Prevalence of Homemade Firearms

Police Omission on the Prevalence of Homemade Firearms Seized Raises Questions of Reliability and Political Neutrality of Police Advice Given to Ministers


The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand is questioning why Police appear to not compile data that directly contradicts their claims on how effective the register will be.

The first disturbing revelation is that New Zealand Police do not keep any data on the amount of 3D Printed or homemade firearms they seize, this data simply does not exist as per a recent Police OIA. This means that when a 3D-printed or homemade firearm is recovered, it is hidden within overall Police firearm recovery data, with no separate data logging in respect to the fact it is homemade. The Police’s refusal to collect this data means that there is no way to discern how prevalent the issue of 3D-printed or homemade firearms is. As an obvious alternative source of firearms for criminals that defeats the whole concept of the register, we question the motivations behind the omission of this very important data. The existence of these types of firearms in New Zealand directly undermines the argument that licensed firearms owners either having their firearms stolen or illegally diverted, are the primary methods of criminal firearms procurement. SSANZ ponders why a criminal would choose to go through the high-risk methods of stealing, buying firearms on the black market or through diversion, or smuggling them into the country, when they can make them at home without the need of a workshop. 3D-printed firearms are cheap, untraceable, can be independently mass-produced, and can be manufactured with custom specifications.

This could be a basic and highly concealable single-shot firearm that can be thrown away after it is used, automatic and semi-automatic pistols and rifles that can be used repeatedly, and these designs are constantly being developed and becoming more reliable and durable. These firearms are deemed to be functional enough to be used in combat by anti-Junta fighters in the ongoing Myanmar civil war. Much like firearms, the magazines for them can also be 3D printed.  The register does not capture or prevent the production of these types of firearms, like any homemade firearm, if anything it makes them more appealing and is driving criminals to this source of firearms as opposed to others. Increasing demand in this area will increase the supply in untraceable firearms in our communities.

SSANZ has received a tip-off that a large 3D-printed firearm production plant was discovered by Police in Christchurch recently, yet this information has not gone public. The Police have previously disclosed to the public for the first time, that a 3D-printed firearm was recovered in 2021, however, 3D-printed firearms are just an evolution in firearm production processes and materials technology that lowers the minimum required skill to build semi-automatic and automatic firearms from where it once was. Homemade firearms, in general, have existed in New Zealand well before 2021, yet there has been no effort to collect data on the prevalence of these firearms.

Whilst there may be many reasons, from resource constraints to poor record keeping, to explain a lack of records available for previous decades, SSANZ wonders why this is still the case post-2019. Considering the new register of firearms, and its future review, was announced in 2019, and Police uncovered their first 3D printed firearm in 2021, we cannot help but think there are political considerations behind this decision. Given that Police have a virtual monopoly on data collection relating to firearms, we see this omission as demonstrating a very real conflict of interest. What Police force would not want data that tells them how common untraceable home-made firearms are? The answer is New Zealand Police, the same agency that is a key supporter of the white elephant registry project.

This brings us to the second piece of OIA data we wish to highlight, the prevalence of firearms seized with and without serial numbers, as shown below. Police disclosed that they only started compiling serial number presence data from October 2018 for their Firearms Search and Seizure Database.

This requested data exclusively covers firearms seized when nobody was present at the location, or when firearms were seized from a location where nobody there held a firearms license. Firearms without serial numbers would include home-made firearms, including those manufactured by 3D printers, alongside firearms that have had their serial numbers removed. As stated earlier, we want to know these numbers, Police refuse to collect the data, so this is the closest we can currently get.

This data shows us is that criminals have been using non-serialized firearms well before the new firearms registry was even announced. There is no reason to say that this trend didn’t predate October 2018, in line with other countries experiences. SSANZ wonders how a registry is supposed to work without a serial number on a firearm.

Whilst one can reasonably deduce that recovered firearms with serial numbers on them came from proper firearms manufacturers, and therefore could only fall into criminal hands via illegal importation into New Zealand, as well as theft or diversion within New Zealand. This is not the case for non-serialised firearms, the amount of non-serialised firearms seized from unlicensed people or where nobody was present, increases by at least double, with 2019 being slightly under double. Home-made firearms are typically not serialized, especially those used and manufactured by criminals, as traceability does not lend itself well to criminality. Police would have you believe that the vast majority of these firearms are stolen or diverted firearms, despite their data collection choosing to ignore homemade firearms. This undermines the statistical basis behind Police assertions as to how criminals source their firearms.

