New figures obtained by RNZ show last year had the highest rates of gun crime and deaths involving firearms for nearly 10 years.
But despite that rise, there has not been a corresponding increase in officers taking out or using their guns.
The figures, obtained from police under the Official Information Act, show the rates of gun crime went up in both 2018 and 2019.
Last year, there were 3540 occasions where an offender was found with a gun. And in both of the last two years, the rate of deadly incidents involving a firearm was the highest it had been since 2009.