The U.S. State Department has instituted a new rule that effectively bars American hunters bound for Zimbabwe from taking firearms to the Marxist dictatorship, leaving travelers who have scheduled safaris there fuming.
It is now the policy of the State Department to “deny all applications for licenses and other approvals to export or otherwise transfer defense articles … to Zimbabwe.”
According to an American hunter heading for Zimbabwe in the fall, “The U.S. government is unhappy with the Zimbabwe dictatorship, especially President Robert Mugabe. Some pencil-pushing bureaucrats – possibly some of the same ones responsible for the U.S. ‘indirectly’ aiding in Mugabe’s rise to power as well as his current position – recently enacted legislation that prohibits U.S. citizens from taking firearms/ammunition specifically into Zimbabwe. I guess the intent was to prevent the sale of military weapons, but the only ones it affects are U.S. hunters,” said the man, who asked that his name not be used for fear of his personal safety when he heads to Zimbabwe later this year. The hunter expressed concern about what happened to the white Zimbabwean farmer Cathy Buckle, whose land was seized after supplying information to WorldNetDaily.
“Zimbabwe is a major hunting destination for a lot of U.S. citizens. I am scheduled to go hunting in Zimbabwe later this year. I have friends who are in the same boat,” said the hunter.
“We have paid well in advance and are now subject to criminal penalties if we return [to the U.S.] with a Zimbabwe stamp in our passport and a hunting rifle. If they paid as much attention to the terrorist situation and the problems in the Middle East, perhaps one or both situations might be resolved. Rather, some blowhard politician and his windbag buddies are trying to score points under the pretense of doing something – and as usual, they can’t get it right.”
According to The Hunting Report, Zimbabwe’s new license requirement to import firearms into Zimbabwe is a serious problem.
A report from the newsletter reads: “It may or may not be legal for Americans to take firearms to Zimbabwe right now. Doing so may or may not expose them to serious criminal charges. For the moment, U.S. travelers to Zimbabwe will simply have to acquaint themselves with the published record and make their own decision.”
The new State Department Consular Information Sheet on Zimbabwe clearly indicates that U.S. citizens “temporarily carrying firearms and ammunition into Zimbabwe for purposes of hunting will need an approved DSP-73 temporary export exemption from Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls.”
The aforementioned American hunter tried to download a DSP-73 from that office and discovered that it is a form that must be mailed to the applicant. It is unclear how long it will take to receive the form, mail it back and then get a license. Clearly, however, Americans with departure dates this month may have to cancel their safaris or risk violating the law. Complicating the matter is a notice on the U.S. State Department website that states: “All licenses and approvals to export or otherwise transfer defense articles and defense services to Zimbabwe pursuant to Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act are suspended. Also, it is the policy of the U.S. government to deny all applications for licenses and defense services to Zimbabwe per 67 FR 18978.”
Repeated phone calls and e-mails to the Zimbabwe desk of the State Department seeking comment were not returned.
According to The Hunter Report, an American hunter “… accessed the relevant Federal Register Notice this morning (April 17) (Volume 67, Number 74, page 18978). It begins with a condemnation of the Zimbabwe government for its ‘blatant disregard for the rule of law,’ and clearly states that it is now the policy of the Department of State to ‘deny all applications for licenses and other approvals to export or otherwise transfer defense articles … to Zimbabwe.'”
Says the hunter to whom WND spoke, “It’s just irritating that some of the pinhead politicians responsible didn’t do their homework. As I see it, enacting carte blanche legislation has adverse trickle-down effects. It puts people here and there out of business and causes people’s hard earned pre-paid vacations to be lost.
“I guess it is a simple story – Americans can’t take a firearm to Zimbabwe because of incompetent government employees. But everyone suffers – there and here. Perhaps one wouldn’t think that someone who can afford to hunt there would suffer. Some people save a lifetime for an African hunt – and a good portion of it’s pre-paid, sometimes a year in advance.”
Asked why anyone would travel to hunt in Zimbabwe in light of the current unrest in that nation and the way Mugabe is dismantling white farms, businesses and game reserves, the hunter had a quick response.
“Most of the white farmers who were killed in Africa in the past year were killed in South Africa. Somewhere in the vicinity of 1,200-1,400 versus about a dozen in Zimbabwe. It’s not a case of (only) white Christians being slaughtered by Mugabe. I’ve spoken to people there and the farms are where the trouble is because of the uncompensated confiscation. Hunting is generally elsewhere, and there’s not much indication that there are problems in those areas as of last fall. I was in northwestern and southeastern Zimbabwe,” the hunter said.
The hunter said that it was not only Americans who hunt in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is a popular hunting destination for much of the world due to their outstanding game conservation, thus far, perhaps second to Tanzania. Lots of Canadians, Germans, Spanish and South Americans go hunting there, not just Americans.
“I wouldn’t say the State Department is cracking down in the sense of the hunters, more likely tokenism. A bunch of politicians want to sound like they’re doing something to prevent military gear being sent and overlooked the hunting industry being affected, or [they were] intentionally intending to restrict gun use in some way.”
The National Rifle Association is aware of the new restrictions and says a solution is in the works.
According to spokeswoman Rebecca A. Williams, “The NRA is aware of the problem, and it would appear that it is in the process of being addressed and corrected. While the fix may not be final until mid-August, anyone planning to travel to Zimbabwe with firearms should try to obtain a DSP-73 Form.”