There are five different motions to tighten up gun-control laws waiting to be examined by the Italian parliament. All of them have become more urgent after the tragic event near Novara in north Italy this week when a 54-year-old man, who was afraid of losing his home because he was so deeply in debt, shot 12 people, killing three of them. The killer was found to have 12 loaded guns and 2,600 rounds of ammunition in his home, and the case has once again raised the question of gun licences.

In Italy, members of the security services, such as the police and the Carabiniere, carry guns, as do 54,000 security guards working for private companies. They usually take their guns home when they are off duty. In addition to this, 36,000 Italians have a licence to carry a gun for their personal protection and more than 800,000 Italians are holders of licences to carry sporting guns for hunting and to use at shooting ranges. In all it is estimated that as many as four million Italians keep a gun in their home.