Find out how to surrender or dispose of unwanted firearms, other arms items or ammunition.

Who can possess firearms, other arms items or ammunition in New Zealand

You must have a current New Zealand firearms licence and any required endorsement and permit to legally possess most arms items or ammunition.

Arms items include firearms, magazines, parts, airguns, pistols, restricted weapons and pistol carbine conversion kits (PCCKs).

You do not need a firearms licence to possess an airgun if you are aged 18 or over, unless it is classified as a specially dangerous airgun.

The Arms Act 1983 explains the restrictions on possession of airguns.

Arms Act 1983 No 44 (as at 24 June 2023), Public Act 21 Restrictions on possession of airguns | New Zealand Legislation 

How to dispose of unwanted firearms and other arms items

If you have a firearm, other arms item or ammunition you cannot legally possess or do not wish to possess, you can do the following:

  • transfer the item to a current New Zealand firearms licence holder, or
  • arrange for secure transfer to a licensed firearms dealer, or
  • arrange a secure uplift and delivery to the New Zealand Police.

For detailed guidance on how to transfer or dispose of a firearm (whether you’re a licence holder yourself or not), and to understand who needs to do what in terms of firearms registration, download the guidance document below.

Surrender a firearms licence 

You may surrender (give up and hand in) your firearms licence to Police or Te Tari Pūreke at any time. 

To surrender your licence:

On surrender of your licence, you are no longer licensed to possess arms items or ammunition.

If you have firearms in your possession, you must transfer them to another firearms licence holder, or surrender them to Police.

This relates to Sections 27 and 28 of the Arms Act 1983. 

Using a firearm under supervision without a licence

Transferring a firearm to a licensed firearms dealer

You can surrender a firearm, other arms item or ammunition to a licensed firearms dealer under the Voluntary Surrender provisions of section 59A of the Arms Act 1983.  

Arms Act 1983, section 59A – Surrender by licensed dealer of firearms, etc | New Zealand Legislation website 

If you decide to transfer an arms item to a dealer, contact them first to schedule an appointment.   

The dealer will guide you through the process and provide specific instructions. If it is a non-prohibited firearm, they may on-sell the item, use it for parts or destroy it, depending on its condition.  

If the item is an arms item that you need an endorsement to possess, then the dealer must hand the item on to Police within 5 working days of receiving it. Police will then decide how the item is dealt with or otherwise disposed of. 

Note: Firearms dealers have no obligation to receive arms items. If a dealer declines to take possession of an item, and you cannot find a firearms licence holder who is willing to take possession, you must surrender the item to Police. 

Firearms dealer requirements

Arranging a secure uplift and delivery of a firearm to Police

You can arrange for the uplift and delivery of a firearm, other arms item or ammunition that you’re not authorised to possess to Police. You can arrange this with either with New Zealand Police staff, another licensed firearms holder, or a licensed firearms dealer.

Arms Act 1983, section 59B – Voluntary delivery to Police of firearms, etc | New Zealand Legislation website 

This applies, for example, if you find a firearm in a deceased person’s estate, or there is no licence holder to arrange transfer to. You can be asked to provide details about how you acquired the arms item.

You can choose to deliver the item anonymously or give your name and contact information. Before transporting any items to Police, you must let them know in advance and arrange a time for safe and proper transfer. 

You can arrange a time to surrender the arms items by:  

Note: Please do not turn up to a Police station with a firearm unannounced. It’s important you make sure a firearm is unloaded, with the bolt removed (if possible), the magazine removed (if it is detachable), a trigger or cable lock applied and/or in a locked case or bag. Ammunition should be transported separately from the firearm. If possible, use a chamber safety flag to indicate that the firearm is not loaded. 

Storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition

Police will not pay for or provide any compensation for firearms, other arms items or ammunition that are surrendered. 

If you wish to keep a gifted or inherited firearm

If you are gifted or inherit a firearm, other arms item or ammunition that you wish to keep, you can only do so once you have a firearms licence and any required endorsements and permit. Until then, the item must be held by a firearms licence holder or licensed firearms dealer with the required endorsements and permit. 

When a firearms licence holder dies 

Storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition

If you possess an antique firearm

Antique firearms do not need to be registered. A firearms licence is not required to possess an antique firearm. 

Under the Arms Act 1983, an antique firearm is any firearm that: 

  • you hold solely as an antique (but not as a copy or replica of an antique), and 
  • is not designed for firing, and is not capable of firing, rimfire or centrefire cartridge ammunition, or
  • has been declared by regulations made under this Act to be an antique firearm for the purposes of this Act, but 
  • does not include any firearm manufactured after 1899. 

If the firearm meets the above conditions and you wish to keep it, you can do so. However, if you would like to dispose of an antique firearm, you need to follow the process for the disposal of unwanted firearms and other arms items. 

Arms Act 1983, section 2 - Definition of an antique firearm | New Zealand Legislation website

If you are unsure about firearms and other arms items in your possession

If you inherit or find something that appears to be a firearm and you’re unsure what it might be or what classification it is, please contact Te Tari Pūreke or Police in the first instance. We can help identify the arms item and what you might need to do with it. 

Contact us: 

  • Phone Te Tari Pūreke: 0800 844 431 (04 499 2870), or 
  • Phone the non-emergency Police number: 105
Last updated
14 June 2024


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