SSANZ believes that the acknowledgment of homemade firearms is a direct challenge to the argument that criminals source firearms mainly from two sources, firearm theft, and firearm diversion from a small but overstated group of license holders. On diversion, only 35 license holders between January 2021, and August 2023, were charged (not convicted) with illegally selling their firearms to unlicensed people, just to demonstrate the scale of the issue police think justifies a register that is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
SSANZ questions the statistical basis and political neutrality of advice Police have given to multiple Ministers in the aftermath of 2019. This is because they can’t provide effective firearms regulation advice to the Government with data they don’t have.

SSANZ encourages Police to commence the compilation of data on the prevalence of homemade firearms seized as soon as possible, as well as explain why this data doesn’t exist. SSANZ is particularly disappointed that in a time where Police Officers are struggling with the cost of living due to poor pay, damaging data that would directly undermine the claimed effectiveness of a white elephant project that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, is effectively buried by the decisions of senior Police staff in what appears to be an internal political effort to protect it in the leadup to being scrutinised and reviewed in a few months.

SSANZ believes that this data would help keep not only New Zealanders safe and informed, but also give front-line officers a better picture of the types of threats they are likely to encounter as they try to keep criminals in check, and the public safe. SSANZ also stands by the view that the money that is being used for the A-category register should be allocated to increasing front-line Officer pay which will help Police meet their recruitment goals, and free up space in the Police budget at a time where the public sector is being told to find cost savings.

Clarification sought from Gun Control NZ on support for a gun registry’ Report

SSANZ seeks Clarification from Gun Control NZ re if  ‘Large majority of NZ’ers support a gun registry’ Report Data Excludes Illegal ‘Gun Owners’?

Wednesday 9th of August 2023 at 9 am

The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand is calling for caution when relying on Gun Control New Zealand’s (GCNZ) most recent report, particularly when it comes to conclusions made about licensed gun owners based on the survey data provided by Horizon Research.

The data for ‘gun owners’ is concerning because it implies that ‘gun owners’ have a gun in their possession regardless of whether they are licensed or not. It would also mean that people who don’t have a gun but are licensed would fall outside the ‘gun owner’ classification.

Supporting this point that the ‘gun owner’ data isn’t solely populated with lawful gun owners, is that four individuals in the sample say they are ‘not sure’ if they are gun owners or not. We would like Gun Control NZ to explain a situation where a survey participant can be ‘not sure’ of if they are a ‘gun owner’ or not.

The ‘rather not say’ sample casts further doubt on whether survey participants are gun owners through lawful means or not, numbering between 29 and descending to 25 throughout the survey.

Whilst we acknowledge that privacy and information security are of utmost importance to every license holder in New Zealand, the motivations behind a participant not indicating if they are a ‘gun
owner’ or not may not align with that of a licensed firearm owner.

We have grave concerns that licensed firearms owners are not the only individuals included in the ‘gun owner’ group and this will adversely impact the integrity of the data and conclusions drawn from it.

Another weakness of this survey is that Gun Control NZ has marketed its findings as indicating the attitudes of the gun-owning population in New Zealand.

The survey, assuming that all who did not select ‘no’ to being a gun owner, contains between 142 and 136 gun owners. Assuming then that these individuals are all licensed, would mean that 0.06 percent of the approximate 240,000 firearms license holders in New Zealand responded to the survey.

This is hardly a proportionate sample of the licensed firearm-owning community for the conclusions being drawn by GCNZ.

It appears GCNZ has jumped the gun on this survey, and we advise caution when drawing conclusions using their data.

For more information contact:
Thomas Hemphill,
President of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand
Phone – 02041470732


Sporting Shooters Call for Accountability by the Firearms Licensing Authority

Sporting Shooters are angry that the first known instance of license holder data being
leaked was the result of an entirely preventable error on the part of Authority staff.

SSANZ believes that this will validate licensed firearms owner’s concerns around the data security of the Authority and the security risks posed by the firearms registry.

