Ladies and gentlemen, dear members of the Maltese community of sport shooters, collectors of arms & militaria and re-enactors, irrespective of whether you are AMACS members or not.

We are ending a year that presented our local community with tough challenges as a result of the unwarranted attack which the EU Commission launched against us just over three years ago. However, thanks to the formidable resistance of the wider European community of stakeholders, which came together to defeat the worst of the Commission’s proposal, our national authorities were afforded the opportunity to introduce a soft transposition of the Directive.

Thanks to the spirit of mutual trust and respect fostered by years of serious negotiation between the leaders of our community and the authorities, we are now set to enjoy the best-possible terms under the new Directive and new local regulations. The slight burden of applying for the special licences is our gateway to the enjoyment of our sport and hobby in the years to come. Malta continues to rank highest in terms of sensible arms legislation in the EU.

I have the honour to have been leading the struggle to defend your interests at both levels, firstly with the EU institutions and secondly with the local authorities, with the full support of my colleagues at AMACS as well as of the leadership of the Federation of Arms Collectors and Target Shooters (FACTS). I also found the support of members of other clubs who did their own bit by lobbying their contacts.

It is in this spirit that I address the local community and call for unity among all its members. For the past 33 years AMACS has been at the forefront of all the legal changes which led to all the benefits that you enjoy today, no matter which club you are a member of. AMACS has been and will continue to be your best defence against any attempt to restrict what you are so passionate about. When you support AMACS you are supporting yourself.

Thus, I appeal to you to join AMACS even if you are a member of another organisation. By paying a yearly fee starting from as little as 20 euro, you would be insuring the future of your investment and you will be constantly informed of what is going on at EU and national level and what action you should take to protect your interests. That is our guarantee.

We have launched an online renewal system which permits you to update your personal details, pay securely online and then print your own Membership Book and Insurance Certificate from the comfort of your home. If you are a past AMACS member you may proceed to renew for 2019.

If you have never been an AMACS member but you were already licensed by the Police during 2018, you may submit the application form. Membership will be granted automatically.

There is far more to AMACS in 2019: Internal restructuring to offer you an efficient and pleasant experience, shooting events to cover most disciplines that permit you to use firearms that you will be keeping under the new Target Shooter Licence ‘A Special’, regular courses to obtain Collector and/or Target Shooter Licences, exhibitions, cultural visits, etc.

Last, but certainly not least, we shall soon be inaugurating our state-of-the-art 10 metre indoor airgun range located in our Tigne’ Point Clock Tower halls. We have invested much time and money in this project as we believe that it will offer members training facilities that go beyond airgun shooting. Moreover, it will enhance the facilities which we already enjoy and add yet another means of enjoyment when visiting our beautiful premises.

In conclusion, I take the opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a healthy, peaceful and successful New Year!

Stephen A. Petroni