This past September, Italy loosened their gun laws and are now allowing purchasing and ownership of AR-15 rifles.
Italians have been increasingly questioning of their tough guns laws. In Italy, the right to complete self-defense is not recognized. In order to own a gun at all in Italy, you have to a get a gun license first. All guns must be registered to their new owners within 72 hours at the nearest police station. Most of the guns available for purchase must be “common guns” as defined here. Most of the “common guns” are handguns. Even the amount of ammo you can purchase is limited: 200 handgun rounds and 1500 hunting rounds.
The amount of guns one is able to own is dependent on which license you have. (3 “common guns” and 6 “sporting guns”[with sporting license]) Police have specific regulations on the storage of the firearm that everyone must comply with. Having the permit allowing you to own the gun is separate from the permit required to carry the gun outside of your home.
How many guns do Italians own? We don’t know. Even with all of these regulations, the Italian government has not released any statistics since 2007, which at that time was around 7 million. That was about 12% of the population. However, the amount of licenses issued have been increasing every year. In 2017 they issued almost 1.4 million permits for ownership and over 18,000 for personal defense (carrying outside your home.) There is a separate license for hunting which is easier to get. People have been caught getting hunting licenses when they really wanted a firearm for the purpose of self-defense.
Italy’s murder by firearms statistics is .7 per 100,000. Almost 40% of Italians said they would probably use a firearm against an intruder if they had one. 26% have said they support loosening the gun laws for self defense. It is estimated that about 4.5 million Italians possess a gun in their home. Modern Gun Control laws stem from Mussolini’s “Public Safety Act” imposed in 1931 in which Benito called for the confiscation of all “subversion elements”, which included firearms. He did not want his citizens to be able to subvert his fascist regime. After the fall of the Fascist Regime, the gun control laws were increased fighting communist terrorists in 1970.
Matteo Salvini promised constituents during the election season that he would increase their freedoms by loosening the gun laws. In June, he was elected as the Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Italy (the most powerful within Italy’s government). Italy does not have a gun lobby group anywhere near the size of the NRA or GOA here, and yet the people are increasingly asking for more gun liberties. He has followed through on his promise and made guns like the AR-15 legal and more accessible to the law abiding citizen. This is a slap in the face to Italy’s Fascist authoritarian history and current fights against communism.
Major updates to their gun control were:
– previous 6 sporting guns allowed, now 12 sporting guns allowed
– magazine capacity for long guns from 5 rounds to 10, and from 15 rounds to 20 for “short firearms”
– Hunting and sporting licenses have been reduced from 6 years to 5 years
– Reporting of the license directly to the police departments can now be done through certified email.
– No legal obligation to inform cohabitees of your firearm possession
– Introduces to sport shooters authorization to purchase A6 and A7 class weapons
– Hunting with semiautomatic rifles is now permitted.