Advocacy Alert: Government to consult on regulation of shooting clubs and ranges

Government to consult on regulation of shooting clubs and ranges

29 May 2024

The Government is consulting New Zealanders on a package of proposals for simple and effective regulation of shooting clubs and ranges, Associate Minister of Justice, Nicole McKee announced on the 28th May 2024. NZDA welcomes these changes and notes that Nicole has delivered on her election promises. A minister's fact sheet is attached below which can provide further insight.

Watch Nicole McKee speak on the Regulation of Shooting Clubs & NZ Gun Laws: 

Nicole McKee on the Regulation of Shooting Clubs & NZ Gun Laws

Leah Panapa talks to ACT's Nicole McKee about the regulation of shooting clubs & New Zealand's gun laws.Watch the full interview at

Consultation Feedback Due by 21st June

Discussion document:  

The Government has a commitment to comprehensive firearms reform this Parliamentary term. One of its priorities is to improve the regulation of shooting clubs and ranges. Yesterday, the Government announced that they would be consulting on a package of proposals for simple and effective regulation of clubs and ranges.  

The discussion document attached outlines this proposed approach. We welcome your insights and feedback on this to inform this work.  

Appreciating that you may have detailed knowledge about clubs and ranges, or more general interest, the discussion document includes questions, which you can use to guide your feedback. However, we welcome any further thoughts you may have on the regulation of clubs and ranges more generally. 

We welcome a submission in your individual capacity or on behalf of the group you represent. To make a submission, you can email or use the mail address on page 3 of the discussion document. 

Nicole’s Statement

“Clubs and ranges are not only important for people learning to operate firearms safely, to practice, and to compete, but they are also great community assets,” Minister McKee says. 

“However, law changes in 2020 changed the way that clubs and ranges are regulated, with all shooting clubs needing to be approved, and ranges needing to be certified, often at extensive cost. 

“I am concerned these requirements went beyond what was needed to ensure public safety. The current regulations impact the people running clubs and ranges – many of whom are volunteers – and create a risk that they will close.” 

“This would have a negative impact on public safety. Club members run many of our ranges, and if a club closes there is no one to operate the range. This leaves no safe venue for the essential tasks of sighting in rifles and educating new licensed firearms owners on firearms safety. 

“ACT’s coalition agreement committed to immediately beginning work to repeal and replace Part 6 of the Arms Act 1983 relating to clubs and ranges. We have been working hard on this, and today I am pleased to share what that looks like.” 

The Ministry of Justice will undertake focused consultation from now through June on a package of proposals for simple and effective regulation of pistol and non-pistol shooting clubs and ranges. 

“I am looking forward to hearing the views of stakeholders. Final proposals will be confirmed after the consultation has concluded, with a Bill to be introduced to Parliament later this year," she says. 

“In the meantime, the Government will make a short-term adjustment to the non-pistol club annual reporting requirement. 

“Non-pistol shooting clubs have contacted me directly, concerned about the requirement to provide an annual report. This is first-hand knowledge of the pressure clubs are under. In my view, this is an example of over-regulation without a clear public safety rationale. 

“Adjusting this requirement for non-pistol clubs will serve as a short-term measure, benefiting over 100 non-pistol shooting clubs, until broader changes to the requirements for clubs are considered as part of the Arms Act rewrite.” 

All shooting clubs will need to comply with current requirements until the changes have come into effect. 

“I look forward to sharing my wider programme of firearms law reform with New Zealanders. We need simple and effective regulation that contributes to the safety of New Zealand communities by keeping firearms out of the hands of those who would misuse them." 

Press Release Nicole McKee:    

Clubs & Ranges Q and A

1) How did the law changes made to clubs and ranges by the last government “go beyond" what was required? 

  • The changes made by Labour placed unnecessary regulation on clubs and ranges, many of which are organisations ran and funded by volunteers. An example of these unnecessary regulations is the current annual reporting requirements for clubs and ranges, which many clubs and ranges have told me are overly burdensome and have no clear public safety rationale.

2) Why are these changes necessary? 

  • Firearms clubs and ranges are the known eyes and ears of the firearms community. They play an important role in offering a safe environment for licenced firearms owners to practice and learn. If these clubs and ranges close due to overly burdensome regulations, then this will be lost, possibly having negative implications for public safety.

3) How do clubs and ranges keep the public safe? 

  • Education around the safe use, storage, and transportation of firearms is essential for public safety. Firearms clubs and ranges provide these opportunities. Without clubs and ranges, licenced firearms owners will not be exposed to this valuable knowledge, impacting upon public safety.

4) Why shouldn't these clubs need to comply with annual report requirements? 

  • Annual reporting requirements will remain in place for pistol clubs. I have heard from many non-pistol clubs that they are having difficulty meeting current reporting requirements. As a short-term measure, I am streamlining reporting requirements for non-pistol clubs to avoid placing unnecessary burden upon clubs and ranges when there is no clear public safety rationale.

5) What organisations/groups are MoJ consulting with? And why is the consultation not wider? 

  • Timeliness, Ministry of Justice resource, and cost were all factors that informed my decision to undertake focused consultation. Groups participating in this consultation represent a cross-section of New Zealand’s society. Consultation will include representatives of the firearms community, medical professionals, community lawyers, the Muslim community, and family harm prevention groups, among others.

6) Isn't this just the first step in rewinding everything that was achieved with the 2020 law changes? 

  • No. What we are doing is consulting on proposed changes, which are intended to remove unnecessary regulation that has no tangible public safety rationale.

In the long term the closure of these clubs could have negative public safety outcomes for New Zealand, and I am not prepared to let that happen. 

7) How do these proposed changes not compromise public safety? 

  • These initial proposals provide greater oversight for the benefit of public safety. They recognise that people involved in clubs and ranges are motivated to ensure ranges are run well, and they should be supported with this. It also recognises that clubs have a role to play in risk mitigation.

8) Why do we need to protect these sorts of clubs? 

  • If these clubs and ranges close, then licenced firearms owners won’t have a supervised place to safely practice and learn about the safe use of firearms. It is in the interest of public safety to protect the operation of these clubs and ranges.

9) Why is the change to the annual reporting requirement being made immediately? 

  • There are more than 100 of New Zealand's 303 non-pistol clubs due to provide their annual report in the next few months. This change will assist those clubs so that their ongoing operation is not jeopardised.

10) What message do these proposed changes send to the New Zealand public? 

  • It sends the message that this Government is concerned with public safety. We need supervised environments where licenced firearms owners can go to practice and learn how to use firearms safely.

Clubs and ranges Q&A:  

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