Draft Legislation Gives Interior Ministry And FSB Veto Over Who Owns Guns In Russia (Unless They Are Officials) – OpEd


The Russian Guard is promoting legislation that will give the interior ministry and the FSB a veto over who can own a gun in Russia, but the proposed law explicitly exempts officials from such controls. And the bill itself raises questions about what the government is trying to do.

The draft legislation (regulation.gov.ru/projects#npa=121317) says that the interior ministry and the FSB will have to approve all applications by Russians to own firearms but it does not specify on what basis the organs will make that decision, although it does say that government officials won’t have to get such clearance.

Given that Russian laws governing gun ownership are already quite strict and given that criminals ignore those laws just as they ignore others and own perhaps as many as three times as many firearms as those who do so legally, commentators are speculating what this legislation is really about.

Some suggest it is simply an attempt to expand the bureaucratic reach of the MVD and FSB. Others say it is designed to give the siloviki yet another excuse to intervene in the lives of ordinary Russians. And still others insist it is simply the latest effort to divide Russians into the privileged and the plebes.

No one thinks the new law will be effective given that it will only affect registered weapons, which are responsible for fewer than 150 of the 7500 gun murders in Russia each year. But everyone assumes it will pass because Vladimir Putin said he wanted tighter controls after the latest Columbine-like shooting in Russia.

On these discussions, see profile.ru/society/vladet-ili-ne-vladet-kak-v-rossii-planirujut-uzhestochit-zakon-ob-oruzhii-941205/ and newizv.ru/article/general/12-10-2021/gonka-razoruzheniya-zachem-rosgvardii-uglublennye-proverki-zakonoposlushnyh-grazhdan).

For background on gun ownership in Russia and the rising tide of gun violence, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/12/armed-attack-on-fsb-hq-latest-of-putins.htmlwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/12/russians-using-guns-ever-more-often-to.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/11/10-percent-of-6000-armed-crimes-in.html).

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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