Monday, November 23, 2020

Duma Moves to Tighten Controls on Private Gun Ownership

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 20 – In the midst of its other repressive moves, the Duma will soon take up and almost certainly pass legislation that will simultaneously make it more difficult for most Russians to own certain categories of weapons and open the way for confiscatory raids on those who already do.

            Like most countries, Russia has different requirements for the ownership of different kinds of weapons with the strictest involving those that have the longest effective range and greatest firepower and the most relaxed concerning those that have only limited range and are the least lethal.

            What the new measures will do is to extend the stricter rules to most categories of weapons thus making it impossible for Russian citizens to legally own them and thereby slow the rapid rise of gun ownership in the Russian Federation, a rise that is feeding crime and even attacks on officials.

            The changes are superficially technical, involving Lancaster bore weapons which are no longer used much elsewhere but still common in Russia ( But if these seem small, they will cast a large shadow.

            Russian officials are clearly worried about what some estimate are now more than 25 million guns in private hands, the rise of illegal gun manufacturing facilities, and the use of guns in the commission of crimes and even attacks on government facilities like the FSB headquarters (,,, and

            Obviously, someone in the Kremlin or the FSB is concerned that some protesters in Russia might at some point take up the gun and wants to preclude that possibility by returning to the situation in Soviet times when few people had guns and those guns were kept in secure facilities the authorities could monitor.

            It isn’t clear that the new restrictions will do much other than give the powers that be yet another “legal” justification for moving against those they disapprove of and levelling new charges against them. But under the circumstances, that may appear to the Kremlin and the FSB as better than nothing.   

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