Tatarstan proposes a five-year barrier for 'serious' weapons

Deputies of the republic have prepared a number of legislative amendments to prevent armed attacks

Tatarstan proposes a five-year barrier for 'serious' weapons
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The State Council of Tatarstan has again analysed the cases of school shooting in Russia and prepared proposals on how to avoid them. They returned to the initiative of 2018 to raise the age limit for gun ownership from 21 years, issued immediately after the incident with the Kerch shooter. Who knew that after just three years this would happen in home region. At the same time, new offers have been added to the previous ones. “We are creating an additional barrier through indirect signs: if something is wrong with a person, then when he goes to get a new weapon, some 'trace' will already be recorded behind him, which can alert him if he wants to buy a semi-automatic weapon, a more serious weapon," Yury Kamaltynov, the deputy speaker of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, explained the essence of the legislative initiative.

Young people should be allowed to carry weapons from the age of 21

The Committee of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan on Law and Order, under the auspices of which several working groups worked to tighten the federal legislation on arms trafficking in the country, presented the final version of the amendments. They were developed at the instruction of President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov in connection with the tragic events that occurred on May 11 in the gymnasium No. 175 in Kazan.

According to the chairperson of the committee, Alexander Chubarov, the committee has prepared 5 draft bills concerning the tightening of the conditions for the purchase of weapons and the responsibility of citizens for their use. However ,the “entrance control” for the purchase of weapons — a medical examination of the applicant — is not regulated by law. The admission of citizens to obtain weapons through medical examinations is regulated by regulations that have become an empty bureaucratic formality. For this reason, the proposals of the working groups to adjust the rules that determine, first of all, the mental health of the applicant for weapons were set out in a direct appeal to Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin.

According to the chairperson of the committee, Alexander Chubarov, the committee has prepared 5 draft bills concerning the tightening of the conditions for the purchase of weapons and the responsibility of citizens for their use. Photo: tatarstan.ru

First of all, the deputies made changes to the fundamental law “On weapons”, proposing to raise the age from 18 to 21 years. It gives the right to purchase the simplest types of weapons — gas, smoothbore long-barreled firearms, sports, hunting, signal, and bladed weapons intended for wearing with the folk costumes of the peoples of the Russian Federation or the Cossack uniform. It is believed that when using this weapon, it is impossible to kill a large number of people in a short time. Raising the age to 21 is not new for parliamentarians, as in 2018 they already submitted this proposal to the State Duma, but it was rejected.

This year, immediately after the shooting incident at the Kazan school, they returned to the idea. In particular, Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova proposed to raise the age to 21. The chairperson of the committee added that during the discussion in the working groups, there were ideas about a sharp increase in the age to 27 years, but this proposal was not included in the final version of the amendments.

This year, immediately after the shooting incident at the Kazan school, they returned to the idea. In particular, Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova proposed to raise the age to 21. Photo: Maksim Platonov

For the military — from the age of 18

To avoid discrepancies with the rules of military service, a significant reservation was made. According to the chairperson of the committee, Alexander Chubarov, these age restrictions do not apply to those who perform military service, as well as those who belong to state paramilitary organisations and have military ranks or justiciary class ranks:

“They retain the right to purchase civilian firearms of limited destruction until they reach the age of 21," he said.

5 years for verification

Tatarstan deputies went beyond the establishment of the age limit and proposed to introduce new restrictions for the purchase of rifled weapons.

As you know, the smoothbore weapon with a rifled barrel of Hatsan Escort PS brand was used by the Kazan “shooter”, Ilnaz Galyavin, and even earlier — the Kerch killer of his classmates. It is believed that the use of such weapons in the hands of mentally ill people leads to mass casualties. Smoothbore long-barreled weapons have a long range, high firing density and firing rate. Now it is easy to buy it from the age of 18 — it is enough to present a hunting permit.

