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Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev's order, which was published in the government's Rossiisskaya Gazeta on Friday, adds some regulations to the country's Law on Arms, tightening control over arms sales and making the rules clearer for market participants, specifying what is permitted, what is not and where to appeal.
According to the Interior Ministry, Russian citizens have more than five million units of registered firearms. In addition, about two million traumatic pistols have been sold.
Experts say citizens have almost the same number of unregistered arms. Russian police are searching for more than 220,000 guns, including 70,000 rifles. The record of lost or stolen arms has been kept since 1947. More than 160,000 units have been found since then.
Russia is the world's ninth for the number of armed people. In the United States, 90 out of every 100 have arms. In the hands are 150 million of various fire units. In Germany, 120 out of every 1,000 have arms. In Finland - - 400. In Japan, armed people account for fewer than 0,01% of the population, while in Switzerland, almost all have arms -- every reservist as a member of the people’s militia keeps a service machine gun at home.
Russian police are concerned first of all over self-defence firearms -- pistols. Amendments were recently made to the Law on Arms, seriously limiting rights for keepers of small guns. While a hunter is allowed possessing six units, a "self defender" only two.
To tighten control over arms sales, the minister's order specifies sale requirements. Only a legal entity may trade in arms. An ordinary citizen may hand over arms only to police, for a reward as well.
Regulations are also specified for actions of officials who give licenses. The most important aspect is public presentation of a document. With the same anticorruption aim, definite periods are set for some or other actions of police.
For example, in the United States, the procedure to buy any arms may last from 15 minutes to a month, varying in states. In Europe, a person must undergo training, have a positive character reference and receive permission from police to buy a civil or hunting gun. In France, sale of any submachine guns is prohibited. In Japan, permission is given only after a year-long course of training, and those who possess arms are checked every three months.