Find out what to do if your patient has a firearms licence or has access to firearms and you are concerned about their fitness to hold a licence, or to possess or use a firearm.

Role of Te Tari Pūreke

Te Tari Pūreke is a branded business unit within New Zealand Police. 

We are responsible for overseeing lawful firearms possession in New Zealand and ensuring it's limited to those who are fit and proper to possess firearms. 

Definition of health practitioner

The Arms Act 1983 interpretation of health practitioner is: 

  • a health practitioner registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand
  • a nurse practitioner registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand 
  • a psychologist registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board 
  • or a duly authorised officer under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. 

Your legal obligation as a health practitioner

You must consider notifying Te Tari Pūreke if you have reason to believe: 

a) your patient is a firearms licence holder; and

b) you consider the patient’s health condition may impact their safety or the safety of the public, if they continue to have access to firearms. 

Your obligation as a health practitioner is described in Section 92 of the Arms Act 1983:

92. Health practitioners may give Police medical reports of persons unfit to use firearm

How you will know your patient has a firearms licence

It's Te Tari Pūreke’s responsibility to notify the applicant’s health practitioner when a firearms licence has been issued or when a licence holder notifies us that they have changed their health practitioner. 

However, do not assume your patient is not a firearms licence holder, just because you have not received a notification from Te Tari Pūreke. 

The licence holder may choose to nominate someone other than their registered GP as their health practitioner when applying for a firearms licence. A patient might also change health practitioner without notifying Te Tari Pūreke. 

We suggest you include firearms licence holder information in the patient’s social history on the Patient Management System (PMS), which can be transferred as part of the medical record. 

You will receive notification from Te Tari Pūreke when: 

  • a patient is issued with a new licence, or their licence is renewed; or
  • an existing licence holder nominates you as their health practitioner. 

Firearms licences can last for up to 10 years. 

If you have received a notification from Te Tari Pūreke regarding a person who is not your patient, please let us know by completing: 

Health Practitioner Reporting form 

Applicant assessment

How we assess if an applicant is a ‘fit and proper person’ 

A fit and proper person: 
  • is a person of good conduct and character 
  • possesses and uses firearms responsibly 
  • stores firearms and ammunition securely 
  • abides by the laws of New Zealand. 

When Te Tari Pūreke assesses if someone is a fit and proper person, we consider: 

  • their overall character and conduct 
  • information provided by the applicant and their referees 
  • information we hold or receive from any source. 

The Arms Act 1983 gives some circumstances in which Te Tari Pūreke may find the applicant or licence holder not a fit and proper person to have and use firearms. If any of these circumstances apply, we do not automatically refuse the application.  

We will probably have more questions if: 

  • The applicant has been charged with or convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment 
  • The applicant has been charged with or convicted of an offence under the Arms Act 1983, against section 231A of the Crimes Act 1961, or against the Game Animal Council Act 2013, the Wildlife Act 1953, or the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 
  • The applicant has had a temporary protection order made against them under section 79 of the Family Violence Act 2018, or section 14 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 
  • there are grounds for a protection order under the Family Violence Act 2018 
  • The applicant has had a restraining order made against them under the Harassment Act 1997 
  • The applicant has not complied with the requirements of the Arms Act, regulations made under the Arms Act, or the conditions of a permit, licence, or endorsement issued to them under the Arms Act 
  • The applicant has been a member or affiliated with a gang or organised criminal group 
  • The applicant has exhibited, encouraged, or promoted violence, hatred, or extremism 
  • The applicant has been assessed as a risk to national security 
  • The applicant has a mental or physical illness or injury that affects their ability to safely possess firearms 
  • The applicant has abused alcohol or been dependent on alcohol 
  • The applicant has used drugs that affect their judgement or behaviour. 

If Te Tari Pūreke has a reason to find the applicant is not a fit and proper person, we will tell them the reason and give them an opportunity to refute or comment on it. (Some exemptions apply.)  

When you must consider notifying Te Tari Pūreke

As a health practitioner, you must consider notifying Te Tari Pūreke as soon as practical if you: 

  • have attended or been consulted in respect of a person who you know or have reason to believe is a firearms licence holder; and 
  • consider that the health condition or disability of the licence holder is such that, at the current time, the firearms licence holder is a risk to themselves, or to others, so should not have access to firearms. 

This is covered by Section 92 of the Arms Act 1983:

92. Health practitioners may give Police medical reports of persons unfit to use firearm – Legislation website 

Recording your decisions 

Any decisions, and the reasons for them, should be carefully documented in the patient’s clinical record, in case they need to be referred to later. 

Guidance for health practitioners

How to interpret ‘reason to believe’

‘Reason to believe’ is not defined in the Arms Act 1983. However, it can be interpreted to mean that you must form your belief based on facts – the belief need not be proven correct later. 

Examples of facts that could lead to a practitioner having reason to believe a patient is a firearms licence holder include: 

  • notification by the patient themselves, or the patient’s whа̄nau, that the patient holds a firearms licence 
  • the firearms licence status is recorded in the patient’s medical records 
  • the patient owns, or suggests they have access to firearms, and the practitioner does not have any reason to believe this ownership or access is unlawful; in which case they must be a licence holder 
  • certain leisure activities (for example, membership of a pistol club) or occupations (for example, wild animal or animal pest controller, farm worker). 

