There are many limitations on self-made Aboriginal hunting rifles. Taitung County Councilor Chiang Chien-shou said on May 22 that the National Police Agency (NPA) has amended regulations without any communication with Aborigines. The amended legislation says Aborigines are not allowed to use the safer Hilti Corp nail gun nails, and instead must directly insert gunpowder into their guns the old-fashioned way, which keeps them from using cheaper and safer methods.
The legislation regarding permits and the control of guns, ammunition, and bladed weapons was amended on Nov. 7 last year, which stipulates that Aborigines’ self-made hunting rifles must be made by the individual using them or with help from other Aborigines that is non-profit in nature. In addition, they must be completed at a place designated by the local police department and gunpowder must be inserted manually into the rifle’s barrel.
Chiang says the NPA formulated the legislation without holding discussions with the actual Aborigines who make their own hunting rifles, and asked whether the guns they piece together and make on their own are indeed safe. Hilti nails can be purchased at most hardware shops and can be used for hunting by adding a barrel to the rifle, which is currently illegal.
Photo: Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times
Chiang also says that the gunpowder used in firecrackers is more expensive and that the barrels of the guns must be at least 1.2m long, which is not suitable for the intended purpose of the rifles. The process of adding gunpowder manually into barrels is not fast enough, and it puts the lives of Aborigines living in mountainous areas in danger when they come into contact with animals. Chiang suggests that the NPA take into consideration Aborigines’ suggestions and swiftly amend the legislation.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the various types of Aboriginal hunting rifles. The NPA has clamped down on and banned modified hunting rifles that use Hilti nails for ammunition. Wu Yi-ming, a prosecutor with the Taitung District Prosecutors Office, says he supports the NPA’s policies, adding that although Aborigines have their own culture of hunting, public safety issues will arise if they simply do as they see fit and evade laws.
Kemushiyang, a member of the Paiwan tribe, says that the forceful bans of the past have already caused a gap in the traditional wisdom that was once passed down from their ancestors, and that as the elders pass away, the younger generation is gradually forgetting the art of making traditional hunting rifles. Forcefully carrying out the legislation causes hindrances and creates a cultural crisis, he says.
Photo: Photo: Chang Tsun-wei, Liberty Times
Wu says Aborigines cannot evade laws just because they want to hunt a certain way, and that passing down the traditions of ancient artisans has its own historical significance, which will be lost if future generations simply modify those traditions. The hunting rifles that most Aborigines own are not currently registered with the government and many of them are modified.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)
1. gunpowder n.
火藥 (huo3 yao4)
例: Gunpowder was invented in China over 1,000 years ago.
2. controversy n.
爭議 (zheng1 yi4)
例: The topic of same-sex marriage has caused a lot of controversy in contemporary American politics.
3. hindrance n.
罣礙；阻礙 (gua4 ai4; zu3 ai4)
例: The president has met numerous hindrances in trying to pass the legislation.
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