Friday, 27 July 2012

Short-barreled arms legalization proposed by senator

Short-barreled arms legalization, proposed by Senator Alexander Torshin on Tuesday, was frowned upon by the country’s top officials and saw a mixed reaction from the Russian media. At the presentation of an expert report “On reform of Russian arms legislation,” the first deputy speaker of the Federation Council said that allowing Russians to keep short-barreled weapons could give the budget a lucrative revenue of 1 trillion rubles ($30.5 billion) within the next five years. But neither economic gains, nor Torshin’s other argument that armed Russians would make for a “kinder” society, could convince the Kremlin, Public opinion has also been not on Torshin’s side, according to poll results. The report, prepared by a team of analysts headed by Torshin, said the measure could become an spur for design by Russian gun manufacturers, and that in a couple of years, Russian short-barreled arms would be able to compete on the international market. Selling licenses for arms possession for 500 rubles ($15) per item will also bring 2.5 billion rubles ($76.2 million) into the budget every year, the report read. The group covered by the new legislation, which is yet to be written and submitted for consideration, will be people 23 years old and over with a monthly income of 25,000 rubles – altogether 23 million people. People with a criminal record as well as those registered as suffering mental disorders or from drug use will not be eligible for arms possession, Torshin said. Currently, 6 million Russians already possess long-barreled guns legally, according to the report. “Legalization of short-barreled arms is a pressing necessity that corresponds to the demands of modern society,” Torshin said at Tuesday’s presentation, although public opinion polls demonstrate the opposite. A survey carried out last year by the independent Levada Center uncovered that only 13 percent of Russians would approve legalizing arms possession to increase personal safety. In 2001, the number was 16 percent. One of the few groups that repeatedly spoke in support of short-barreled arms legalization was Russian nationalists. Anti-corruption blogger and prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny, known for his backing of right-wing movements, has also supported the idea.

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