Self-defence law reform passed but opposition remain wary
ROME - Italy’s Senate Thursday approved a reform to the contentious law on self-defence by an overwhelming majority in what will be seen as a victory for Matteo Salvini’s League.
The reform to the law, passed with 201 votes in favour and only 38 against with six abstentions, gives individuals greater agency to defend themselves from situations of imminent danger when authorities cannot be reached in time.
As of Thursday, self-defence and defence of one’s property against intruders will always be considered legitimate and no be prosecuted.
Salvini, who has long advocated in favour of such a reform, was quick to commend the decision. “After years of chatter and controversy, the sacrosanct right of self-defence for anyone attacked in their home, in their bar, or in their restaurant has been sanctioned,” he said.
Salvini then added that from this day forwards “criminals will know that to be a robber in Italy has become more difficult, it is an even more dangerous job.”
The decision has been widely criticised by leaders of political opposition parties as well as judiciary experts who saw no need for a change to the law and now fear that judges’ authority will be undermined.
Leader of the Partito Democratico Nicola Zingaretti branded the new law as “an irresponsible decision,” citing the fact that cases where the current law was abused by defenders were few and far between.
He added that the state’s focus should be on better defending its own people, rather than relying on people taking matters into their own hands and creating a “Far West” society in Italy.
Salvini’s fellow deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio also remained wary and was quick to stress that the 5 Star Movement would not endorse any attempts to decrease firearm regulations now the law has passed.
“We have far too many problems to sort out in this country,” he wrote in a post on Facebook, “let’s not create more… There is a proposed law signed by 70 members of parliament which aims to facilitate the purchase of firearms for self-defence. No elected member of the Movement will vote for it. Not one.”
He went on to add that “greater safety does not mean more guns in the streets, quite the opposite.”