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Source: Izvestia

Russia May Legalize Possession of Handguns

Federation Council Vice-Speaker Alexander Torshin intends to propose a bill that would allow Russians to possess handguns and use them for self-defense without fear of being exposed to criminal liability. Presumably, the bill will be proposed in the State Duma early next year.

In the meantime, the Federation Council has launched an active indoctrination effort meant to influence the public into adopting a sober-minded attitude toward the Torshin initiative. On July 24, the vice-speaker himself will deliver an expert report to legislators, senators, Public Chamber members and representatives of gun associations. The same report will be submitted to the President’s Executive Office.

The report suggests amending the Federal Law On Weapons that allows the possession of shotguns, non-lethal weapons, gas guns, stun guns, pneumatic weapons, and cold steel arms (knives), but says nothing about handguns. Proponents insist that violent crime statistics tend to decline as the number of legal firearms owners increases.

Currently, Russian law allows for the victims of violent crime to be criminally liable for what is known as excessive self-defense. To avoid this situation, the report suggests that the self-defense doctrine, “my house is my fortress,” should be formalized in legislation.

Alexei Rogozin of the Practical Shooting Federation believes that handgun permits should initially be issued to certain categories of people, such as masters of (shooting) sports, hunters, war veterans, and police officers, while phasing out non-lethal weapons.

Experts estimate the current potential market for handguns at 1.5 million buyers annually, a number that is likely to grow by 10 percent each year. According to even conservative estimates, sales could reach as much as 746 billion rubles (around $20 million) over ten years.

The report comes to the conclusion that the Russian public will accept handgun availability. Firearms possession can enhance personal protection, would boost Russia’s military equipment industry and even strengthen national security.

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