A male guest was shot with a gun belonging to one of Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni’s MPs at a New Year’s party in the town of Rosazza, in Northern Italy.
MP Emanuele Pozzolo, of Meloni’s governing Fratelli d’Italia party, confirmed the 0.22 calibre North American Arms mini-revolver was his, although he insisted he did not fire the bullet that injured Luca Campana, a 31-year-old electrician.
Campana was at the celebration as the boyfriend of the daughter of a bodyguard of Meloni’s justice undersecretary, Andrea Delmastro.
Italian media reported Delmastro was host to 30 guests at the party in the Piedmont-region town where his sister Francesca is mayor.
Following the incident, Campana went to hospital to have a bullet removed from his leg. He reportedly pressed charges against the MP on January 4.
Pozzolo claimed the electrician shot himself by accident. According to news portal euronews, the MP said Campana picked up the gun from the floor after was inadvertently dropped.
Campana, though, reportedly said he did new nothing about the gun and is “angry” at the MP for not “taking responsibility”.
“I saw the hole and I was sick”, he told media. “There were children there, it could have been worse,” he added.
One alleged witness told Repubblica newspaper it was Pozzolo who fired the weapon, saying the MP “was in a good mood and pulled the pistol out of his pocket to show people”.
Other media said it would have been difficult for Campana to shoot himself in the back of the thigh and that Pozzolo’s firearm licence was removed after the New Year’s Eve incident.
It was also reported that the MP initially refused police requests to swab his hands and clothes for gunpowder or take a breathalyser test, citing parliamentary immunity. He later allowed his hands to be swabbed.
Andrea Iurato, a lawyer in Sicily, claimed Pozzolo declined “even the so-called paraffin glove, an activity carried out by the police to detect traces of gunpowder residues that remain on the hand for a few hours after a gunshot has exploded”.
Milan-based journalist Christian Mavris told Brussels Signal that Meloni has called for Pozzolo’s immediate expulsion despite her aides, he said, urging her “not to turn a news item into a political event”.
Pozzolo’s invoking of parliamentary immunity means if prosecutors want to search his home or telephone records, they will have to ask the Italian Parliament for permission to do so.
Italy’s Government had been considering lowering the minimum age for owning rifles and Pozzolo has spoken in favour of more liberal laws concerning gun ownership.