What are the Severe New Zealand Gun Restrictions?

While some New Zealanders are turning in guns to police, others are rushing to gun shops to buy semi-auto rifles in anticipation of new gun control laws. (Dave Workman)

New Zealand -(Ammoland.com)- The far left New Zealand government has banned many semi-automatic firearms in the media frenzy following the mass murder at the Christchurch  (ironic name!) mosques.  A small number of New Zealanders called for calm and rational deliberation in the rush to pass new legislation. They were ignored in the frenzy to pass restrictions on gun ownership.

The New Zealand censor ruled it illegal for New Zealand citizens to read the manifesto of the political terrorist who did the killing. Any discussion of immigration and Islamic terrorism, which were used to justify the killings, were ignored. Instead, the New Zealand government did precisely what the political terrorist predicted it would do: severely restrict firearms ownership.

Consider: major changes in the law, impacting 3-4 percent of New Zealand's population, were enacted because of one major criminal act of political terrorism in over 100 years of New Zealand history.

It has been difficult to find the details of the new legislation. Forensic Magazine has done a good job of boiling down the legalese. These appear to be the prohibited firearms and parts. From forensicmag.com:

The specific items prohibited under the new law are:

  • Weapons classified as a military-style semi-automatic firearms (MSSAs);
  • Semi-automatic firearms, excepting those that only fire 0.22 caliber or less rimfire cartridges and having a maximum magazine capacity of 10 cartridges, and also excepting semi-automatic shotguns with non-detachable magazines with a capacity of five or less cartridges;
  • Pump-action shotguns with detachable magazines, or non-detachable magazines with a capacity of greater than five cartridges; and
  • Parts that can convert non-prohibited weapons into prohibited weapons

Semi-automatic and high-capacity pistols are not prohibited under the bill. Semi-automatic and high-capacity airsoft and paintball guns that resemble prohibited weapons are not also not affected, as they are not included under the legal definition of “firearm”—existing law requires a permit to own such airguns.

Here is the relevant, actual, statutory language. You can see that it requires quite a bit of careful study.  From legilation.govt.nz:

 2A Meaning of prohibited firearm

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited firearm—

(a) means the following firearms:

(i) a semi-automatic firearm (except a pistol), other than—

(A) a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of firing only 0.22 calibre or less rimfire cartridges and that has a magazine, whether or not detachable or otherwise externally fed, that is capable of holding no more than 10 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size: 

(B) a semi-automatic shotgun with a non-detachable tubular magazine or magazines that are capable of holding no more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size:

(ii) a pump-action shotgun that is capable of being used with a detachable magazine:
(iii) a pump-action shotgun that has a non-detachable tubular magazine or magazines that are capable of holding more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that firearm’s chamber size; and

(b) includes any other firearm declared by Order in Council made under section 74A to be a prohibited firearm for the purposes of this Act.

2B     Meaning of prohibited magazine

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited magazine,—

(a) in relation to a shotgun, means a magazine, whether or not detachable, that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges commensurate with that shotgun’s chamber size:

(b) in relation to any other firearm (except a pistol),—

(i) means any detachable magazine—

(A) that is capable of holding 0.22 calibre or less rimfire cartridges and that is capable of holding more than 10 of those cartridges:

(B) that is capable of holding more than 10 cartridges and being used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm:

(ii) means any other magazine, whether or not detachable, that is capable of holding more than 10 cartridges; and

(c) includes any other magazine declared by Order in Council made under section 74A to be a prohibited magazine for the purposes of this Act.

2C Meaning of prohibited part

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, prohibited part means

(a) a part of a prohibited firearm: 
(b) a component that can be applied to enable, or take significant steps towards enabling a firearm to be fired with, or near to, a semi-automatic or automatic action.
2D Meaning of prohibited ammunition

In this Act, prohibited ammunition means any ammunition declared by the Governor-Governor by Order in Council to be prohibited ammunition.

