Malta’s strategic location in the heart of the Mediterranean and its majestic, natural harbour has afforded the island a rich and colourful history. Drawing the great powers that held sway at the time, these naval and military forces have left behind a wealth of artefacts many of which include arms that are now displayed in museums and private collections. Boosting the island’s historical heritage, these firearms also reflect the locals’ keen interest in antique arms and militaria collection, in hunting and sports shooting.
For gun novices and aficionados
Are you an admirer of firearms designed and manufactured in bygone days? Interested in starting a shooting sport and need to purchase your first rifle? Or perhaps you would like to increase your existing collection? On Yellow you may find numerous firearms and ammunition distributors and retailers that can guide you with your purchase, while they can consult you on various topics, offer storage and training.
A number of local shops stock top quality firearms, ammunition and accessories by well-known brands, ideal for the modern sport shooter enthusiast. However, many also sell collectible antique and vintage firearms and militaria, rendering such stores true treasure troves of historical arms. From assault rifles and shotguns to airsoft and paintball guns, as well as edged weapons and grenade launchers, local shops are equipped with a wide range of items for the discerning client, while they also supply ammunition and reloading, personal protection articles, clothing and equipment, as well as gun safes. Experts in sourcing and logistics, suppliers and retailers will be more than happy to recommend the optimal products that will suit your requirements and the most cost-effective means of transporting them to you.
All stores carry the necessary licences to handle and deal with firearms and ammunition and can cater for both local and international customers. In order to purchase an arm, customers based in Malta must be in a possession of one of the licences explained hereunder, while the retailer must also fill out an application form which must be taken to the police for approval. International clients must submit valid permits from their country’s authorities and acquire export permits by the corresponding Maltese authorities. Once all necessary paperwork is in order, then the item is sent to the client. On the other hand, customers located in EU countries must simply provide a Prior Consent form from their respective authorities.
More than mere gun shops
A popular service gun shops offer is that of consultancy on a series of topics. Whether you need advice on the process of acquiring a licence, locating a licenced club or finding a cost-effective solution for practising your preferred sport, you may tap into their vast experience and knowledge to get what you need. Stores can also counsel you on the rules and regulations that apply and on any technical and logistics-related issue.
Some gun shops provide trained personnel to work on films, commercials and adverts or special events. Others, source and supply defence equipment such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, accessories, body armour and clothing to the country’s police and military sectors. And if you’re looking for courses in firearms proficiency and safety, some suppliers and retailers can organise classes by experienced professionals.
Cleaning and regularly servicing your firearm is crucial. With this in mind, shops offer firearms restoration and gunsmithing services. From a simple cleaning procedure to the total repair and renovation of a vintage item, this process will ensure that your item looks and performs its best. Cleaning any type of firearm consists of inspecting the item to detect any damage and fully stripping it to clean its internal parts. Once these are cleaned and polished, they are reassembled.
What the law dictates
Unlike certain countries across the world, such as the US, where gun restriction is relatively limited and rules and regulations are somewhat lax, Malta’s 2005 Arms Act and the 2006 Arms Licensing Regulations are stringent enough to safeguard the general public from harm, however, the changes to arms law have also brought about unprecedented adjustments in favour of arms enthusiasts. For example, up till a few years ago, shooting sports were restricted to shotgun events and hunting only, however, the changes grant enthusiasts more opportunities to practice their preferred shooting sport or hobby. The Act also allows suitably authorised minors to participate in shooting sports under supervision, but, as expected, they are not allowed to purchase and keep a firearm. Furthermore, the Act clearly defined the various types of arms, as well as the parameters in which they can be used or kept. Schedule I includes fully automatic firearms and other weapons of military used together with its ammunition, whilst Schedule II consists of arms that have a sporting use. Such firearms include pistols, shotguns, rifles, airguns and items like crossbows. Schedule III covers firearms manufactured prior to 1900 and lists replicas of single shot muzzle loaders, deactivated firearms and edged weapons, to name a few. These type of firearms don’t need any permits or licence, however, holders must declare them to the police.
The different licences
Arms licences in Malta are divided between the Collector Licence and the Target Shooter Licence, whereas both are divided into a further two subcategories denoted by the letters ‘A’ and ‘B’. The Collectors Licence A is aimed at active collectors who form part of a recognised organisation of arms collectors and who are either interested in building their collection from scratch or intend to increase their existing one. Holders of this licence must renew it on a yearly basis, while they must maintain records of their collections and ensure that the arms are stored in a secure manner. On the other hand, the Collector Licence B is generally issued to individuals who already hold a licence issued prior to the change in law, while it is also issued to individuals who have inherited firearms.
The Target Shooter Licence A allows individuals to keep and use arms, but for the purposes of target shooting sport only. More specifically, this licence allows one to purchase, keep and shoot a maximum of 10 cartridge firearms with rifled barrels, in addition to a maximum of five thousand rounds of ammunition for these arms. Quite naturally, licence holders must keep the arms locked safely, but they must also ensure that firearms and ammunition are stored separately. In contrast, the Target Shooter Licence B is intended for new applicants, as well as target shooters who were already licenced under the old Arms Ordinance. This licence is also afforded to those who have a valid hunting licence and who would like to practise clay pigeon target shooting.
So, how can you get one the above licences? Firstly you must be a member of a recognised collector or target shooter licenced club. You must then be trained by professional members of the club in firearms handlings and safety, after which a recommendation letter is issued on your behalf. This letter is then taken to a local police station and once approved you are then sent to the Weapons Board to undertake a test that will establish your knowledge on firearms. If you pass the test, then the licence is issued.