Good News from Russia


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MicroBalrog
February 9, 2003, 11:22 AM
From: "Roger Dewhurst", INTERNET:dewhurst@wave.co.nz

Group Lobbies for Guns to Prevent Terror Acts

By Kevin O'Flynn
Staff Writer

Last fall's siege of the Dubrovka theater by armed Chechens
sparked much debate on how the attack could have been prevented. A new
organization believes it has the answer: Let the population arm itself.

That way, the group's members say, instead of accepting their
fate, the hostages could have pulled out their legally registered
handguns and fought off their captors.

"It would have been impossible to hold [hundreds of] people if
one in 10 potential hostages were armed," said Andrei Vasilievsky, head
of the newly formed Civil Arms Union, or Soyuz Grazdanskoye Oruzhiye, which
is lobbying for all Russians to have the right to carry arms.

Less than a week after the end of the siege, Vasilievsky and
his supporters sent a letter to the government, calling for the repeal of gun
control laws.

Current legislation allows Russian citizens to buy
smooth-barrelled firearms for hunting and self-defense after undergoing a mental
examination and a background check for any past criminal record. Those guns must
be kept at home in secure metal containers.

The idea of loosening gun control in a country with one of the
highest murder rates in the world may seem foolhardy to some, but the
union insists it would allow a population buffeted by crime and left
vulnerable by ineffective law enforcement to defend itself properly.

The front page of the union's web site declares: "If you
understand that the policeman cannot protect you from attack in your favorite
place, from your home's entryway to the wild forest ... you're with us. Because
weapons are independence and responsibility."

The staunchest opposition to the union comes from the Interior
Ministry, the federal agency that oversees the country's police force.

"The Interior Ministry's position is negative," Leonid Vedenov,
deputy head of the ministry's organized crime department, said in a recent
interview. "And so is public opinion."

Vedenov said those lobbying for the right to carry arms are
doing so in the interest of gunmakers.

Vasilievsky said the ministry opposed the union's proposals
because of its conservatism and because it was trying to preserve its
profitable private security business.

He also said the strict gun possession laws now in effect help
police when they need to frame somebody. A single shell found on a person
could be used "to fabricate criminal cases," he said.

Many of the union's arguments echo those of the powerful U.S.
organization, the National Rifle Association.

Like the NRA, the union considers the carrying of arms to be a
civil right and protection not only for a person's life but for his
property.

"If we want our society to be democratic, this is one of the
rights we have to have," said Andrei Nasomov, a supporter of the arms union
and an advocate for the rights of small business.

Nasomov said small businesses were in special need of
self-defense, squeezed from both sides by criminals and corrupt police.

The union also says the right to bear arms would cut crime
figures rather than boost them, citing recent increases in gun crime in
Britain and Australia since the introduction of tighter gun control.

Although more than 6 million guns are legally registered
nationwide, they are used in only 1,000 out of the 5,000 to 7,000 crimes
involving guns annually, said Valery Polozov, an expert with the State Duma's
Security Committee and a supporter of the union

Matthew Bennet, spokesman for Americans for Gun Safety, said he
was skeptical about the union's arguments.

"There's no evidence that criminals are worried about victims
carrying guns," Bennet said in a telephone interview from New York.
"There's no relation between the loosening of gun control and a drop in the
crime rate."

Gun control advocates need not worry yet about measures
allowing the public to arm themselves. Vasilievsky, who is vice president of the
political think tank Panorama, admits that his initiative has little public
support.

In the run up to December's Duma elections, the union will send
out questionnaires to candidates asking them to declare their stand
on gun control. The results will be publicized in a tactic used
successfully by the NRA in the United States. The union's eventual
aim is to form a nonfaction group in the Duma to back their cause.

Kept afloat for now by activists' payments, the group hopes
eventually to attract the support of the gun industry.

"We will need three to four years to build up," said Polozov,
adding that there is no support at present in the Duma.

Moscow Times

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Triad
February 9, 2003, 12:46 PM
"If we want our society to be democratic, this is one of the
rights we have to have," said Andrei Nasomov, a supporter of the arms union
and an advocate for the rights of small business.
It's nice to know that communism didn't give everyone over there brain damage.

Blackhawk
February 9, 2003, 01:01 PM
The good news is just that some of them are starting to think. Growing up in a socialist society where the state thinks for you, and then finding yourself responsible for doing it yourself could be quite a shock....

Hkmp5sd
February 9, 2003, 01:14 PM
Maybe we could trade Diane Frankenstien and her fellow democrats for some these guys.

TallPine
February 9, 2003, 02:14 PM
Maybe we could trade Diane Frankenstien and her fellow democrats for some these guys.

No trade necessary - the Russians can have her and her friends for free. :D

And she would be so much happier over there where there is strict gun control and she could be "safe" ... :neener:

Selfdfenz
February 9, 2003, 02:32 PM
"The union also says the right to bear arms would cut crime
figures rather than boost them, citing recent increases in gun crime in
Britain and Australia since the introduction of tighter gun control."


Great googly-moogly! I just know I've heard that somewhere before.


"Although more than 6 million guns are legally registered
nationwide, they are used in only 1,000 out of the 5,000 to 7,000 crimes
involving guns annually, said Valery Polozov, an expert with the State Duma's
Security Committee and a supporter of the union"


Only 5-7 k crimes a year and 1 in 5-7 crimes involving a gun involves a legal one? I doubt those numbers.

The mob alone probably does that much crime.

MicroBalrog
February 10, 2003, 09:14 AM
A) He might have been misquoted.
B) Most of Russia's violent crimes, and particularly murders, are not committed by guns but by makeshift weapons (like knives and hammers). The USSR actually did prevent criminals from getting guns - but when they dug up the archives in 1991, it turned out they still had 30-50% more murders than the USA.

TallPine
February 10, 2003, 10:14 AM
Most of Russia's violent crimes, and particularly murders, are not committed by guns but by makeshift weapons (like knives and hammers).

Do you mean to say that I could get killed by someone who doesn't even have a gun?

Golleeeee! Who would uv thunk it .....?

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