New Zealand has about twice as many gun owners per capita as Australia does. Thus, while the firearms ban was passed in a media frenzy, as happened in Australia following a mass killing, it is not quite as draconian.

The New Zealand legislation shares many common characteristics with severe firearms restrictions that have been passed in democratic countries around the world:

  1. A government is in power that fears and detests firearms in the hands of the common man.  This was the case in England in 1920, the United States in 1968, Canada in 1991, Australia in 1996, and New Zealand in 2019.
  2. Criminal acts were used as a crises to pass law that would not passage in ordinary circumstance with reasoned debate.
  3. The laws were passed with little consideration or knowledge of firearms technology.
  4. The major media of the time were complicit in calling for passage of the law, without critical consideration or analysis, with no time or space allowed to opponents of the restrictions.
  5. The legislative acts were rushed through the legislative body, before time was allowed for reasoned reflection.

One of the most troubling aspects of the New Zealand situation is the definition of “prohibited ammunition”. It appears the executive branch of New Zealand government can simply declare any ammunition they desire to be “prohibited” on little or no notice, without any additional act of parliament.

Such sweeping power is not consistent with democratic government.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 19 thoughts on “What are the Severe New Zealand Gun Restrictions?

    1. The list of things, people, or items that kill more people than guns is actually fairly long! Banning anything is corrupt in itself without the people behind the ban! Civil disobedience is also a tool that can be used effectively to fight back. I am really shocked that the people of New Zealand allowed this to happen! A government that can arbitrarily ban firearms can arbitrarily ban people that don’t like it! Hmmm .. I have a really bad feeling about this. I’m thinking they got the cart before the horse. It would have been wiser to have banned “Bad People” and “Corrupt Politicians” before they banned the firearms! Of course, until they are all turned in, or enough citizens are in gulags, it’s not too late to defy the Ruling Party!!

    2. I have been following a few New Zealand gun forums. Anything center fire that takes a mag over 5 rounds is gone, even bolt actions. If it can take a mag over 5 rounds, it is gone. Permanently fixing a mag in does not exempt it. All center fire semis are gone. Any shotgun over 5 rounds is gone. Any shot gun that takes mags is gone. Any 22 RF that can take over 10 rounds is gone. This counts pump rifles with shorts. So, Winchester gallery guns are gone. Guys want to fix their Enfeilds to 5 rounds and weld in the mag-nope, gone. Insane. Police showing up at people’s houses and work places demanding guns to be turned in, even though they have some time to still lawfully do.
      Registration tells them what you have. Sooner or later, they will come for it.

      1. Your mistaken on a few things, what is banned is magazines, fitted or detachable that hold more than 5 rounds center fire or more than 10 rounds rimfire used with semi autos. In effect all semi autos are banned in centerfire. There are exceptions for shotguns that have fixed 5 round mags but pumps with fixed mags of more than 5 rounds are banned. For pump, lever and bolt actions, magazines holding more than 10 rounds are banned. Its the mags that are banned so if alter mag to hold 10 or less the rifle is legal. Barely 2000 rifles handed in so far and there is no Police showing up demanding guns as they dont even know who has what as we dont have gun registration(yet). There are some loopholes and unintended bans but the Pollies plan to have another go in the next few months to tidy up mistakes.

    3. Wankers. How’s that whole Her Majesty’s Government thing working out for you subjects?

      And to think I used to look longingly at NZ as a place to retire.

      Nope. Won’t be dictated to by a groveling leftist global sucking bee yatch like “Hillary” Ardern.

