House approves amendments authorising non-residents, 14, to practice target shooting

An international target shooting competition taking place in Malta in the coming days required an urgent amendment to the Arms Act

The House of Representatives has unanimously approved amendments to the Arms Act allowing non-residents aged between 14 and 16 to practice target shooting, like Maltese nationals.

The amendment was presented and approved by parliament in less than 30 minutes due to the support it enjoys from both sides of the House.

An international target shooting competition is taking place in Malta in the coming days: the American group includes a 14-year-old shooter who requires the permission of the Commissioner of Police to practice target shooting on the island.

The Malta International Grand Prix 2016 shotgun is being held in Bidnija between 8 and 15 May.

The amendment to the law gives the police chief the power to issue such authorization. The law differentiated between residents and non-residents. The amendment will allow for the issuance of a temporary permit. The original legislation only allowed residents aged between 14 and 16 and non-residents aged between 16 and 18 to practice target shooting.

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, parliamentary secretary for sports Chris Agius and opposition spokesperson David Agius agreed that Maltese youths excelled in target shooting and the necessary support should be given.

Agius went on to urge government to find an adequate location for the development of a professional shooting range that can welcome international events.

“The Prime Minister said that no further ODZ projects will be considered … I hope that this message is tweaked because we need a shooting range,” the PN MP said. He went on to call for an update of the sports legislation.

Chris Agius confirmed the government was working to find a location to house the shooting range: “We were once again offered the opportunity to host the [shooting] World Cup.”

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