The US State Department ban on the import of sporting firearms into Zimbabwe is on the way to being lifted next week. We have that from Mary Sweeney in the US State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls. "The decision memo has been signed," she said this morning, indicating that publication of the matter in the Federal Register should come next week. Once the matter has been published there, the ban will officially be lifted and US hunters will be free again to take three non-automatic sporting firearms of .50 caliber or less with them on safaris to Zimbabwe.
We would not be doing our job if we didn't point out that Sweeney said there was some ambiguity this morning about the format of the notice that has been sent to the Federal Register. It's conceivable that a minor delay of a day or so could occur. She said she would call us in the morning with an update.
In the meantime, we view the ban as being effectively over. The US State Department has revised its view on the appropriateness of American citizens hunting in Zimbabwe. We view this action as a major victory for the hunting community and for common sense.
What gives us pause at this point is the way many US booking agents and pro-hunting organizations dealt with this crisis. Some booking agents simply ignored the ban. Ditto various pro-hunting organizations. Ditto literally scores of individual hunters, who exposed themselves to felony charges and fines of up to $1 million and ten years in jail. A convicted felon, it needs to be pointed out, cannot own, use or possess a firearm - ever again!
Here at The Hunting Report, where we battled virtually alone on this issue, taking fire from friend and foe alike, we view this battle over the right to hunt in Zimbabwe as a watershed event that underscores just how vulnerable our international hunting community is. Our right to travel with firearms is in jeopardy, and we don't protect that right by ignoring threats - and, in the process, violating the law. Those who went to Zimbabwe in knowing violation of the law, and abetted others in doing so, need to rethink what they are doing. Their actions are playing into the hands of our opponents. - Don Causey, Editor/Publisher.