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First vice speaker of the Federation Council upper house of Russia’s parliament Alexander Torshin on Tuesday presented an expert report justifying the need for the introduction in Russia of free circulation of rifled-bore handguns. The FC member said that legalising assault weapons can increase the country’s GDP by 1 trillion roubles over five years. Experts differ in their estimates of the initiative.
Opponents warn that the country is not ready for the “total arming” of the people, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta. However, economic calculations speak in favour of the Torshin initiative - through the development of the new market, the country’s GDP will grow by 1 trillion roubles over five years.
On Tuesday, Alexander Torshin put forward a proposal to hold a referendum on the issue of legalisation of rifled-barrel handguns. The statement was made at the presentation of the expert report On the Issue of Reforming the Russian Arms Legislation.
The document of more than 100 pages contains a detailed analysis of the situation with crime and with circulation of weapons in Russia and other countries around the world, the arguments in favour of the legalisation of free sale of pistols and revolvers.
Russians have the right to own long smoothbore guns for self defence. The population owns a total of more than 6 million pieces of such weapons. If the people had more weapons, the crime rate would significantly decrease, Torshin and his supporters are convinced. Their arguments are based on the economic feasibility of the expansion of the turnover of civilian weapons.
Torshin proposes to allow the population to use pistols and revolvers for self-defence, as Russia has high crime rates and law enforcement agencies cannot protect the population, Kommersant emphasises. The report states that in the Russian Empire during the 1902-1914 period when short-barrelled weapons were allowed, the number of murders was half less than in the USSR in the following years. The FC member quotes statistics, suggesting that handgun owners are most law-abiding citizens.
Novye Izvestia asked vice president of the International Association of Veterans of the Antiterrorism Alpha Group Alexei Filatov for a comment. He said that the economic rationale of the law is more similar to the “gun lobby.” “Already for two years we have been struggling with lobbyists and we hope that this proposal will once again not be supported by the lawmakers. I think that if this law is adopted, the weapons turnover will reach 30-40 million pieces, which will lead to tragic consequences.” According to the special service veteran Filatov, Russia already has a negative experience of permission of the traumatic weapons’ use. “As a result, every year we have thousands of wounded, but, fortunately, only a few killed. Because it is not easy to kill with these weapons. And in cases with the use of firearms, nine out of ten people against whom they are used will be killed. I am sure that our people, instead of condescending to the negotiations, will be resolving domestic conflicts by force of arms.”
According to critics of the report, a number of questions remain unanswered, Rossiiskaya Gazeta notes. For example, what those who simply do not have money to buy a handgun have to do? Or what about those who for religious or other reasons cannot bear arms altogether? Does this mean that all of them will gradually die out in the street showdowns? Or what about those who are in possession of arms would go insane or get very angry?