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How Are the Rules on Weapons in Italy
Come sono le regole sulle armi in Italia
Il Post (Italy)
22 July 2021
The acquisition and possession of firearms in Italy is regulated by the Consolidated Law on Public Security (TULPS). In Title II of the text, there is a section of sixteen articles devoted entirely to weapons, which has been amended several times and does not always set out the various rules in a straightforward manner.
Basically, in order to acquire a firearm, it is sufficient to obtain a 'nulla osta to purchase', which can only be issued to persons of legal age and is valid for one month. It can be obtained by applying to the police headquarters, police station or Carabinieri station, enclosing two documents with the application: a certificate from a forensic doctor proving that you are in full possession of your mental faculties and that you do not use drugs, even occasionally, or alcohol continuously; and a certificate of fitness to handle weapons obtained after attending a recognised course at a national shooting range (this is not necessary for those who have done military service).
The permit only allows you to buy the weapon to take it to your home and keep it there, while notifying your cohabitants. In order to carry the weapon around with you, if it is ready for use, it is necessary to have a weapon licence for personal defence, while there is a different type of licence for carrying it even when you do not have a weapon licence for personal defence. According to the regulations for the implementation of the TULPS, it is possible to acquire - either by means of a nulla osta or by means of a firearms licence - three common firearms; twelve firearms for sporting use; an unlimited number of two- or three-barrelled shotguns with a calibre not exceeding twelve millimetres; eight weapons of historical or artistic interest.
Since the authorisation only lasts for a month, enthusiasts are much more likely to apply for a firearms licence, which can be obtained on the same form as the authorisation and does not require many extra documents. In the case of a firearms licence for personal defence, for example, it is necessary to prove that you are exposed to a risk (a particularly high volume of business, a dangerous occupation in areas such as jewellery). Once obtained, it remains valid for five years but must be renewed every year. In order to obtain a gun licence for hunting, which is called a 'Licence to carry a gun for hunting purposes', it is necessary to take the hunting licence exam.
The main difference between the permit for personal defence and those for hunting and sporting use is that the latter two only allow the carrying of weapons, i.e. moving them without ammunition. A firearms licence for self-defence, on the other hand, allows you to 'carry', i.e. to move a loaded firearm with you.
As regards costs, in order to obtain a firearms licence for personal defence or for hunting, certain fees must be paid (115 euros in the first case and more than 200 euros in the second), as well as a tax stamp. On the other hand, to obtain a firearms licence for sporting purposes, you do not have to pay any tax other than a tax stamp. Weapon prices vary widely, ranging from approximately 300 euros for a Beretta 92 (used by the Carabinieri) to over 2,000 euros for more sophisticated weapons and hunting rifles.