The Malta Independent 27 November 2021, Saturday

Commissioner for Children calls for action after video of child using hunting shotgun

Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 14:58 Last update: about 8 months ago

The Office of the Commissioner of Children has called on the authorities to take action over a case where a child was filmed using a shotgun in the company of an adult.

Footage of the incident was published by Birdlife Malta, which said that the man seen in the video is the brother of the FKNK’s secretary general. The incident was recorded at Mizieb and the police were called in.

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In a statement, the Commissioner for Children expressed dismay at the incident. “This is in clear breach of the Arms Act which allows minors of a certain age to use arms for target shooting but not for hunting,” it said.  

Regardless of whether the child seen in the footage is old enough to be held criminally responsible for his actions, these were carried out clearly with the blessing of and without sufficient oversight by the accompanying adult.

This renders the child a victim of the adult’s criminal behaviour, it continued.

Since laws designed to protect children are effective only insofar as those who breach them are duly and expeditiously punished, the Office calls for this and other similar crimes to be prosecuted without delay.

The office said that, also of grave concern is the fact that the minor is seen to be in very close range of a misfiring gun that could have seriously injured him.

This near miss highlights a lacuna in our laws that do not prohibit children accompanying adults in hunting expeditions.

It called on Parliament to pass the necessary amendments to the Arms Act to close this dangerous gap in our legislation.

The office said it does not have a position or agenda in respect of hunting. It said its only concern is in ensuring there are necessary and sufficient safeguards in place to protect children from physical harm caused by the use of weapons.

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