A consultation session on an EU Directive on the acquisition and possession of weapons organised by MEUSAC in conjunction with the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security was held on February 9, 2018 in the presence of Minister Michael Farrugia.
In his opening remarks, Minister Farrugia said that although the directive itself does not impose the prohibition of weapons, the need for amendments in the current legislation is still needed. Some of these amendments, he said, apply to weapon enthusiasts in general, however the most significant are related to collectors of automatic weapons and target shooters that use semi-automatic magazines of a certain size, also known as high-capacity magazines.
Dr Farrugia emphasised that amid this directive, collectors and target shooters can continue to practice this sport or hobby. First and foremost, the proposed directive will enable collectors to continue to build on their collection of weapons while target shooters who make use of semi-automatic weapons (Schedule 1 of the Directive) can continue to do so, as well as acquiring further weapons of this sort.
It is also being proposed that both target shooters and new collectors will need to acquire a licence for their weapons. He said that this formula being used in this directive will not only put further responsibility on the Police Force, but also on the shooting clubs themselves when it comes to putting forward recommendations tied to applicants who are applying to collect automatic weapons. He urged caution in this regard.
Dr Farrugia also emphasised that Malta, since individual Member States are being given the leeway to implement certain clauses of the directive according to their national requirements, was doing its best to protect this sector while sticking to the “spirit” of the EU directive.
Mr Joseph St John gave a deep insight of what the directive entails.
Dr Vanni Xureb, Head, MEUSAC said that one of MEUSAC’s roles is to see that any proposed EU policy and legislation which may have an impact on Malta is discussed with the stakeholders involved, hence this morning’s consultation session on the proposed amendments to the EU directive on weapons.
Stakeholders present, which included members of the Malta Police Force, target shooting clubs, individual collectors and licensed weapon dealers gave their take on the subject and thanked MEUSAC for the insight on the proposed amendments.
Director at MEUSAC Mr Neil Portelli moderated the session.