Thursday, July 23, 2009

Russians arming themselves for self-defense

From Russia, with love (of guns):
As the economic crisis deepens and fears of crime spread, not only are more Russians buying guns of various kinds – including pistols and gas guns -- but many of them are buying more than one, trends that are prompting some Duma deputies to consider repealing existing restrictions on the purchase of hunting rifles for self-defense.

But as could be expected on the basis of the experience of other countries, many of these guns are not used for self-defense but rather in settling personal scores or, the Russian interior ministry says, in the kind of ethnic and group conflicts that have already left many dead and could claim more lives as gun ownership spreads (

According to an article in today’s “Novyye izvestiya,” “besides the unemployed, activists of certain organizations are arming themselves.” The paper gives as “an example,” the Movement against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) “whose members have been directed to obtain for themselves not only licenses for guns but guns themselves.”

Over the past decade, the paper reports, ownership of guns of all types has increased approximately five percent a year, but in the course of the last “crisis” year, the number of people owning them has gone up by seven percent and the number owning self-defense weapons has risen “more than 10 percent annually.”

Residents of the capital, the paper continues, are “arming themselves more actively than others,” with the number of guns for self-defense as opposed to hunting and sports shooting officially sold in Moscow from July 2008 through June 2009 amounting to 37,000, with the possibility that the actual number was still higher.

“Novyye izvestiya” says that there are already 213,000 people in the Russian capital with officially registered self-defense weapons – approximately one gun for every 60 residents – and there are 1.2 million owners of such guns in Russia as a whole, a figure that it just under one percent of the country’s total population. ...

Article here. Of course, with less than one percent of the population with privately-owned guns, even relatively small numbers of new gun owners represent decent percentage increases in gun ownership.

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