Relevant health conditions 

There is no exhaustive list of health conditions that may be relevant to safe possession and use of firearms. 

What is important, is whether the health condition is developing or manifesting itself (or is likely to) in such a way that, in the interests of individual or public safety, the person: 

  • should not continue to possess firearms 
  • should not continue to possess firearms for a specified period until the health condition or disability no longer impacts on their fit and proper status 
  • should only possess firearms on certain conditions – for example, firearms should only be used under supervision or firearms only be stored under another licence holder’s control. 

Examples of the sorts of health conditions or disabilities that may lead to a consideration of referral to Te Tari Pūreke (depending on public and individual safety considerations) could include:  

  • mental health issues of any kind, including depression, stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, or psychosis, especially if they are poorly controlled or escalating in severity  
  • development of suicidal thoughts or feelings 
  • serious head injury or neurological conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Multi System Atrophy 
  • seizures, dizziness, blackouts 
  • alcohol or other drug misuse or dependence to the extent it affects their judgement or behaviour 
  • decline in functioning of memory, thinking, understanding, and judgement 
  • exhibiting or reporting behaviour suggesting anger or violence (including previous or current family harm) 
  • drowsiness or problems with cognition, secondary to a health condition or medication 
  • any physical condition that would make handling firearms unsafe, for example, visual or hearing impairment, poor mobility, increased risk of falls. 

This list is designed to emphasise the wide spectrum of medical conditions and health states that may impact significantly on the ongoing propriety of an individual having a firearms licence. It is not exhaustive, and practitioners should consider notifying Te Tari Pūreke about any patient that they have concerns about. 

This information relates to section 24A(1) of the Arms Act:

24A. Fit and proper person to possess firearm or airgun

Before you notify Te Tari Pūreke

The decision to notify Te Tari Pūreke can sometimes be a difficult one. 

If it’s an emergency, call 111.  

In other cases, you may consider: 

How to notify Te Tari Pūreke or Police

If you think the licence holder poses an immediate or imminent danger of self-harm or harm to others, please call 111 and ask for Police

If you have concerns that do not pose an immediate or imminent danger due to a patient's access to firearms, you can: 

Information to provide when notifying Te Tari Pūreke 

You need to provide: 

  • patient name 
  • patient date of birth 
  • your opinion that in the interests of the safety of individuals or the public, the licence holder should not be permitted to use or possess a firearm, subject to any limitations that may be warranted by the health conditions of the licence holder 
  • whether you believe the licence holder poses an immediate or imminent danger of self-harm or harm to others 

Only provide information that is relevant to your opinion

The information you provide is not the only piece of information Te Tari Pūreke can consider when deciding on someone’s fit and proper status to hold a firearms licence. In many cases, we will also consider information from other sources before reaching a decision. 

What happens after you notify Te Tari Pūreke? 

A member of Te Tari Pūreke will contact you when your report has been received. This is an opportunity for you to raise any other concerns and discuss the next steps.  

After being notified, Te Tari Pūreke may decide to: 

1. Require a licence holder to undergo a further medical assessment by another health practitioner.

The licence holder must either:

  • undergo the further assessment; or
  • surrender their licence under section 27(1). 

2. Commence suspension or revocation actions under the Arms Act:

Section 27(1) Surrender and revocation of firearms licence

Does the licence holder know you have made a notification to Te Tari Pūreke? 

If the licence holder requests this information, it will be provided, unless there is a risk to a person’s safety, in which case it will be withheld. 

Protection for health practitioners who notify Te Tari Pūreke

As long as they act in good faith, health practitioners are not liable to criminal, civil, or disciplinary proceedings by disclosing personal information while performing any of the notifications under the Act.

This protection is provided under section 92(5) of the Arms Act: 

92. Health practitioners may give Police medical reports of persons unfit to use firearm

What if you decide not to notify Te Tari Pūreke?

You may decide that, while you have concerns about the person having access to firearms, they are not sufficient to warrant raising them with Te Tari Pūreke at this time. In this case, you may still want to offer advice to your patient about their access to firearms. 

You may remind the patient that if their health circumstances deteriorate further and they have concerns about their safety or the safety of others, they may want to consider surrendering their firearms to a friend who is a licensed firearms holder, or voluntarily to Te Tari Pūreke while they are unwell. 

More about surrendering a firearms licence 

A person may surrender (give up and hand in) their firearms licence to Police or Te Tari Pūreke at any time before it expires, as per section 27 of the Arms Act:

27. Surrender and revocation of firearms licence

If a person surrenders their licence, they will cease to be licensed to possess a firearm but may still be able to shoot under direct supervision.

If Te Tari Pūreke revokes a firearms licence, there will be a five-year stand-down period before a person can reapply for a firearms licence, as per section 23(1)(b) of the Arms Act:

23. Application for firearms licence

They cannot use a firearm or airgun in this stand down period, even under supervision. 


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