Fabian Demicoli

Issues affecting Firearms Dealers discussed at GRTU

The firearms
dealers section met this week to discuss a number of outstanding issues that
are negatively affecting the sector. 

High on the agenda was the
issue of the incorrect procedure used by the authorities for the transfer on
firearms between Malta and other Member States; ever since accession, out
authorities should have done away with the use of Import or Export Licences for
intra-EU trade. However Malta retained the use of trade licences in the case of
firearms and this is in clear breach of EU regulations. The only document that
should be used in such transfers is the EU Prior Consent form that is issued by
the Police. Moreover, such documents should be issued in a timely manner once
the applicant presents the original permit issued by the country of
destination.

However in practice the
Maltese authorities are taking months to process applications for the transfer
from Malta of firearms to other Member States with the consequence that local
dealers are losing opportunities to trade abroad and avail themselves of the
advantages of the single European market.  Although complaints have been
filed with the Police and the Department of Trade Services over the last few
months, there has not been any tangible progress in this regard. It is
understood that discussions are under way between the two departments and it is
hoped that a solution will be found in time to avoid the need of any action at
EU level.

Other issues that were
discussed are the unworkable thresholds of ammunition storage, the
non-implementation of the improvements to the Arms Act brought about by
LN75/2013 and the application of Police conditions that are discouraging
clients from taking their custom to dealers. Another serious issue is trading
by persons who are not licensed as dealers, leading to a distortion in the
market.

A meeting with Police
officials will be requested.

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