will be strengthened to reflect the new Purpose Statement of the Arms Act. The licensing system will establish the new responsibilities that attach to the privilege of owning a firearm. The licensing framework will reinforce the need to balance safe and legitimate use of firearms with personal and public safety. It will reinforce the positive behaviour, knowledge and skills required for licence holders. It brings shooting clubs and ranges into the licensing system for the first time.
  • D. A range of measures to clarify and strengthen existing law will be included. These touch on issues such as Police powers to ensure compliance and enforcement; updates to offences and penalties; principles for setting fees; management of information under the Privacy Act; a new independent advisory group for the Commissioner of Police; and a wider legislative review in five years.
  • E. Follow up matters that required decisions, such as exemptions for competitive shooting involving prohibited weapons; endorsements on licences; advertising; manufacturing; ammunition imports; and firearms prohibition orders.

Further papers on Cabinet decisions around the firearms buyback and amnesty will be proactively released within the next few days.