The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - January 28

From now on, if a burglar breaks into your home, you’ll be able to shoot without risking a custodial sentence, even if you kill the intruder.And even if your reaction is “disproportionate” to the actual threat. The Chamber of Deputies has approved a law on legitimate defence that makes provision for armed response by citizens in their own homes defending their lives or property. The measure, strongly supported by the Northern League, was passed by 244 votes to 175.

The reform introduced by Parliament authorises the use of weapons to defend life and property. In other words, anyone who shoots or knifes a burglar defending the safety of self or others will no longer be liable to prosecution because the law now assumes the proportionality of self-defence to assault. Nor will those who shoot in defence of their own or other people’s property be indictable, albeit on two conditions:there must be a danger of assault and there should be no desistance on the part of the intruder. In other words, the burglar must have reacted in a threatening manner, instead of fleeing, to a warning from the householder.

The new rules on legitimate defence are applicable in shops and all places where commercial or business activities are carried out, as well as in private homes. Specifically, the new regulations lay down that those who feel under attack or threat in their home or workplace, or believe their property is under attack or threat, may react as they see fit, using “legitimately held” weapons, and even killing, because the response will always be considered “proportionate”.

Excessive defense, for which it was possible to be convicted in the past, no longer exists.