MEUSAC, in conjunction with the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security and the Malta Police Force, organised an information session on the transposition of the Firearms Directive, highlighting the amendments to Malta’s firearms legislation.
The information session focused specifically on licensing arrangements for collectors (automatic and semi-automatic firearms), target shooters interested in Schedule I firearms (semi-automatic firearms), as well as new provisions relating to the renewal of licences and firearms pass. The directive significantly targets collectors of automatic weapons and target shooters that use semi-automatic magazines of a certain size, also known as high-capacity magazines.
The session followed a consultation session held on February 9 in the presence of Home Affairs and National Security Minister Michael Farrugia on the acquisition and possession of weapons.
He had said that although the directive itself does not impose the prohibition of weapons, the need for amendments in the current legislation is still needed.
Initially the European Commission wanted to impose an outright ban on semi-automatics but now this proposal has been replaced with a set of rules for those in possession of such fire-arms to adhere to.
So now it emerges that target shooters will be able to keep all the centre-fire semi-automatic firearms and also acquire new ones, using almost all of them at the range.
The following changes apply only if one owns at least one of the following centre-fire semi automatic firearms:
a) Short firearm which can hold more than 21 rounds internally or in combination with a removable magazine that one also owns;
b) Long firearm which can hold more than 11 rounds internally or in combination with its removable magazine that one also owns.
In order for the ‘Target Shooter Licence A Special’ to be subsequently renewed from 2019 onwards, one is required to comply with new conditions required by the Directive.
If one wishes to obtain a Target Shooter Licence A Special, one shall be required to first obtain a Target Shooter Licence A and wait until one has been licensed for at least 12 months before applying for the Special licence. This applies for year 2020 onwards.
Stakeholders present expressed their concern over the fact that the directive did not specifically state that if a firearm could take more rounds, one could easily block the rest of the magazine by using a special gadget to do so.