Friday, March 3, 2023

Russia Needs an NRA Because an Armed Population Can Protect Both Population and the State, Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 28 – Over the last five years, the Putin regime, both because it does not want to confront an armed population and because many Russians fear that their country could become a land of Columbines, the American term they use to refer to mass shootings in schools, has worked hard to restrict gun ownership in the Russian Federation.

            It has imposed tighter controls on what kind of guns Russians can own, how many they can have, and how old they have to be to own them, and it has disbanded the largest gun ownership group and gelded the other, steps that have led it to claim gun ownership is down even though many believe these actions have only driven it underground.

            Not surprisingly, this has produced a reaction among gun owners and their supporters who believe that guns can not only allow individuals to protect themselves against criminals and abuse by the state but protect the state on occasions when it may come under attack, including armed incursions from abroad.

            Such possibilities now seem much greater given the war in Ukraine, and some Russian gun activists say Moscow must change course and allow the population to arm itself at will. To that end, they are calling for an NRA-style organization that will help overcome divisions within the gun-owning community (

            The Russian government is unlikely to move very far in that direction, but the way in which gun ownership and gun training among young people can better prepare them for military service may push even the Putin regime to allow more guns of at least a certain kind and especially more guns in the hands of the young than is now the case.

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