A dispute over privately owned weapons has erupted in Italy after a councilor for the far-right Liga party allegedly shot dead an immigrant.
Massimo Adriatici, a security councilor in Voghera, is under house arrest following the shooting outside a bar in the Lombardy city on Tuesday night. Youns El Bossettaoui, a 38-year-old Moroccan man, was shot in the chest and later died in hospital.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the League and a key partner in Mario Draghi’s broad coalition, immediately defended Adriatici, arguing that the councilman, a former police commander and criminal lawyer, had acted in self-defense.
He said in a video posted on social media on Wednesday: “The hypothesis is self-defense. [Adriatici] he is a professor of criminal law, former police officer and criminal lawyer, known and esteemed … he was the victim of an attack to which he accidentally responded ”.
In an interview with Agorà, a Rai TV current affairs program, on Thursday morning, Salvini also defended Adriatici for carrying a weapon: “From what he has come out, he was attacked by a criminal and illegal immigrant. Let’s wait until all the findings emerge: when someone dies it is always a defeat and a moment of mourning, but before judging and condemning we must be cautious ”.
According to Italian media reports, Adriatici, who was carrying a .22 caliber pistol, claimed that he intervened when El Bossettaoui, who had a wife and two children in Morocco, allegedly disturbed customers at the bar. The two men lined up and El Bossettaoui allegedly pushed Adriatici. Adriatici claimed that a bullet was accidentally fired while falling to the ground.
Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic party, which is also part of Draghi’s coalition, called for a ban on privately owned firearms. “A man has been killed by a gun,” Letta said. “One thing we must and can do: stop privately owned weapons.”
Franco Mirabelli, a Democratic Party senator, said he found Salvini’s words “chilling.” “A man shot and killed another man,” he added. “It is a tragedy: before the trials, the pain of the victim must prevail.”
Riccardo Magi, president of the small left party More Europe, said: “Salvini’s game is deceptive … it has given citizens the idea that they have to defend themselves and that there is impunity to shoot.”
According to figures from the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey, cited in the newspaper La Stampa, an estimated 1.2 million Italians who are not part of the police and security forces own small arms.
As with other western EU countries, there are strict laws governing the ownership and use of weapons in Italy. Owners must first go through a strict process to obtain a gun purchase license, and once a gun is purchased, the owner must notify the Home Office. There are limits on the type and number of firearms a person can possess, as well as restrictions on the amount of ammunition that can be accessed. Another special license is required to carry a weapon in public spaces.
Most police and security personnel can carry weapons. However, its use is only allowed in extreme circumstances, even when acting in self-defense.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism