Guidelines for schools to develop or review a firearms policy

We don’t support the unsupervised access of firearms in schools. However, we do acknowledge that there may be legitimate circumstances where firearms may be part of students’ education or sporting activities.

About the guidelines

Current legislation allows firearms in schools under strict conditions. These guidelines are designed to support schools to have the correct policy and processes in place. The guidelines are based on 2 principles.

Principle 1

All schools are required to provide a lawful and safe physical and emotional environment for students and staff. A safe and lawful environment for students and staff is of paramount importance and therefore must be the primary concern when applying the guidelines.

Principle 2

Parents/caregivers, students and the public will have a valid expectation that schools will develop a written policy and procedures to cover circumstances where students are involved in activities relating to firearms and that they will advise parents/caregivers accordingly. Schools must be mindful of these expectations.

Support for boards of trustees

The guidelines will support boards of trustees to:

  • understand their roles and responsibilities
  • ensure they meet their obligations under the Arms Act 1983, Arms Regulations 1992 and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • clarify situations when firearms are permitted in schools and the processes that must be followed.

Firearms in Schools Guidelines and Tool Kit [PDF, 472 KB]

Quick guide to the Firearms in Schools Guidelines [PDF, 134 KB]


Use the tools below to help you consult with your community, review your current policies and procedures or develop a policy

Tool 1 Policy development checklist [DOCX, 120 KB]

Tool 2 Event checklist [DOCX, 119 KB]

Tool 3 Example policy procedure for the safe use and storage of firearms [DOCX, 122 KB]

Tool 4 Application for firearm storage [DOCX, 119 KB]

Tool 5 Parental caregiver information letter [DOCX, 118 KB]

Tool 6 Parental caregiver consent [DOCX, 119 KB]

Tool 7 Firearms log [DOCX, 195 KB]

Tool 8 Legal framework for firearms in schools [PDF, 124 KB]

We’ve developed these guidelines together with the New Zealand Schools’ Trustees Association, the Police, Defence Force and the Schools Health and Safety Sector Reference Group. The group includes AIMS, APIS, NKAI, NZPF, NZEI, NZSSPC, SEPA, SPANZ, TKKM, ERO, Ministry of Health and WorkSafe.

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