the law

new zeAland firearms law

There is a lot of confusion within the public as to whether an Airsoft gun is a firearm – they are, at least here in New Zealand.

Some of this confusion is due to most other countries NOT treating Airsoft Guns as firearms and a lot of the Airsoft information available online is from these countries. This combined with the fact that Airsoft Taggers do not fire bullets leads the NZ public to assume they are merely toys.

Airsoft Guns (Taggers) are governed by the NZ Arms Act where they have their own firearms classification, “Restricted Airgun”.

Contrary to how you use “real guns”, Airsoft Taggers (like Paintball Markers) are designed to be pointed at people. For this reason, many of the firearms laws do not apply to Airsoft, but they still share several important rules (see below).

Breaking these rules constitutes a firearms offence and can incur a fine and/or jail time, so it is important to educate yourself on the responsibilities of Airsoft Gun ownership and use.

NZ Airsoft discussing the sport with the public at the 2018 Armageddon Expo in Auckland.  Public displays are a great opportunity for us to educate the public about the legal requirements involved in owning and using Airsoft Guns (Taggers).

For more information about NZ Firearms Law, please contact your local Police Station or visit your Local Firearms Officer.

things to


While not “real guns” there are several important things to consider when looking at getting into the sport of Airsoft

  • Purchasing an Airsoft Tagger
  • The age of the player
  • Storage of the Airsoft Gun (Tagger)
  • How to safely transport your Airsoft Tagger


Unlike conventional firearms, you do not require a Firearms License to own an Airsoft Gun (Tagger) if you are over the age of 18.

Airsoft Taggers can be purchased from NZ-based Airsoft/Sporting retailers (recommended) or online from overseas.

All overseas orders require a “Permit to Import” which must be obtained from the Police. Failure to secure a Permit to Import will result in the imported gun being seized and destroyed by NZ Customs upon arrival in the country.

Talk to your local Arms Officer about obtaining a Permit to Import.


Like all firearms, Airsoft guns need to be transported safely and out-of- sight. This means using a gun box or gun bag when carrying them in public. They are not to be seen!

When transporting Airsoft Taggers in vehicles, ensure they are well covered/hidden within the vehicle so they cannot be viewed from outside. At no time should you carry an Airsoft Tagger on your person while in a vehicle – tinted windows are no excuse.

Having any firearm, including an Airsoft Tagger out in public areas constitutes a firearms offence and can incur a fine and jail time.

Underage Players

If you are 16-17 years old, you will be required to have a Firearms License to own, sell or transport any Airsoft Gun.

Any player under the age of 18 who does not have a firearms license is not permitted to own, sell or transport an Airsoft Gun. This is a particular point for parents who mistakenly think they can just buy an Airsoft gun and give it to a child as a toy.

This does not mean that underage players cannot use an Airsoft gun, they can but must be under constant and direct adult supervision. For this reason, many Airsoft Club do not accept unlicensed underage players.


Airsoft Gun Storage

Unlike “real guns”, Airsoft Guns (Taggers) are not required by law to be stored within a Gun Safe. They do still need secure storage and should be kept out-of-sight when at home. Do not leave your Airsoft Taggers laying around the house for visitors to see. A visiting courier driver or meter reader will have no way of knowing that your Tagger is not a real gun.

Do not leave your Airsoft Taggers unattended or within an open building or unlocked vehicle.

The minimum best practice is to keep them in bags or boxes away from prying eyes under a bed, in the back of a wardrobe or cupboard at the very least.  A lockable storage solution is even better.