FESAC Annual Conference 2009 – Italy

The Foundation held its annual gathering of country delegates, observers and consultants in Terni, Italy from the 27th to the 31st of May. The conference was followed the day after by a seminar during which high-profile guests delivered a series of incisive reports on current arms legislation in Italy.

The event was hosted by the Italian affiliate, the “Amici del Museo delle Armi Terni” (AMAT) whose President General Guido Pesce and fellow council members were responsible for the entire organisation of the programme spread over four days.

The delegates’ conference was held on Thursday 28 May and was presided over by FESAC Chairman Stephen Petroni. Delegates from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg,  the Netherlands, Norway and new member Romania were also present for the conference.  The meeting was concluded with the election of the Board officials. Stephen Petroni (Malta), Albrecht Simon (Germany) and Pit Kaiser (Luxembourg) were re-appointed President, Vice President and Treasurer respectively while Hanny Papendorp-Spruijt (Netherlands) was appointed Secretary.

The following day delegates and distinguished guests attended the FESAC Seminar entitled “The European Directive on Firearms and its relevance to Italian Law”. Representatives of political, administrative, military, law enforcement and cultural institutions presented their views on the transposition of the EU Arms Directive amendments into Italian law and the difficulties created by the archaic nature of the latter. The guest speakers included the Deputy Mayor of Terni Feliciano Polli, the Hon. Luciano Rossi – MEP and President of the a Parliamentary Intergroup, Dr. Luigina Di Mattia – Director of the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo, Dr. Pierluigi Borgioni – Police Vice Superintendent and representative of the Ministry of the Interior, Dr. Nicola Miriano – former Prosecutor of Perugia and expert in the field of arms. Dr. Biagio Mazzeo – Judge in Genoa and legal adviser of the “Arms and Ammunition” journal and Mrs. Catiuscia Marini – MEP on the EU Directive and Italy’s role in arms commerce. Guest Eng. Obrist Ernfried, President of the Italian Target Shooting Federation, was presented with a plaque commemorating the anniversary of the historical Carcano Model 1891 rifle that was first produced in Terni.

The Seminar tackled the complexity of Italy’s many laws and circulars that affect its arms collectors. While the EU Arms Directive grants collectors a special status by exempting them from its provisions, Italian law severely restricts them and imposes unnecessary and irreversible damage on collector arms. Thus the Seminar highlighted the need for change in legislation in order to recognise collectors’ important role in Society.

During the Seminar the FESAC Chairman re-affirmed the commitment with which serious enthusiasts pursue arms collecting and research, making them in effect curators of our common historical heritage on a par with curators of national collections.

The successful programme was concluded with a treat for delegates and guests as they were taken on visits to sites of interest in Terni. On Saturday 30 May they visited the magnificent arms collection at the Italian Army’s “Polo di Manutenzione Armi Leggeri” (formerly the state Fabrica d’Armi di Terni) where they were greeted by commander Col. Morlino in the presence of Lieutenant General Antonio Gucciardino, Director of the Land Armaments General Directorate. Mr. Petroni expressed FESAC support for AMAT’s efforts to open up the collection as a public museum.

In the afternoon participants visited a 100m range, located in the captivating scenery of the Marmore, where they had the opportunity to shoot WWI and WWII military rifles from the personal collections of Eng. Aldo Chiapparino, Gen. Aldebrano Micheli, Dr Mario Gasbarri and AMAT CEO Adriano Simoni. They were later presented with a “Certificate of Participation”.

Commemorative postcards with special cancellation stamps were issued for the occasion, which came to an end with the traditional gala dinner.

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