According to the head of the committee, Alexander Chubarov, to purchase a smooth-bore long-barreled firearm, the applicant must have 5 years of experience in possession of pistols. Photo: tatarstan.ru

To restrict access for its widespread acquisition, Tatarstan parliamentarians proposed to enshrine a kind of qualification barrier in the federal law “On Weapons”. According to the head of the committee, Alexander Chubarov, to purchase a smooth-bore long-barreled firearm, the applicant must have 5 years of experience in pistol possession:

“To purchase a firearm smoothbore long-barreled weapon for self-defence, a citizen must have owned a firearm of limited destruction (for example, a pistol, revolver, gunless device of domestic production) for at least 5 years," he said.

According to him, during this time, it is possible to gain some experience, which will make it possible to purchase more serious weapons.

“If something is wrong with a person”

Deputy Chairperson of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan Yury Kamaltynov explained why it is proposed to establish an additional barrier to the age limit of 21 years: “Why do we propose to set a five-year term? If a person has any problems, they will be revealed during this time. For example, he will get caught on the use of alcohol, drugs, in a fight. I'm not talking about him hanging around with a gun. And all this will be recorded (in the databases of the ministry of internal affairs, Rosgvardiya). A five-year period is also necessary for doctors who conduct a mental examination when issuing a certificate for the purchase of weapons.”

“When we talked to doctors, they said that the changes in the psyche occurs simultaneously. It is impossible to just reveal it in one visit. We are creating an additional barrier through indirect signs: if something is wrong with a person, then when he goes to get a new weapon, some 'trace' will already be recorded behind him, which can alert him if he wants to buy a semi-automatic weapon, a more serious weapon," Yury Kamaltynov, the deputy speaker of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, added.

Deputy Chairperson of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan Yury Kamaltynov explained why it is proposed to establish an additional barrier to the age limit of 21 years. Photo: tatarstan.ru

The head of the committee added that for 5 years of handling weapons, its owner does not lose skills, and if they are positive, then there will be no difficulties when reissuing a license.

This norm is proposed to be introduced in the Article 13 of the Federal Law “On Weapons”. These amendments will be submitted for discussion at the regular session on June 11, and Igor Bikeev, a member of the committee, has been charged with presenting them.

Besides, the parliamentarians propose to tighten the administrative responsibility for violating the rules of arms trafficking. For example, for possession of weapons in a drunken state and for disobeying law enforcement officials, they will have to pay a fine of 5,000 rubles instead of the previous 500 rubles. It is proposed to confiscate when carrying a weapon under the influence of alcohol. As an example, they cited the story in Yekaterinburg, where a former police officer in a drunken state opened fire on citizens.

Combining the bases of the ministry of internal affairs, Rosgvardiya, and ministry of healthcare

But the biggest problem lies in the system of access to weapons, which has ceased to “filter” mentally ill people, Tatarstan deputies noted. In the appeal prepared for Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, they proposed to strengthen interdepartmental cooperation between security forces and doctors.

“It is proposed to create a system of interaction between law enforcement agencies and medical institutions by introducing a single automated accounting of information about persons who have weapons or claim to receive them. It will store data on the presence of diseases in citizens that are contraindicated for the possession of weapons," Chubarov said.

These amendments will be submitted for discussion at the regular session on June 11, and Igor Bikeev (on photo — in the centre), a member of the committee, has been charged with presenting them. Photo: tatarstan.ru

He clarified that it is necessary to combine the bases of the ministry of internal affairs, Rosgvardiya, and ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan, so that “the traces of every manifestation of an unstable psyche are visible”. If within 5 years he has not shown any “traces”, then he gets the right to purchase weapons for self-defence.

At the same time, it is proposed to make the medical examination more in-depth and thorough. “It is necessary to review the current procedure for persons applying for the purchase of weapons: to make it mandatory to conduct in-depth mental testing using standardised methods," Alexander Chubarov said, adding that the study should be similar to what is done when applying for military service.

The commission of psychiatrists, narcologists and neurologists, whose competence includes the treatment and dispensary observation of patients with initial manifestations of epilepsy and other forms of organic brain lesions, convulsive paroxysms, as well as patients suffering from the initial stage of Alzheimer's, must study the questionable results of checking the mental state of the applicant for weapons, the letter says to Mishustin.

Besides, it is proposed to study programmes for training citizens to handle weapons, increasing the number of academic hours, as well as changing the rules for obtaining a hunting permit.

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Tatarstan