Arms Act 1983

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Arms Act 1983
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
New Zealand Parliament
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to firearms and to promote both the safe use and the control of firearms and other weapons
Date of Royal Assent 29 November 1983
Date commenced 1 June 1984
Administered by New Zealand Police
Status: Current legislation

The Arms Act 1983 is the primary statute controlling the possession and use of firearms and air guns in New Zealand.

Basic principles of the Act[edit]

The basic premise of the New Zealand arms control regime is the licensing of individuals as being fit and proper persons to possess firearms. Firearms themselves are not generally registered or licensed, although exceptions exist for pistols, restricted weapons and military-style semi-automatic firearms (MSSAs).

History of the Act[edit]

The act came into force on 1 June 1984, replacing the Arms Act 1958 (1958 No 21).

It has subsequently been amended by the following statutes:

  • Arms Amendment Act 1985 (No 5)
  • Crimes Amendment Act (No 2) 1986 (No 71)
  • Arms Amendment Act 1987 (No 166)
  • Public Finance Act 1989 (No 44)
  • Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 (No 143)
  • Arms Amendment Act 1992 (No 95)
  • Domestic Violence Act 1995 (No 86)
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (No 30)
  • Crimes Amendment Act (No 2) 1997 (No 93)
  • Postal Services Act 1998 (No 2)
  • Anti-Personnel Mines Prohibition Act 1998 (No 111)
  • Arms Amendment Act 1999 (No 23)
  • Arms Amendment Act 2000 (No 53)
  • Visiting Forces Act 2004 (No 59)
  • Policing Act 2008 (No 72)
  • Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009 (No 68)

Operation of the Act[edit]

The Act is administered by the New Zealand Police. The full legislative framework of the arms control regime is defined by the Act in conjunction with:

  • The Arms (Restricted Weapons and Specially Dangerous Airguns) Order 1984
  • The Arms Regulations 1992

The act grants the police considerable discretion in the administration of the arms control regime. Police policy in respect of the arms regime is documented in their Arms Manual 2002.[1]

Provisions of the Act[edit]

The act contains provisions for the following:

  • the licensing of dealers
  • the importation of firearms
  • general restrictions on possession of firearms and airguns
  • licensing of those using and possessing firearms
  • the procurement and carrying of pistols, MSSAs and restricted weapons
  • firearms offences
  • police powers of search & seizure in respect of firearms

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arms Manual 2002". New Zealand Police. 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2017.

External links[edit]