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FC committee chairman wants Russia’s gun laws tightened

The proposal comes amid a college attack in Crimea, carried out by an armed student

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The Kerch tragedy has demonstrated the need for tightening control of retail trade in firearms and cartridges for them, the chairman of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, Viktor Bondarev, believes.

On October 17, a student of a polytechnic college in Kerch staged an explosion inside the educational establishment and opened fire with a shotgun on his teachers and fellow students, killing twenty and injuring some 50 others. The attacker eventually shot himself. A criminal case, originally opened on the suspicion of an act of terrorism, was soon reclassified to murder.

"In order to prevent such terrible incidents in the future it is necessary to tighten control of trade in firearms and cartridges for them," the committee’s press-service quotes Bondarev as saying. He believes that Russian legislation in this field is good by and large, but it needs some perfection and fine-tuning.

Russia's gun laws

The Federation Council’s defense and security committee met in visiting session in Rostov-on-Don on October 17-18. Upper house deputy speaker Yevgeny Bushmin cited 2016-2017 statistics saying that a total of 25,000 gun law violations were exposed, more than 4,000 offenders brought to justice, and 13,000 criminal cases opened.

"Gun law violations pose a major threat to Russia’s security. They remain one of the main catalysts of violent crimes, including terrorism," Bondarev said.

He believes that the efforts to expose illegal trafficking of firearms and ammunition and solve crimes committed with their use "require better inter-departmental cooperation by the Interior Ministry, the Russian Guards, the Armed Forces and the federal security service FSB." In his opinion, "Russia’s firearms legislation by and large allows for effective resistance to crimes in that sphere and prevent theft and loss of firearms and ammunition."

Bondarev said that the illegal market of firearms today relied mostly on such sources as used weapons that have been written off, civilian weapons converted to combat use and smuggling. Also, one may come across vintage World War II weapons. In some cases control of the safekeeping of weapons and ammunition was poor, and in others the owners of weapons were careless.

Committee’s decisions

The committee’s press-service said a decision was made to consider the question of drafting a special legal act to better specify such terms as handover, marketing, manufacturing or conversion of the main parts of firearms. The committee also believes that the agencies concerned and the communication watchdog should monitor the Internet for open information about illegally available firearms, the press-service said.