Italian Gun Ownership on the Rise as Populist Salvini Offers Stronger Self-Defence Laws

Rifles are displayed during the International Exa 20013 Arms, security and outdoor show on April 15, 2013 in Brescia. Exa is one of the most important International Sporting and Outdoor Shows in the world .AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Firearms licences in Italy have increased by 13.8 percent in a single year and the populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is looking to liberalise home self-defence laws to allow Italians to confront intruders.

New figures show that 4.5 million homes across the country have access to firearms as recently released studies show that Italians feel less secure in their homes, Il Giornale reports.

Anti-theft systems such as reinforced doors are now present in 33 million Italian homes while alarms, which often include video cameras, are in nearly 10 million residences across Italy.

The figures come as populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced on Twitter that he would be looking at reforming the self-defence laws to allow homeowners to confront intruders and defend themselves with firearms if need be.

“A new law that allows the legitimate defence of decent people in their homes is our priority,” Salvini said.

The League leader may find sympathy for his proposals from the Italian people as 39 percent claimed in a recent poll that they would like to see less stringent criteria for the possession of firearms for the purposes of self-defence.

Firearms laws across Europe vary wildly from countries like Germany and France in which licensing and possession are difficult to acquire, to the Czech Republic which has a much more liberal view on civilian firearms possession.

Czech President Miloš Zeman has called on the European Union to adopt a 2nd amendment-style law to allow citizens of the member states easier access to firearms to combat terrorist threats.

The trend of increased weapons licences is not limited to Italy. Several other European countries have seen a surge in licence requests and firearms sales since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015 including Germany, Belgium and Austria.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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