In September last year, the Italian government loosened the countries gun laws. The new law doubled the number of “sport” weapons that licensed citizens could own, a category that includes some semiautomatic weapons such as several models of the AR-15. It also loosened limits on magazine capacity.
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has rejected that he is arming Italy up, saying he just wants to give good guys a chance to defend themselves.
And he is apparently persuading more civilians that it is a good idea. In a recent survey, 39 percent of Italians said they were in favor of making it easier to get a gun for self-defense – up from 26 percent in 2015.
Although there are no reliable statistics on gun ownership, a recent study estimated that 4.5 million Italians (out of a population of 60 million) live in a home with a firearm.
And the number of sport shooting licenses – the license of choice for ordinary citizens who want to keep a gun at home for self-defense – has skyrocketed from 400,000 in 2014 to nearly 600,000 this year. (Italy’s heavily armed criminal mobs, do not bother with licenses.)