Firearms licence extensions granted to those affected by COVID-19 delays

New Arms Act amendments enacted today gives extensions to existing firearms licence holders whose renewals have been delayed by this year’s COVID-19 lockdown, says Minister of Police Poto Williams.

“This is a necessary regulation that supports firearms licence holders caught out by COVID-19 Alert Level changes and unable to progress their renewals during this time. This reflects similar enactments which followed the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown,” said Poto Williams.

“The extensions only apply to licence holders have already been through the Police firearms vetting process, so only to licence holders who Police are already aware of.

“I want to reiterate - it is illegal to possess, procure or use a firearm without a valid licence. It is a privilege, not a right, to own or use a gun in this country.”

The extensions apply to licence holders with expiring firearms or dealer licences (and their respective endorsements and conditions), if renewal dates land in the following situations:

  • Those who had applied for a licence renewal between 25 September 2020 and on or before 16 August 2021, and the application was not resolved before this date. These licence holders can legally continue to possess, procure, or use a firearm or ammunition for up to 12 months after the original expiry date, or until the licence application is determined by Police.
  • Those who have a licence renewal date between 17 August 2021 and 30th November 2021. These licence holders are given an additional four months from the date of licence expiry to apply for a licence renewal. Then they will be granted an extension of 12 months, from the original expiry date of their licence, or until the licence application is determined by Police.

All affected firearms licence holders are being advised of these extensions. Anyone whose licence renewal falls outside of these dates are not covered by these extensions.

While these extensions will not be accompanied with an updated firearms licence card, NZ Police will be launching an online Firearms Online Licence Checker over the next month. The Online checker will allow firearms licence holders to present their expired licence card to a dealer, who can check the Police firearms licence database to confirm an extension has been issued.

Police are currently modernising processes around the Arms Act, to ensure that only people who are fit and proper are able to access, possess, and use firearms. Police will continue to improve these processes to ensure an effective, efficient and responsible regulator service for the firearms community, and the rest of New Zealand, to keep everyone safe.

Further regulatory changes are expected in the firearms safety space, over the next year.

Further information is available on the Police website here: www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/firearms-and-safety.