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article imageRussian group Right to Arms wants more liberal gun laws in Russia

By Ken Hanly     Feb 21, 2014 in Politics
Moscow - A petition with the title "My home is my fortress" launched by the Right to Arms group gathered over 100,000 signatures. The Russian parliament is required to consider the petition.
The Right to Arms organization seeks to make Russian gun laws more liberal. Their proposal is to consider any resistance by citizens to intruders inside their homes as self-defense.
Present Russian law lists only as necessary self-defense actions that aim at the protection of personal safety, or actions that could potentially threaten human lives. If an intruder is seriously injured then any charges can be lifted should the person charged show that he or she was necessarily acting in self-defense. The petition would place the burden of proof on the intruder and not the person whose house was invaded. The Right to Arms group maintains that this law would prevent cases in which persons were tried and sometimes convicted when they were simply defending themselves and their families from violent intruders.
The group argues that because killing or grievous bodily harm is regarded as a much greater offence than breaking into a home, ordinary citizens fear resisting intruders lest they be charged for doing so. The group also wants the definition of "home" to include temporary lodgings, such as hotels or cottages.
The head of the group. Maria Butina, claims to be a member of the National Rifle Association. She said that gun possession is a civil liberty. Unlike the U.S. there is in Russia no constitutional right to bear arms. However, Butina said: "What is the right to life, ingrained in our constitution, if you don't have the right to bear arms? If a person wishes to defend himself, he has no means for protection". A pro-gun site in the U.S. notes that even the Russians understand the right to bear arms.
The Russian group claims that there are 5 million civilian gun owners in Russia and about 6.4 million registered firearms. The group claims that the number of crimes committed with officially registered firearms is very small. Butina was confident that one of the lower house deputies would bring the group's prepared bill to the State Duma. Some Russians have called for tighter gun controls, especially since several mass shootings in 2013. However, Butina argued that the mass shooting in the U.S. in a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults showed that there should be guns in the schools saying: "In this shooting six teachers died, six people who could literally use only their hands to defend children, The murderer planned this knowing that no one would be armed." The National Rifle Association waited four days before making its announcement on the shooting but the Russian Right to Arms group acted within hours. The NRA statement which also emphasizes that the teachers had no guns and recommends guns in schools is on the appended video.
More about Russia, gun regulations in Russia, Maria Butina
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