With a murder rate many times higher than the US, Russian legislators approved the carry of guns for self-defense.
The new law was announced on November 18.
The International Business Times reports that prior to this change “Russians were only allowed to own firearms for hunting or target practice.” Because of this, there are only “13 million” privately owned firearms in Russia compared to approximately 310 million the US. On the other hand, “there were 21,603 murders in Russia” in 2009 compared with just over 13,600 in the US, “which has a population almost twice as large [as Russia].”
In other words, in the past few years fewer guns equaled more murder in Russia while more guns equaled fewer murders in the US.
Under the new law, Russians can acquire a license to carry a firearm for self-defense. The license has to be “renewed every five years” and applicants must “undergo background checks and take a safety course.”
The law allows licensed Russians to carry a variety of different guns.
In November 2012 the New Republic reported that Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina argued for expanded gun rights by saying, “A person may decide not to commit a crime if he thinks he may be shot or may encounter resistance.” She also touched how strict gun control has not prevented the Russian murder rate from rising far above the rate in more gun-friendly countries: “If we take the number of homicides per one hundred thousand people in the population, according to our police statistics, it’s thirteen homicides in Russia and 5.2 in the US.”
In addition to concerns over the skyrocketing murder rate, it is important to note that Russian legislators are also grappling with ways to confront Russia’s growing terror threat and the tensions that continue to exist between Russia and the Ukrainian population. A well-armed Russian citizenry may be a pre-emptive response to both these matters.
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