Have you been served with a temporary protection order?
Do you have a firearms licence?
It is a standard condition of every protection order that a respondent must not have a weapon in their possession or control and must not hold a firearm.
If you have been served with a Temporary Protection Order you should immediately deliver any weapons, guns and ammunition, together with your firearms licence to your local Police station. This is a standard condition of any Protection Order, and it is important to take action to avoid breaching the order, which is a criminal offence.
Once a Temporary Protection Order has been made, your firearms licence will be suspended pending a decision about whether the order becomes a Final Protection Order.
If a Temporary Protection Order is not defended, the order will automatically become final after three months from the date it was made and will remain in force permanently, unless or until it is discharged by the Family Court.
If the Order becomes final, your firearms licence is deemed to be revoked indefinitely.
The Arms Act
The Arms Act 1983 regulates firearm licences and control and possession of weapons.
Under the Arms Act, a person is disqualified from holding a firearms licence if they have or have had, a final protection order made against them in the last 10 years.
What this means is that if you apply to discharge a Final Protection Order within 10 years of it being made, you will not automatically be eligible to apply for a firearms licence – you will still be disqualified until the 10-year period has passed.
Family Court and Te Tari Pūreke | The Firearms Safety Authority
Under the Family Violence Act 2018, the Family Court can remove or vary the conditions related to weapons and firearms.
While the Family Court has the ability to vary or cancel the conditions of a Final Protection Order to enable someone to apply for their firearms licence, the 10-year disqualification period will still apply.
Ultimately however, it is for Te Tari Pūreke | The Firearms Safety Authority, to regulate the legitimate possession and use of firearms and importantly, to make determinations about the issue, or otherwise, of a firearms licence.
Responding to a protection order
A respondent to a Temporary Protection Order has the right to oppose, or defend, the making of a protection order, however there are strict time frames for doing this.
If you are a firearms licence holder and have been served with a Temporary Protection Order, we suggest you seek legal advice on the merits of defending the protection order.
If you do nothing you may have a long wait to get your firearms licence again in the future.