In Italy, a news item revives the debate on the possession of firearms

It’s a banal condominium meeting that turned into a tragedy. On Sunday December 11, a man burst into a bar in Fidene, a district in the northeast of Rome, killing four women. The murderer, Claudio Campiti, 57, told the police that he had acted out, accusing the trustee of acting “like mafia”. On his blog, he confided in living without water and electricity due to unpaid bills.

This drama could only have blackened the page of miscellaneous events in Italian newspapers if it did not raise the sensitive issue of firearms in the Italian peninsula. Because Campiti’s weapon, a Glock 45 caliber pistol, was stolen from a Roman shooting club, without it being reported. In addition, the first investigations into the past of the killer revealed that the license to carry a weapon had been withdrawn from him in 2018.

Possession of handguns among Italians is a real gray area, made up of a legal void and a lack of political will. “If we stop at the question of why a person was able to take a weapon out of a shooting club, we miss the pointsays Giorgio Beretta, member of Opal, the Observatory on small arms and defense policies in Brescia (North). The real problem is in the lack of transparency and monitoring of controls, no standard in Italy requires adequate checks. »

The legislation is, indeed, surprisingly permissive. In 2022, in Italy, any citizen who does not suffer from mental problems or addiction to drugs or alcohol can obtain a license to carry a weapon. Only a self-certification is sufficient, countersigned by an attending physician, which leaves obvious flaws, underlines Mr. Beretta. The renewal of licenses, every five years, is done almost without any psychiatric expertise or advanced medical control. Another aberration for the researcher: the absence of locks on the weapons of the shooting ranges, when the bottles of alcohol in the supermarkets are, for example, equipped with them.

“Do justice to yourself

According to Giorgio Beretta, author of the book Il Paese delle armi (“The Land of Arms”, (Altreconomia, untranslated), 3 to 4 million small arms circulate in Italy. An arsenal used for personal defense purposes, for hunting or shooting in sports clubs. The Ministry of the Interior remains silent on the number of weapons registered in Italy. “We have no data on the number of weapons licenses. We do not know how many weapons are in the Italians. More importantly, nothing is known about the numbers of homicides or attempted homicides committed with legal weapons.continues Giorgio Beretta.

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