Yesterday news media articles circulated the first publicly known instance of sensitive information being leaked from the Firearms Authority.

Despite the countless assurances that the information security of the Firearms Licensing Authority was first class, every licensed firearmsowner’s fear is now realized. The entirely preventable carelessness shown by the Authority has not only undermined the security of 147 license holders affected but also those that share their homes and the safety of the wider community.

The Sporting Shooters Association will be protesting to Police Minister Ginny Andersen as well as the Authority asking them why the remaining 232,000 licensed firearms owners should voluntarily supply the Authority with their sensitive information?

We will also want to know what assurances have been given to the 147 shooters whose privacy and security they compromised.

Licensed firearms owners are sick and tired of the ‘I told you so’ moments with Police/Authority conduct which we seem to have regularly.

If the Authority wants licensed firearms owners to stop lawfully avoiding activating circumstances for the registry (out of protest and well-founded concerns about data security), a step in achieving this is to have basic data handling protocols to prevent simple preventable mistakes like this from happening again.

An administrative blunder for the Authority is the undermining of privacy and security for license holders.

If the Authority is not held to account for this level of incompetence, then expect shooters to lose what little confidence they have in them to keep New Zealand safe.

For more information contact:
Thomas Hemphill,
President of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand
Phone – 02041470732

Lawmaking to make the already illegal, more illegal?

Just as everything the offender in Christchurch did was illegal, so are the mis-deeds of the ram-raiders.  Most of these raiders don’t even have drivers licences!  We can of course hope that their motor vehicles are registered.

The seemingly blithe assurance with which lawmakers idiotically create and pass laws with inordinate haste, leaving the law abiding to rue the unintended consequences of ill-considered legislation (which often repeats the intended controls of existing laws) tells us a lot more about the lawmakers than perhaps they intended.

Another unintended consequence perhaps?

Consequences From NZ Police Association Appearance On TVNZ Breakfast

Wednesday, 17 May 2023, 12:57 pm

The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) is concerned at the unsubstantiated and incomplete evidence that emerged in an interview on live television this week with President of the NZ Police Association, Chris Cahill.

Cahill’s interview on TVNZ Breakfast’s show last Monday included the misleading claim that a firearm registry would have stopped the killing of a dairy owner and the shooting of Police Constable Matthew Hunt.

There is no evidence to support this claim. For all their extraordinary expense, firearm registries do not reduce shootings. Neither is there a mechanism by which a registry could prevent a shooting, as at best they can only ever identify the source of a firearm after it has been misused and found.

COLFO spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack says Cahill needs to moderate his bold advocacy into line with expectations of New Zealand citizens for trustworthiness of Police and media.

“The claims could generate unwarranted fear amongst those with little experience with firearms.

“The research alluded to in the interview was irrelevant, incomplete, and unreferenced.

“There was no mention of real-world experience such as the Canadian registry that was reduced to handling only restricted firearms after 13 failed years that cost $2b.”[1]

Devereux-Mack says the public deserves a higher quality discussion of the Registry, as it is budgeted to cost $711m in the first ten years.

“Police have admitted they can’t trace 82% of the firearms they seize, because 90% have had serial numbers removed. A registry mostly works on serial numbers.”

Cahill claimed the registry would make firearm owners improve security, so firearm thefts would consequently decrease.

“Security is already assessed by Police and deemed adequate to obtain a license. There’s no additional security requirement in a Registry.

“Cahill cited a mystery reduction in firearm theft in Australia following the introduction of a registry, although there is no Australia-wide registry. There is also no reduction in firearm theft: it increased over the decade to 2018, from just over 1,700 a year in 2007-08 to nearly 3,300 in 2016 -17.”[2]




Reducing drivers licence fees, yet proposing to increase firearm licence fees?

It is impossible not to see a pattern of sorts emerging from the news reports of proposals to
reduce fees for driving motor vehicles (which contribute directly more than 9,000 injuries and
deaths annually), and to increase fees for firearm licence holding (from which casualty numbers
are less than 500 annually, mostly from intentional self-harming).

This pattern is however riddled with anomalies: with more than 4 million holding licences to
operate any form of motor vehicle on a public road, there are only about 240,000 people licensed
for firearm possession and use. The former are a majority, the latter a minority.

