Bang Bang! Italy Loosens Gun Control Law

Correction: the Decree Law introduces and does not amplify the category of sport shooters authorized to purchase category A6 and A7 weapons.

The Americanization of Italy?

From 14 September, in Italy it became easier to buy a gun due to a decree law interpreting in a less restrictive way the legislation about gun ownership.

Among other things, the new licence owner can directly communicate to the Carabinieri or Police departments its grant just by certified e-mail, has no longer obligation to notify the family or the cohabitees and, in explicit cases, can now purchase military like weapons such as the dimilitarized Ak-47 kalashnikov or the semiautomatic rifle Ar15.

The changes in gun control

The major changes contain:

  • Increase from 6 to 12 sporting guns legally held.
  • Increase from 5 to 10 (long firearms) and from 15 to 20 (short firearms) bullets in the clip.
  • Reduction in the duration of the weapons licence for hunting or sport use from 6 to 5 years.
  • The reporting of the licence directly to the Carabinieri or Police departments just by certified e-mail.
  • No legal obligation to inform the cohabitees.
  • Introduction of the category of sport shooters authorized to purchase A6 and A7 category weapons.

The decree law was fiercely advocated on the Interior minster and deputy premier Matteo Salvini who, this summer, had publicy signed a document supporting the Italian gun lobby. The pact agreed during the Hit Show fair in Vicenza contains his public commitment to the protection of weapon-holders, namely the inclusion of the lobby in the discussion of every measure concerning them directly.

By approving the decree law, the government implemented a European directive, interpreting it in the most extensive way, as it even modified the 2015 antiterrorism law, which prohibited hunting with semiautomatic weapons.

The legislation about gun ownership is historically considered restrictive in Italy, as getting the licence is not a fundamental right and needs some strict requirements. To be elegible, the minimum age is 18 and you have to obtain a certificate proving that you can safely use the gun. Moreover, you must have a clear record and must not suffer from meantal health or drug addition. Once the licence has been issued, it has to be legally reported within three days.

Wet dreams about guns

The use of guns is a hot topic in Italy, due to the increased sense of insecurity widespread among the population. For this reason, the yellow-green government has immediately tried to bring about more gun use in Italy for reasons of domestic consensus. It is estimated that in the country approximately 5 percent of the population owns about 10 million weapons, being the second G8 country in terms of murder rate with guns after the United States.

This thriving opinion in favor of loosening gun control for security reasons is also reflected in the recent probationary decision to arm police officers with tasers. These are already a police-issue in 107 different countries, such as the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, but also other European countries like Finland, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Greece and the United Kingdom.

The studies about health risks due to tasers have different conclusions. For instance, the American College of Emergency Physicians reports that a three-year review of all taser uses against criminal suspects at six law enforcement agencies found only three significant injuries out of 1.201 criminal suspects, while 99,5 percent of those received no injuries or mild injuries. On the contrary, Reuters analyzed 712 autopsies and, in 153 cases (more than one-fifth), taser was found as the cause or a factor contributing to the consequent deaths.