The mayor of a northern Italian town has promised to help citizens buy firearms with a €250 ‘gun bonus’ – about 30 per cent of the price of a small pistol.
Gianluca Buonanno, who is the Northern League mayor of Borgosesia, made the pledge on Facebook. He explained that the aim of the ‘gun bonus’ is to allow citizens “to defend themselves from delinquents, who the government is privileging with its jail-emptying laws instead of protecting honest Italians.” He added that it is “better that cemeteries are full of criminals than prisons are empty.”
Mr Buonanno is also a Member of the European Parliament, and in that capacity has asked the European Commission to establish a similar fund, reports Italian newspaper la Repubblica. He also tweeted about the subject, linking the ‘gun bonus’ to his party’s family-friendly ‘baby bonus’ policy.
The move is controversial as gun control in Italy is stringent, although it has been estimated that just under 12 per cent of the population own firearms, both legally and illegally. Separate licences are needed to own and carry guns, and other regulations limit the calibre of firearms in private ownership as well as the number an individual citizen may own.
Recent incidents of gun use in Italy have prompted the Northern League to promote the right of Italian citizens to own and use guns for self-defence, reports The Local.
Party leader, Matteo Salvini, spoke on Tuesday about a pensioner under investigation in Vaprio d’Adda near Milan who risks a charge of voluntary manslaughter after shooting a 28-year-old Romanian burglar in his home. Mr Salvini labeled the police action “crazy”.
Mr Buonanno is no stranger to controversy or using political stunts to make his point. In September he used the occasion of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to protest against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership in Europe. He did so by wearing a mask depicting her face (pictured right).