May 14, 2021
Firearms News Report
If you are an avid reader, or viewer, of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine RT News, and you have fallen for the disinformation campaign that Vladimir “President for Life” Putin is some kind activist for individual liberties (as many conservatives unfortunately believe), you will be disappointed to learn that he is now pushing for more gun control in the wake of Russia’s latest mass shooting. We say “more” because, back around six years ago when the NRA was flying over to Russia to assist Russian gun owners with gun “freedoms”, Putin made statements that he had no intention of expanding Russian citizens’ gun privileges. His sidekick at the time, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, also voiced his anti-gun thoughts a few years before after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012:
"The rules that exist in the United States are absolutely unacceptable for Russia or even for the United States itself," he said. "Although they are proud of some well-known constitutional amendments -- this happens -- it is horrible and impossible to justify." [as quoted by Radio Free Europe, December 20, 2012]
So, what is going on now? Last week, 19-year old Ilnaz Galyaviev went into a school and shot dozens of students and faculty which resulted in multiple injuries and nine deaths, seven of them children. According to sources we contacted inside of Russia, Galyaviev used a Turkish-made, Hatsan pump shotgun (one source stated it was semi-auto) which was his first legally purchased firearm. We have also learned that Galyaviev appeared to be high on some type of drug when apprehended by police and that he had been posting many anti-social posts on his social media including one that he was a god. One source stated that Galyaviev attended this school when he was younger.
If you are wondering what types of firearms Russians can own, Firearms News not only has a great article on this subject entitled From Russia with Love (and Guns), but also a video tour of a Russian gun store. In a nutshell, Russians can buy shotguns/smoothbore long arms starting at the age of 18 after a strict background and mental health check. If they would like to own a rifle, they must have shotgun ownership for five years until they are eligible to purchase a rifled long arm. Semi-auto MSRs such as AR-15s and AK-type rifles are legal to purchase once you are approved for rifles. There is a 10-round magazine limit, however, there is no penalty for owning larger-capacity magazines. Handguns are illegal to own unless used for competition, but those must be stored at a local shooting range which is licensed.
Putin has asked the Kremlin to review current gun laws for the purpose of possibly banning semi-automatic firearms “which are considered assault weapons elsewhere”. One immediate knee-jerk proposal is to increase the firearm license age from 18 to 21 years old, which is essentially what former Florida governor Rick Scott signed into law with former president Trump’s blessing after a school shooting there.
We hope that Russian gun owners will not get their ability to own firearms trampled on and will provide updates on this issue as they become available.