14 May 2020

In response to Covid-19, the Government has passed temporary legislation enabling the extension of firearms and dealers’ licences expiring between December 2019 and 25 September 2020. This means people who have an expired or expiring firearms or dealer’s licence, and have applied for a renewal, will be deemed to have a current licence until the outcome of their licence application.

This recognises the inability of licence holders to complete the renewal application or for Police to progress licensing and vetting activity during alert level restrictions. Please note there will be delays as Police works through the backlog, as well as new applications.

What the changes mean for licence holders:

  • If your firearms or dealer’s licence expired before or on 24 March 2020 you must have already applied for a renewal of your licence before it expired for the temporary legislation to apply. If your licence expired before this date and you had not applied for a renewal, you are not legally able to possess or use firearms. You should urgently contact your local police arms office to discuss your options.
  • If your firearms or dealer licence has or will expire between 25 March and 25 September you need to apply for a renewal of your licence as soon as you can to allow for the expected delays in processing your application and no later than 4 months after the expiry date. Following your application you will be able to legally continue to possess, procure, or use a firearm or ammunition for up to 12 months after the original expiry date or until you have had your licence application determined by Police if this happens earlier.

Any endorsements on the licence will continue to be valid for the same period as any extended licence. Similarly, any conditions on a licence will also continue during the extended licence period.

Licence holders going hunting or shooting should carry their existing firearms licence card with them, and confirmation that they have applied to renew their licence.

People who want to sell a firearm or ammunition to a person with a licence card which shows an expiry date before 25 September 2020 should contact their local arms office to confirm it is legally permitted to sell the firearm or ammunition.

Update on deferrals still in place

The following firearms activities remain deferred:

  • Visitor licence applications.
  • First time firearms licence applications and the firearms safety programme.
  • Pistol endorsement holder minimum annual shoot requirements.
  • Dealer premises visits.
  • Existing endorsement holder (collectors, pistol shooters, and pest controller) security checks and holdings audits.


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