Can you shoot an air rifle in your backyard in New Zealand? The answer is yes, but with certain conditions. While air rifles are popular among hobbyists and hunters, it’s essential to be aware of the legal and safety implications of using them in your backyard.
The Safety Precautions of Shooting an Air Rifle in Your Backyard
While it’s legal to shoot an air rifle in your backyard, safety precautions are essential:
- Check local council regulations and bylaws.
- Inform neighbors and seek their consent if possible.
- Use a suitable backstop or pellet trap.
- Shoot at a safe distance and angle.
- Store your air rifle and pellets securely.
Air Rifle Laws in New Zealand
In New Zealand, air guns, including air rifles, fall under the Arms Act 1983. Interestingly, you don’t need a firearms license for air rifles with a muzzle velocity below 15-foot pounds (ft/lb) for rifles or 6 ft/lb for pistols. However, if your air rifle is more powerful, a license becomes mandatory.
It’s also crucial to shoot responsibly. Discharging an air gun recklessly, especially in public places, is illegal. The law prohibits endangering, annoying, or frightening anyone or causing property damage. Selling or supplying air guns to individuals under 18 is also restricted unless specific conditions are met.
Where Can I Shoot an Air Rifle in New Zealand?
While the Arms Act 1983 governs the use of air rifles, there are specific places where you can use them:
- Private Property: If you own private property, you can use your air rifle, ensuring the safety of those around you. However, you must respect noise control bylaws and avoid shooting towards public spaces or neighboring properties.
- Shooting Ranges: For those without private property, shooting ranges across New Zealand, like the Auckland Shooting Club, offer designated areas for air rifles.
Regardless of the location, safety should always be paramount. Always handle your air rifle responsibly and follow the rules of the shooting range or property.
Do You Need A Licence for an Air Rifle in New Zealand?
While air guns, including air rifles, are classified as firearms under the Arms Act 1983, there’s good news. For air rifles with a muzzle energy below specific limits, no firearms license is required. However, for more powerful air rifles, a standard New Zealand firearms license is necessary.
Slug Gun Laws in New Zealand
Often referred to as air rifles or air guns, slug guns in New Zealand are also governed by the Arms Act 1983. The licensing requirements are similar to those of air rifles.
The Legal Status of Air Rifles in New Zealand
According to the Arms Act 1983, air rifles are not considered firearms, which means they don’t require a firearms license. However, there are still rules and conditions to follow:
- Minors must be supervised when using an airgun.
- Selling or supplying an airgun to a minor has specific requirements.
- Users must adhere to safe firearm handling rules.
- Discharging an airgun in public places without a valid reason is prohibited.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a license for all types of air rifles in New Zealand?
No, only air rifles with a muzzle velocity above 15-foot pounds (ft/lb) for rifles or 6 ft/lb for pistols require a firearms license. Those with lower muzzle velocities do not need a license.
2. Can I shoot my air rifle in public places in New Zealand?
No, it’s illegal to discharge an air gun in public places such as streets, parks, or buildings open to the public unless you have a lawful purpose and the consent of the person in control of the place.
3. Are slug guns and air rifles the same in terms of New Zealand law?
Yes, in New Zealand, the term ‘slug gun’ is often used interchangeably with air rifle or air gun. Both are governed by the Arms Act 1983, and their licensing requirements are similar.
Shooting an air rifle in your backyard in New Zealand can be enjoyable, but it’s essential to be aware of the legal and safety responsibilities. By adhering to the rules and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy this hobby without any legal complications. Happy shooting!