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How Trade Me accesses the Police national firearms database

Trade Me uses the police firearms register to check your licence is valid

24 February 2021

As of 18 March 2019, Trade Me does not allow the sale of semi automatic rifles. Refer here for more information about this change.

We’ve made changes to our firearms categories

Recently, there has been a conversation going on about the sale of firearms in New Zealand.

You might not have known that firearms could be bought and sold on Trade Me. They can, but the process is subject to a number of restrictions.

As with anything being traded on the site, our goal is to provide a community where buyers and sellers can come together and trade firearms safely, knowing that we’ve got their back if anything should crop up along the way.

Of course, we’re constantly looking for ways to make things better, and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with Police for some time to increase the safety of trades conducted through our firearms community.

Okay, so here’s the really cool part:

Since September 2018, we have had the ability to verify firearms licences entered on Trade Me via the Police national firearms database.

This means you have to enter your firearms licence number and the name on that licence to bid, buy or ask a question on firearms or ammunition listings.

We’ll then check that licence against the Police firearms licence database to make sure that it’s legit, current, and matches the membership it’s being used on.

Police will give us a ‘Yes/No’ response, so we can establish whether the licence is valid and belongs to that member.

Trade Me will not have access to or receive any personal information from the Police firearms licence database.

If we get a ‘No’ back from Police, the transaction will not be allowed to proceed and you will need to get in touch with us to have a chat.

Here are a few useful points to get you started:

What information will Police get?

Trade Me will be operating an API to query the Police database with the license number, and the name on the licence.

Police will know that your licence has been entered into our system.

We’re not providing any information about the transaction or your Trade Me membership information.

We have a family account under my partner’s name – can I still buy firearms on that membership?

No. Your Trade Me membership will need to match the name on the firearms licence in order to use the firearms category. You’ll need to update the details on your account or create your own Trade Me account if you wish to bid, buy or ask questions on listings in firearms categories.

Does Trade Me have access to the Police’s database? Are you going to be looking up members with this?

Trade Me will not have access to or receive any personal information from the Police firearms licence database. We just have the ability to query names and licence numbers entered into our system to make sure they’re legitimate. This provides good protection for our buyers and sellers.

If I type the wrong thing in by mistake, will this get me trouble with the Police?

No, but you won’t be able to proceed with the transaction until you enter the correct licence number and name.

Does this mean sellers don’t have to sight the firearms licence when they complete the trade?

The sellers obligations still apply, and sellers must sight the firearms licence of the buyer, or receive written confirmation signed by Police, confirming the buyer holds a valid firearms licence.

We’re stoked that we’ve been able to increase the security of our firearms category. As always, if you have any questions about the upcoming changes please get in touch. We’re here 24/7 to help you out.

What does the Office of the Privacy Commissioner have to say about this?

The OPC has said "Trade Me will be verifying firearm licence details with Police for every firearm transaction on the auction site. This process is based on consent of all concerned and as such, raises no concerns under the Privacy Act."

They've also prepared a detailed FAQ on the matter.

Updated 29 August 2018.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.