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Russia: Vladimir Putin wants to tighten gun law after the rampage in Kazan


The rampage at a school in Kazan shook all of Russia. Now Vladimir Putin wants to tighten gun law, not for the first time. Critics fear that little will change this time either.

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Mourners outside school number 175 in Kazan on Tuesday, where a gunman killed nine people

Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky / dpa

It has been two months since Ilnas Galjawiev, 19 years old and dropout, suddenly imagined that he was God.

This is how the young man later told the police.

A huge hatred of all people had grown in him.

On Tuesday of this week, Galjawiev entered his former school in the city of Kazan with a semi-automatic rifle, a twelve-hour drive east of Moscow, and caused a bloodbath.

Seven students and two adults are dead, dozens of others were injured.

The act shook Russia - and it prompted President Vladimir Putin to prepare for a tightening of the gun law.

A corresponding instruction was sent to the head of the National Guard, said Putin's spokesman on the day of the attack.

The National Guard is responsible for the licensing of weapons.

Enforcement is the problem

It is not the first call for tightening of Russian gun law - but there is reason to believe that this move will have little effect either.

Not the already strict gun laws, but their enforcement are probably the problem.

Galjawiev, the Kazan assassin, got his weapon quite legally.

The man who thought he was God was given the necessary psychological certificate.

On this basis he received a license to own a gun on April 28th and bought a Turkish rifle of the "Hatsan Escort PS" type - semi-automatic, smooth barrel, weighing a good three kilograms.

It is a cheap weapon, in Russia it is offered for a good 30,000 rubles, the equivalent of around 333 euros.

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As early as 2018, an 18-year-old student with a weapon of the same type wreaked havoc in a college in Kerch, in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

20 people died at that time, as well as the perpetrator.

At that time, too, Putin had already initiated a tightening of the gun law, the National Guard had drafted a law project - without further consequences.

"Nothing has changed after Kerch, and nothing will change now," says Mikhail Kretschmar, editor-in-chief of the Russian hunting magazine.

At most, he expects the age limit to be raised.

An increase from 18 to 21 years was already discussed after the shooting in Kerch, but it failed.

In America, where the carrying of arms is allowed, there are fewer murders in relation to the population than in Russia, says Kretschmar.

"The guns aren't the problem."

Strict guidelines

Formally, gun ownership in Russia is tied to strict requirements.

Among other things, a psychological certificate of suitability and proof of a lockable gun safe are required.

The issuing of medical certificates for official purposes is, however, a separate line of business in Russia, with negligent or corrupt providers.

The vice-chairman of the Duma Security Committee, Anatoly Vybornyj, has already called for higher penalties for illegally issued medical certificates.

“The doctors who issue the certificates of proficiency are already being examined.

The police also check whether there is a gun safe.

I can't imagine what else can be done, ”says Kretschmar.

According to the National Guard, which has been responsible for issuing weapons licenses since 2016, 3.9 million Russians currently have such a license, they own 6.6 million weapons.

They are almost exclusively long-barreled weapons.

Pistols, but also automatic weapons, cannot be legally acquired.

"Twice as many illegal weapons as legal ones"

"There are twice as many illegal weapons as legal ones in Russia, 12 million compared to six million," says Vyacheslav Vantejew, chairman of the "Right to Arms" lobby group.

He considers the announced tightening to be a form of election campaign before the Duma elections in the autumn.

In fact, in a 2018 poll, 89 percent of Russians approved of the ban on automatic weapons and pistols.

After all, 55 percent were against the free sale of gas pistols and stun guns.

The gun lobby may only have a minority of Russians behind it, but Vantejev's group has a prominent ex-chairman who wants to go to parliament herself: Maria Butina.

The 32-year-old gun lover had made contacts with the top of the National Rifle Association lobbying organization in the United States and was accused of acting as an illegal agent.

On the Internet, she expressed her condolences to the relatives of the dead in Kazan.

Collaboration: Alexander Chernyshev

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-05-15

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