A stun gun is a weapon that is often used as a means of self-defense. Upon physical contact with a stun gun, an electrical charge is emitted and temporarily immobilizes or incapacitates a person. Under the Arms Act of 1983 enacted by Parliamentary Legislature, stun guns are restricted weapons in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Police is the lead agency responsible for issuing firearms licenses. Residents who are 16 years of age or older may apply for this license, which allows them to buy, own and collect various firearms. Obtaining the firearms license, however, does not permit the holder to be in possession of a restricted weapon, such as a stun gun. Individuals who are in possession of a stun gun may be jailed up to four years, fined up to NZ$5,000 (as of August, 2010), or both.
Possessing, Presenting or Discharging
The unlawful possession of a restricted weapon may result in imprisonment for up to three years, a fine of up to NZ$4,000 (as of August, 2010), or both. Presenting a stun gun to another person, whether or not the weapon is functional, may result in jail time of up to three months or a fine of up to NZ$1,000 (as of August, 2010). Discharging of a stun gun in a public place or a place of residence, with the intention to frighten or annoy individuals, may result in jail time of up to three months, fines of up to NZ$3,000 NZ (as of August, 2010), or both.
Injury or Death Due to Reckless Use
Individuals who discharge a restricted weapon such as a stun gun may be charged with recklessness if they cause the injury or death of another person. This indictment results in imprisonment of up to three years, fines up to $NZ4,000 (as of August, 2010), or both.
Criminal Intent Using Stun Guns or Tasers
Using a restricted weapon to resist arrest will result in an indictment for a minimum term of three years. Individuals who use stun guns with criminal intent will be imprisoned for a maximum sentence of five years.
Permits to Import and Own Stun Guns and Tasers
Permits to import or own stun guns must be issued by the New Zealand Police under the direction of the commissioner. The police agency may issue permits to licensed dealers and to members of organizations making broadcasts, staging theatrical productions or film and video recordings. Applicants must prove that they are fit to carry and own these restricted weapons. Owners and importers of stun guns who fail to obtain the necessary permits may be fined up to NZ$1,000 (as of August, 2010), jailed up to three months, or both.
A Toronto native, Elizabeth Erikson has been writing education-related articles since 2008. Her work has appeared in “Brock University Publications.” Erikson is a middle school teacher who specializes in public and private schooling, both at home and abroad. She holds a Master of Education from Brock University.