There is a lot of contradictory advice around this imbecilic area of Police policy.
So here are the facts.
Possession of High Capacity Magazines
There is absolutely no legal restrictions on the purchase and possession of high capacity magazines in New Zealand. With or without a gun licence.
It is an offence to possess a high capacity magazine and to then store it with an ‘A’ category rifle that will accept that magazine.
High capacity magazines can be hard to come by in New Zealand. Especially for unusual guns. It is not uncommon for shooters to sell a rifle if they need a cash injection, but to keep the magazines for when it is later replaced.
If those magazines can also fit an ‘A’ category rifle of similar design then they must still be stored so that they can not be reasonably associated with that firearm.
So not under the same roof. (Case law ref Police v Muench DCR 1997 1016)
Please be aware that high capacity magazines need a permit to import from overseas as they are defined as a firearm part. Permit via s 16 (1) (b).
If a shooter has twin AR15s on A and E respectively – Is this an issue?
No. It is accepted that the large capacity magazines is intended for use on the MSSA rifle only.
It is always up to the individual license holder – who is a fit and proper person – to maintain their firearms in a lawful configuration at all times.
But What if a Shooter Has an ‘A’ Category Rifle That Accepts High Capacity Magazines AND an ‘A’ Category Semi Automatic Rifle?
A Kiwi Blog Reader just asked this in response to our article.
There are indeed several popular models of bolt action, straight pull and pump action rifles that take the AR magazine.
Our legal advice is that the court decision referred to above is very clear and still applies.
The shooter can still not associate with a standard firearm an MSSA magazine under the same roof.
It doesn’t matter if the person clearly has these for use in an ‘A’ category rifle.
The only possible solution that has been suggested to us is that a second safe would have to be installed in a garage – or separate structure – away from the house. Then the bolt action rifle and large capacity magazine can be kept in that.
Likely with less security and better access for criminals.
The ‘A’ cat semi automatic is then still kept inside the house – in a separate safe with its seven round magazines.
In this way such separation makes it very clear to a judge just what the owner’s intentions were for the arms they control.
Yes – that is insane. But there you go.
The Blog would have thought that the same ‘If its kept in a legal state’ concept for possessing a legitimate ‘E’ firearm would still stand. But no.
Those kiwis vetted and found to be ‘Fit and proper’ to own guns are assumed to have committed the possible future crime.
The Kiwi Gun Blog also wrote to check the point with a Police arms office – but were of course ignored.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Even if the Police change policy on you and don’t tell you.
Or ignore the questions of lawful shooters trying to obey policy that is far less than intuitive.
There we go. Stay legal!
Thanks to Nicholas Taylor for the advice.