Gun laws: how NZ compares with Australia

NEW ZEALAND GUN LAWS IN COMPARISON TO AUSTRALIA

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF PRIVATELY OWNED GUNS (LEGAL AND ILLEGAL)

NZ - 1.5 million guns or 33 per 100 people

Australia - 3.2 million guns or 14 per 100 people

* RESTRICTIONS

NZ

- Applicants for a gun owner's licence in New Zealand are not legally required to establish a genuine reason to possess a standard hunting or sports shooting firearm, but specific reasoning is required for pistols and Military Style Semi-Automatic (MSSA) weapons. That reason could be pest control.

There's no restriction on the number of guns or quantity of ammunition a licensed gun owner can have.

Australia

- Civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic firearms, self-loading and pump action shotguns, and certain handguns.

Applicants for a gun owner's licence in Australia need a genuine reason to own a firearm, for example gun club membership, hunting, target shooting, firearm collection, pest control, and narrow occupational uses.

Gun owners can only have the number of guns specified on their licence and there are limits on the ammunition they can buy in a given period.

* CHECKS

NZ

- An applicant for a firearm licence in New Zealand must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, medical, addiction and domestic violence. Third-party character references are required.

Authorities are required to interview an applicant's partner or ex-partner or next of kin before issuing a gun licence.

Gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify every 10 years.

Australia

- An applicant for a firearm licence in Australia must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, physical, addiction, domestic violence, residential and other records. Third party character references are required for some licence categories in some jurisdictions.

Gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify every one to five years depending on the licence category.

* NZ LOOPHOLE ON SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS

An A category rifle, which requires only a standard licence, can legally carry a seven-round magazine. This weapon can be illegally converted into an MSSA if that magazine is replaced with, say, a 30-round magazine and a pistol grip added to the stock so gunfire can be sprayed from the hip.

Sources: GunPolicy.org and its founding director, Associate Professor Philip Alpers of Sydney University