Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Gun and self-defense rights: inching forward

There is no love lost between me and the rather absurd Lega Nord (Northern League) party, which is part of the current Italian coalition government, but this time I have to hand it to them. Finally some sense from the Berlusconi government:
Italy's parliament approved on Tuesday a law that allows citizens to shoot robbers in self-defence, a measure that critics say will encourage people to take the law into their own hands.
The reform was championed by the populist Northern League party, which regularly calls for the castration of rapists.
It authorises the use of guns and knives as legitimate defence by victims of robberies and break-ins in their own house, workplace or in a shop, whether it is to protect someone's life or belongings.
"Today criminals will have more to fear while there will be fewer problems for honest people," said Justice Minister Roberto Castelli, who belongs to the Northern League.
I have mentioned before how I feel about gun control, and the same goes for self-defense. This recent "Quote of the day" from Samizdata sums it up perfectly:
Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
- Unknown
Barely anybody seems to have noticed this reform abroad, but the Italian leftist intelligentsia is up in arms over this new "Far West-style" law (link in Italian), and the headlines are screaming in indignation (Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica, l'Unità, La Stampa etc.). What a bunch of clowns: do we want to end up like the Brits?
After the gun-control referendum in Brazil (see Foreign Policy for background; requires subs.), is it another step towards the next international human right? Let's hope so.

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