Author`s name Ольга Савка

Private Weapons in Russia: Still Moot Question

Some Russian politicians believe that the number of murders would increase greatly if private weapons are legalized

If a state can not guarantee security to its people, it would be logical to let people do it themselves. The discussion about this issue has been going on for several years already, but things are right where they started. Russian producers of weapons say that people would have more guarantees of their security, if they are allowed  to have personal weapons. In addition to that, the proponents of licensed weapons say that it would help to put an end to illegal weapons sales - it would be possible to make it a legal and taxable business. Furthermore, the people, who own guns secretly now, would be given an opportunity to register their possessions and become controllable. However, adversaries of the idea believe that one should not arm the population, because the number of murders would increase greatly. Matches are not a toy for children, so to speak.

Russian producers of firearms refer to the experience of the West. Citizens of the USA, Finland and Sweden have all legal grounds to purchase firearms, not just guns only, but even automatic weapons. A wild outburst of criminality is not a typical characteristics for these countries, with the exception for the USA, maybe.

Moldavia was the only country of the former USSR, which ventured to conduct the experiment of legal weapons sales. A state weapons shop was opened in the republic several years ago. A civil version of the Makarov gun cost $500-600 there, a Beretta or a Glock gun cost $1,000-1,200. However, the minimum wages in Moldavia make up nine dollars, the average salary reaches $60. Some other arms shops were opened in Moldavia last year, and guns became a bit cheaper. However, it is impossible to say that the vast majority of the Moldavian population have guns now. A hundred or two local businessmen and security guards - these are basically the two major categories of the Moldavian people that can boast of having their private guns.

The hostage crisis, which took place in Moscow last October, gave a new incentive to the issue of private weapons in Russia. Would Movsar Barayev have been able to seize the music theatre, if hundreds of guns had been aimed at him from the audience? However, the debate is not worth a pin, for there is no law anyway. However, law-makers from the Kaliningrad region suggested certain amendments to the Law "About Weapons." Amendments are meant to encourage people to take care of their personal security and to provide the protection of the interests of the society and the state. The draft law has been prepared by the deputies of the Kaliningrad regional Duma, it will soon be considered by the lower house of the Russian parliament.

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