WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s amended gun laws took effect on Tuesday to further reduce firearms violence, said Police Minister Poto Williams.

The Arms Amendment Regulations 2021 taking effect is one of the many changes as the result of the investigation by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the March 2019 terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques that killed 51 people and injured 40 others.

“Gangs and other violent criminals cannot continue to threaten, intimidate and exploit our communities and these additional regulations provide the police further tools to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and to keep our communities safe,” Williams said in a statement.

“Owning a firearm in New Zealand is a privilege, not a right and these changes are another step towards combatting firearms violence and making our communities safer,” Williams said.

The changes include implementing harsher penalties for gun crime, introducing the Firearms Prohibition Orders intended to ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands.

The changes to the regulations tailor the requirements to each type of firearms dealer activity.

They also work to provide the information that is required for the import of ammunition and pistol-carbine conversion kits, the minister said, adding they specify the nature and type of records that need to be kept by businesses selling ammunition.

The regulations will also mean that additional information will be required by applicants for firearms licenses, including a list of countries traveled to or visited in the previous five years involving stays of 14 days or more, and the length of stay in each country address.

The firearms vetting process will help ensure anyone with red flags in other jurisdictions will be identified. Police can then consider whether these individuals are fit and proper to hold a firearms license in New Zealand, she said.

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