Never mind the vastly higher number of casualties from motor vehicle misuse, if we relate these to the number of licensed users, we obtain a rate per 10,000 residents for motor vehicle misuse (causing a casualty or two) of more than 20 per 10,000, which when compared to the equivalent rate by firearm
licence holder, is almost identical, also at 20 per 10,000 residents.

Yet three-quarters of the firearm casualties are intentional, often by unwell people intent on self-destruction.
The questions must be asked, does putting fees up encourage licence holding?

And, if we knew the number of unlicensed firearm owners, what is their casualty rate?

Do you really feel safer?

N.Z. First agrees they were mistaken to support gun law reforms

Sporting Shooters President Alec Melville recently met New Zealand First candidate Shane Jones about NZ First support of the misguided Labour Government’s firearm law reforms.

 Blunt-speaking Shane Jones not only agreed that NZ First were mistaken in supporting the law reforms but also indicated that he does not support further reforms including full firearm registration (FFR).

Mr Jones said that New Zealand First would rather Police concentrate on the gangs than making license holders lives a misery through excessive regulation.

This is contrasts with the reaction of outgoing Dunedin North MP Dr David Clark at a meeting in March with Chaz Forsyth, who when shown an example of the intensive and onerous details to be provided for gaining Commissioner of Police approval of all small arms ranges, responded to the effect that the keeping of records in a centralised system would reduce the dependence upon clubs, whose recruitment of committee members had long posed difficulties.

The burdensome firearm law reforms imposed by a central government intent on trying anything to curb violent crime had rebounded to the detriment of the licensed firearm owners, without impacting upon those whose ill-intent had already been publicly declared.

“Do you feel safer?” is a question which must be asked in light of these ‘reforms’.

NZDA Raises Concerns Over Police’s Proposed Firearms Licensing Fee Increases During Cost of Living Crisis

MEDIA RELEASE; 16 March 2023

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) is deeply concerned with the recent proposal by the Police to significantly increase firearms licensing fees. 

The proposed fee hikes have the real potential to severely impact public safety, Aotearoa New Zealand’s conservation and biodiversity goals, and other community good outcomes, particularly in terms of our ability to educate firearms users in the safe handling and storage of firearms and ammunition. 

Additionally, the proposed fees unfairly target lower-income recreational hunters and shooters, many of whom depend on hunting to provide food for their families, especially during the current cost of living crisis. 

At the NZDA, we believe that the proposed fee increases will not necessarily improve safety and security of firearms in New Zealand, instead the fee hikes will be used to pay for high-paying government jobs in Wellington. 

In fact, if fees are set at a level which is unaffordable to the 240,000 firearms licence holders, it may have the opposite effect by leading to decreased compliance and a decline in the number of licensed firearms owners. 

NZDA’s CEO, Gwyn Thurlow, says “the goal to impose cost recovery on a small pool of people at the cost of general public safety has to be weighed up. And that balancing act has to be considered in the context that firearms are used across our communities for farming, pest control and hunting purposes and those communities have been hit hard in recent times. Huge hikes would be unreasonable for the government to impose”.

The Police failed to do any community-impact or price-sensitivity analysis before coming up with their proposals. Recognising the potential adverse consequences of such a proposal, NZDA conducted a survey of over 2,500 people to obtain data on the community impact and gather their views on the proposal. Our survey data shows that most current licensed firearms owners are willing to accept a fee increase to their licences of between $150-$300.

“Owning and using firearms is now a privilege under the Arms Act but in New Zealand, unlike in most other countries, it has not just been accessible for the rich and privileged. Here we have a tradition of all Kiwis being able to hunt and gather food as a fundamental part of our culture and tradition,” Mr Thurlow said.

The NZDA has identified several concerns with Police’s proposal, including a likely significant drop in compliance, education, and safety, an increase in the size of the grey and black-market trade of firearms, a decrease in Police oversight over firearms possession and use, and a reduction in the use of formal dealers in exchange for informal, ad-hoc person-to-person sales of firearms and ammunition.

