Wednesday 12 June 1985. Fourteen collectors of historic arms and militaria gather in an office in Marsa. They agree to set up an organisation that represents their interests. A draft statute is approved and a committee of five is elected. This was the birth of the ‘Arms, Armour & Militaria Society (AAMS).

Within a few weeks AAMS is leading a body of long-established organisations representing collectors in various fields. All have the same objective: to lobby against the introduction of import duty on collectors’ items. The proposed Parliamentary Bill is withdrawn.

The first success emboldens to Society to take a proactive role in promoting and protecting the collection and conservation of firearms and militaria, as well target shooting. From that point on, AAMS never looks back. A string of successful initiatives follows, year after year:

  • 1985 organisation of the first arms and militaria exhibition
  • 1989 introduction of black powder shooting sports
  • 1992 proposing EU Directive-based gun legislation
  • 1995 lobbing for a revised policy on collectors and target shooters
  • 1996 introduction of target shooting
  • 2000 setting up of the Gun Owners Federation of Malta
  • 2003 proposing and drafting of the new Arms Bill
  • 2004 AAMS becomes an Association of six clubs
  • 2005 the Arms Bill is approved by Parliament
  • 2006 the Arms Licensing Regulations are published, Arms Act comes into force
  • 2006 AMACS joins FESAC
  • 2007 AMACS President leads FESAC discussions in Brussels re Arms Directive
  • 2008 EU Arms Directive is approved, collectors are protected
  • 2012 AMACS moves back to Tigne’, now has a 600 sq mt premises.
  • 2013 achieving further improvements to the Arms Act & Regulations
  • 2015 AMACS supports FESAC in fighting the EU Gun Ban
  • 2016 AMACS & AACTS set up Federation of Arms Collectors & Target Shooters
  • 2017 New EU Arms Directive approved. Major threats to the community averted
  • 2017 FACTS lobbies for a soft implementation of the Directive
  • 2019 Directive implemented satisfactorily with negligible impact on community
  • 2020 AMACS inaugurates its 10m Indoor Range at Tigne.

None of those attending the first meeting 35 years ago could have thought how far their initiative would go. However, in the end they managed to change the course of firearms legislation in Malta, step-by-step, no matter how long it took.

As we celebrate our 35th anniversary, we look back at our achievements to help us remember what sheer determination can achieve. In that spirit, we shall continue to achieve more in the years to come.