Moscow: Exam to be required for firearms

The goal of the exam is to explain to people the correct use of personal arms.

Becoming a gun owner – for hunting, civil use, or self-defense – will now be only possible after passing an examination – a process similar to the one a person undergoes to obtain their driver’s license, for example. The new rule has been designed for those coming to a police station for the first time to apply for a gun: gas or traumatic.

This is the first time such exams are being administered in Moscow. And, that is understandable: the capital – is the most armed city in the country, where 446,000 civil gun owners, who own more than 574,000 varieties of guns are registered. More than 32,000 of these owners possess rifles and 213,000 – smoothbore firearms. In total, there are about 5 million guns registered in Russia.

Their number continues to increase annually by 5-6%. The number of crimes in which these guns are used is also increasing.

Most often, these are spontaneous rather than premeditated crimes – triggered by emotions or simple carelessness – accidents, so to speak. Last year, 32 criminal cases were filed in the capital – three of which included murder.

So as to avoid such “accidents” or “foolishness” in the future, these exams have been introduced for new gun owners.

According to Nikolay Boev, head of the Organization Administration of License Issuing and Control of Private Investigation Services and Security under the Main Department of Internal Affairs in Moscow, the main objective in having these exams is to explain to people the proper ways of using their personal arsenal, as well as, of course, the penalties they will face for noncompliance with firearm regulations. In essence, the police are trying to protect the people from their own ignorance.

In the great scheme of things, these penalties are divided into two categories. One – deals with the use of weapons. The license applicant will have to convince the examiner of his clear understanding, for example, of what self-defense is. Say, if one were attacked with a knife or a gun, if their home was being broken into by an armed individual – then, surely, their life is in danger and they may, if not must, shoot. But, if a person is simply being asked for a cigarette, when he suddenly senses something is out of the ordinary and opens fire – that would be crossing the line. The same goes for opening fire in restaurants, gunfire “showdowns” on the streets and simply during family quarrels.

The other part of essential knowledge – is properly storing weapons. The so-called self-defense firearms – tubeless, gas, and traumatic weapons – are misplaced most frequently. This happens 70% of the time. Gun, hunting rifle, and specialized weapons stores carry a rich variety of such “toys” – more than 15 various models. Many buy them because they are in style. Soon, they get accustomed to having them, and the pleasant felling of being armed – disappears. Then, guns are more and more often forgotten in glove compartments and carried in purses rather than being placed in shoulder holsters, which is the proper place to carry handguns. And, that is how they get lost. In the worst case, they fall into the hands of criminals who adjust them for use with live ammunition. Last year, 134 guns were reported stolen in Moscow.

Moscow’s licensing agencies developed eight sets of tests with 10 questions in each. The applicant pulls out a list of questions and answers them. He is allowed only one mistake. If he makes more mistakes, he does not pass the exam and has to return the following day. Last year, 375 people were denied the right to use arms due to their poor knowledge of their proper handling.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports:

Firearm licenses are not issued to people:

— who have been convicted for premeditated crimes;

— who have repeatedly committed administrative violations in the course of the year;

— who do not have a permanent address.

A license will be denied if the applicant fails to ensure compliance with the conditions for storing the weapon, which include having a lockable safe or a metallic storage box at their permanent place of residence.

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