In addition, the proposed fee increases will cause a shortfall in the number of valued big game and pest animals harvested and controlled on both private and public land. This will have to be met by taxpayer and ratepayer agencies such as the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, QEII Trust, and Regional Councils (each of which will in turn have faced high costs due to the same Police fees being imposed). This will have severe consequences for taxpayers and ratepayers as well as families dependent on hunted food/mahinga kai who are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

If firearms usage drops due to licensing being unaffordable, this will significantly increase browsing pressure on our native plant species which is in direct opposition to the goals of the Te Ara ki Mua Framework which states that the key action is to reduce browsing pressure and support ecosystem resilience by:

  • Improving monitoring, delivery, and evaluation of wild animal management, and
  • Coordinating efforts and enhancing capacity across the people, organisations, and agencies involved in wild animal management.

The NZDA believes that the proposed fee increases will also result in restricted access to sport shooting and recreational hunting, particularly for lower-income communities including rural and Māori communities and youth. It is likely that there will be significantly lower uptake of sports that require firearms if fees increase. As a nation that regularly wins medals at Commonwealth and Olympic Games in shooting disciplines, this would be detrimental to attaining world class skills.

In light of these concerns, the NZDA has requested that Police reconsider the proposed fee increases for firearms licensing and engage with the NZDA and the firearms community to discuss our concerns.

Mr Thurlow said, “At the moment a firearms licence is $126.50 but that is set to increase to somewhere in the order of $700-$1000. What this means is that the average person won’t afford a firearm, they won’t get into the sport of hunting or they may give it up because it is unaffordable. And that is a huge risk to biodiversity and public safety.”


  1. NZDA’s full submission to Police is available here.
  2. NZDA has contacted Police and the Minister of Police on multiple occasions to request official information in response to many of our concerns. Those requests have thus far been denied or have been left unanswered. We can provide copies of those documents if required.


– ENDS –


Gwyn Thurlow, CEO and General Counsel

M: 0274060060 



February 5, 2023 @ 21:30 hr

Creating a massive empire with hundreds of new staff is not the answer to solving the woes of the police Firearm Safety Authority” says Neville Dodd the president of the Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand.

This in response to revelations that a police internal survey of arms control staff found many flaws in the system, not least the lack of training and support for staff:

Dodd said, “We have been saying since 2017 that the system was failing, including the diversion of funds to other Police functions, as documented in the Police Annual report of 2018.

The Commission of Inquiry into March 2019 proved us right when it concluded that police had failed in their duty to properly administer firearms licensing.

The problem now is that rushed law changes made by the Labour government have made everything so complicated that few people really understand the law and its regulations. As a result licensed firearm owners have lost trust and confidence in the police, and non compliance is sure to become a real issue, especially following the massive fee hikes proposed by the new FSA Empire builders.

For successful domestic arms control what is needed is simple laws that are easy to understand and follow, with less red tape and a rebuilding of trust between the police/regulators and the firearm owning community.

Laws must be aimed at targeting those who perpetrate crime rather than those who live peacefully in our communities.

This can only be achieved by collaboration between all parties, where the police are supporters of the firearm community rather than the oppressors they have become since 2019.


In a discussion document released yesterday entitled Arms regulations: Review of fees 2022 Police seek to recover the full cost of administering many of the laws and regulations covering the ownership and use of firearms, together with partial cost in some instances, from licensed firearm owners.

In many cases they are proposing to raise fees from a few hundred dollars to over a $1,000 and also apply huge fees to activities that have required no charged previously.

As Sporting Shooters Association President Neville Dodd says, “some of these fee hikes are outrageous and will only serve to drive many away from firearm ownership or alternatively see massive non compliance”.
For example currently dealers pay $50 to transfer their dealers licence to a gun show or auction venue, police are proposing that this should increase to $ 1,120.  This in itself will deter many smaller dealerships from attending gun shows.
Police are now proposing that collectors pay a fee of $ 1,100 for permission to remove a restricted firearm from their home to display at a public show or club event.  This will mean the end of public displays or military reenactments by private collectors with their heritage arms.
All these additional cost have been forced on the firearm community by the government and police with their new laws and regulations in the name of making the public safer.  It is only fair and reasonable that any additional costs of regulating firearms in New Zealand is born by the public purse. 

Further it should be noted that with only the new police Firearm Safety Authority legally allowed to charge these fees there is no incentive for improving efficiency or competitive pricing. We are stuck with a ponderous monopoly.