    4. Making good people helpless does not make bad people harmless.
      A politician with a law never stops a bad guy with a gun…..or a knife, or a truck, or a fertilizer bomb, or any weapon.
      The politician only controls the good guys, which is his real agenda.
      God’s :Thou Shalt Not Kill” didn’t stop bad guys.
      Politicians’ Murder 1, Murder 2, Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide, etc didn’t stop bad guys.
      “Killing is a matter of will, not weapons.
      You cannot control the act itself
      by passing laws about the means employed.”
      The late Col Jeff Cooper, 1958,
      Handgun expert and founder of Gunsite Academy

      Let’s turn KIWIland into a barrel and throw their citizens in as the fish. That will stop the bad guy from shooting fish in a barrel. The KIWI national anthem will now go something like this….”Run, Hide, Die…. a fish in a barrel am I….Run, Hide, Die…. ”
      Next, if only the NZ Prime Minister will pass a law that she’s not ugly…….then, all will be good in KIWI land.

    5. Its funny to me that they are all against the gun because guns kill. So lets outlaw everything that has been used to kill starting with kane and able, then david and goliath and move on from there. Timothy Mc Vay or whatever his name was, took out plenty of people with fertilizer, guess we will have to stop that too and just live with less food because the weeds and pests will rule our crops in addition to the government pests being elected.

    6. We know that NZ has far more sheep than human inhabitants, but with this latest knee jerk based law NZ is now 100% populated by sheep. Of course this will be denied until the next jihadist slaughter.

    7. Just off the top of my head I would say that every .22 tube fed rifle ever built has way over 10 rounds. So, they’re all banned. As was said in the article, the new laws were put in place by politicians who know little to nothing about guns. It’s more likely the Anti-gun activists wrote the new refs.

      1. Well, every semi-auto tube fed ,22 that I ever owned was basically a single shot anyways, you could shoot a round then it jammed, elect the unfired shell then shoot, then jammed, eject the unfired round then shoot ,and so on. Ha ha , sad but true.

    8. Amazing when cars and trucks are used in mowing down peaple, where is the outcry by the left to ban these forms of weapons?

      What will the politicians do if they get their confiscation of guns accomplished and these mass murders use a different form of weapon like automobiles?

      It seems it is only guns they go after because they fear an armed citizenry and the ONLY reason for this is because they are up to no good!

    9. So, the nut case murderer wanted guns banned, in response to some lunatic psychopath New Zealand decides it’s a freaking wonderful idea and proceeds with banning and confiscating legally purchased private property from citizens who have never committed any crimes. Yup, makes perfect sense. I would never have thought the Kiwi nation was anywhere near as cowardly as England, but it seems they are headed in that direction. This is what you get when you pick mentally ill people like Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and other “progressives” ( read “Communists”) for positions of power.

    10. The Maori gangs have already come out to say they will not be surrendering their weapons, so the bulk of ‘gun violence’ will not end. The black market will become a huge and even more violent industry just as it has in Australia when they enacted their ban. What will the laws accomplish, nothing except the politicians gaining some sort of credibility, meanwhile the average citizen is still at risk.

    11. It should be noted that New Zealand does not have any 2nd Amendment built into its Constitution, thus firearm and ammunition has no protection.
      What flies their would never fly here, and to open up Our Constitution to restrict our sacred Amendments would also open up our Constitution for changes in other sacred Amendments.
      I really don’t see it happening here, unless the majority opinion is that we are willing to risk ‘Freedom of Religion’, ‘Freedom of Speech’ and more.

      1. Michael, I agree that New Zealand does not have the protection afforded us by our constitution but I am afraid the majority of our citizens will give up those very protections for what they perceive as a softer ride, I.E. UBI, welfare etc. It seems to me that our country has lost most of it’s “Can Do” attitude and adopted a “Want someone else to” attitude and of course the left is quite willing to assume that role if they get to decide the rules, which will seem very “Progressive” and reasonable at first. After all, who doesn’t want to feel safer? Who doesn’t want everyone to have the same opportunities (even if they aren’t willing to work for that opportunity.) It will seem reasonable until it’s too late. The only thing that truly protects our freedom and our constitution is the second amendment and the implication associated with it. I hope you are right and I am wrong, I truly do.

        1. I agree we have become soft( not you and me and others who work) but big city people cant see above the block they live in and think free crap is an expected normal.generation back the new workforce had the idea if i cant be manager my first day im not working

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