23 September, 2008

Budget Day

Today the 2008-2009 Appropriation Bill will be read in Parliament. For the first time in our nation’s history it will be introduced by a woman; Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tescheira. AirgunsTT congratulates Minister Nunez-Tescheira, and wishes her well in her first Budget reading.

We’d also like to draw her attention to the high cost of airguns and related expenses. One glaring example comes to mind. A spare magazine for the 15 shot FX Revolution cost US$20-30 retail in the US, but is sold here for TT$1,000! The dealer has expenses such as sales tax, shipping, 40% customs duty etc., but even with the most liberal calculations, and allowing for a 100% profit, this should still be sold for less than $700. But that’s for another post. Hopefully, we can alert Madam Minister about our plight, so that she can alleviate some of the strain that T&T airgunners feel in the 2009-2010 budget.

We’d also like to invite her to join us on the range any day she feels like. We promise her that if she hasn’t yet shot airguns, she’d love it. We have seen numerous hoplophobes become shooters after only a couple minutes of safety instructions followed by a few minutes of target shooting. Yes, air gun shooting is fun, indeed. That’s the main reason we do it. The fun factor.

While on subject, we have seriously archaic laws drafted in the stone age regarding airguns. Will the Minister of National Security please look at these laws again? Most airgun manufacturers around the world no longer produce smooth bore airguns. Some suggested relevant changes:

1. Allow present (and future) airgunners to own rifled airguns.
2. Allow present (and future) airgunners to own .22 airguns.
3. Allow present (and future) airgunners to own multiple airguns.
4. Allow present (and future) airgunners to keep tools, spare parts, equipment and supplies necessary for maintenance of the guns we own.
5. Allow present (and future) airgunners to set up workshops, courses to produce airgunsmiths.
6. Give tax relief to airgunners where possible, especially for hardware and training.
7. Have the Planning Ministry incorporate airgun ranges in all new HDC and other planned communities.
8. Introduce airgunning to Form One students at all secondary schools, perhaps with MILAT involvement.
9. Encourage local steel industry to look at the manufacture of pellets for local and regional sales. As far as we know, there is no competition here, and it is an opportunity to be a foreign exchange earner. Perhaps IAC (International Airgunning Centre)? Why not? At least regional! We have experienced shooters (even Olympic level), coaches, shooting administrators, technical persons. Leverage this resource.

Happy Budget Day. Happy Republic Day.

- Trini Funshooter

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