No More Outlaw Shooters At Pacific Games

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • Commissioner of Police Fuiavailiili Egon Keil file photo holding up illegal gun recovered during an amnesty call for the handing in of all unlawful weapons by owners
    Commissioner of Police Fuiavailiili Egon Keil file photo holding up illegal gun recovered during an amnesty call for the handing in of all unlawful weapons by owners

Parliament is expected to pass the new Arms Amendment Bill 2019 tabled for debate at the opening of session this morning.

The amendment ensures there will be no more outlaws competing in any future Pacific Games or international Shooting competitions hosted by Samoa.

The use of guns by shooters under the age of 21 at the 2007 Pacific Games hosted by Samoa was "unlawful".

Commissioner of Police Fuiavailiili Egon Keil introduced the amendment during Parliament's Pre-sitting Monday morning at the Tofilau Eti Alesana Building in Mulinuu.

The two-part change to current firearms law is being sought specifically for the 2019 Pacific Games' sport of Shooting.

"If you think back, the last time we held the Pacific Games, this law was not in place. The question is: was there anyone under the age of 21 who used a gun?," Fuiavailiili told Members of Parliament.

"The answer is yes. There were participants last time who were under the age of 21 that legally, should not have been shooting. So now we will correct the law to allow, not only our foreigners or our guests under 21 to participate but it will also allow our children under the age of 21 to come and participate, lawfully."

The amendment allows juveniles, anyone under the age of 21 to possess a firearm and ammunition so they can participate in the Pacific Games specifically, the Police Commissioner explained.

"As it stands, at this time, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 21 to possess any firearm or ammunition so this amendment will allow anyone under the age of 21 to participate under certain conditions in the Pacific Games," he said.

"It doesn't mean that people can go and shoot bats with it (the amendment) or outside of the Pacific Games. That's one portion. Secondly, it allows unlawful weapons into our country legally for a specific event like the Pacific Games."

The amendment authorizes, through the Minister of Police, the types of activities in which these can guns can be used.

"For example, in the Pacific Games, I think right now there is one participant under 21 years old competing in the game of shooting," Fuiavailiili said.

"So this individual, who will bring his or her own gun...a shotgun, that (the amendment) will allow the individual under 21 years old to use this gun to practice specifically for the Games at a specific location, at the Tafaigata Shooting Range, where shooting will take place. And also to participate in this competition, the shooting competition only."

The second part of the amendment, the Commissioner further explained, is for the minister to allow an illegal firearm.

"For example, handguns. All handguns, in Samoa, are illegal unless authorized by the Minister of Police," Fuiavailiili said.

"So these will authorize handguns that are being brought in for the Pacific Games and so they can be used for the Pacific Games. Afterward, these guns will be taken out of Samoa."

Samoa hosts the 2019 Pacific Games 7-20 July, 2019. Shooting is one of 27 sports being contested in the Games.

The region's largest sporting competition was called the South Pacific Games when Samoa hosted its 13th edition in 2007.

 

 

 

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