The cult of weapons in the United States is growing amid endless tragedies

It is better for Russian lawmakers to avoid the American experience with the legalization of “weapons”

Most Americans do not know about Russian legislation on weapons – they do not know their own Because there is none on a national scale, there is just a patchwork quilt of local laws and regulations. But if anyone in the New World, tired of the gun-up chaos, found out about the restrictive measures being taken by the Russian authorities, he would probably be jealous. In the United States, photography in everyday life requires more and more lives (last year – 43 thousand) and politicians on both sides are less and less willing to address this issue.

Photo: Alexey Merinov

The reasons are clear enough. First, the millions of dollars that the arms lobby pumps into US policy work against restrictive measures. (There is elemental corruption under the fig leaf of lobbying.) Second, American voters do not have enough mass support to fight arms – many people, especially those living inland and poorly educated, still believe in the myth of the sanctity of the inviolability of the Second Amendment. . This myth is eagerly promoted by arms propagandists, but even without them, tens of millions of Americans are ardent supporters of free arms ownership.

The second amendment, adopted in the 18th century, dealt with the right of citizens to arms in order to create an armed militia: after all, there was no regular army or police at the time. This amendment should have been repealed a long time ago, but that is not happening and I do not think it will be in a hundred years. Even a seemingly obvious thing, such as a ban on the sale of automatic weapons, has no chance of success (it was banned from 1994 to 2004, but the US Congress did not extend the ban).

According to Steven Gutovsky, an weapons expert in American politics, the biggest reason for the lack of reform in this area in The Atlantic is the cult of weapons deeply rooted in the minds of Americans. The love of a large part of the American population for weapons plays, he emphasizes, an even more important role than the corrupt lobbying of the National Rifle Association (NRA). In recent years, NRAs have faced financial problems, are on the verge of bankruptcy and have spent less money than before to promote the Second Amendment and bribe politicians to maintain this constitutional anachronism. However, the national regulator is able to organize a stream of demand letters from voters to congressmen and senators. And one such letter from a voter in his “home” district outweighs 100 letters from other parts of the country, says Philip Jarney, a member of the NRA board quoted by Gutovsky.

Corrupt politicians only think about how to get re-election for the next term at all costs and stay at the state trough; they have no shame or compassion. None of the endless tragedies associated with shooting at home have led them to pass restrictive laws – not even to shoot in Las Vegas in 2017, when a madman fired from his hotel room window at the crowd below; used 24 weapons, including 14 machine guns (!), and sent 58 people to another world, wounding another 411.

There have been an incredible number of shooting episodes at home in America with many victims – here are just a few:

✔ 1999, Columbine, Colorado: 15 killed (12 of whom were high school students).

✔ 2012, Newtown, Connecticut: 28 dead (26 of them elementary school students).

✔ 2018, Parkland, Florida: 17 high school students shot. In the same year, another 10 high school students were killed in a shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

The enormous list of such tragedies includes shootings in schools, universities, offices, shopping malls, parks … Psychopaths come every day armed with guns, carbines, machine guns and other deadly equipment, which they most often obtained legally. In downtown New York, police detained an Ohio guy in the subway who had a Kalashnikov assault rifle with a live ammunition buckle in his bag. The guy was really confused, “What's going on? I bought the weapon legally, it is registered! “

There are many places in the States where, unlike New York, you can not only simply buy a weapon, but you are also allowed to carry it – somewhere hidden, somewhere open. President Obama once came to Arizona to speak at a rally. As expected, the Secret Service set a security perimeter around the presidential address. And so the gallant men with machine guns on their shoulders approach the secret service agents and demand that they be let into the cordon. They say, “Under federal law, this is not allowed.”

Aggressive psychopaths, dangerous to society, of course, always find a murder weapon, but a firearm in their hands increases the risk many times over. For example, the next day in Norway, someone killed five people with a bow and arrow. For comparison: in Norway 10 years ago, far-right fanatic Anders Breivik first detonated a makeshift bomb, killed eight and then fired from parabels and carbines, and killed 69 (!) People.

He acquired the weapon, allegedly for sports and hunting purposes, about a year before the terrorist attack. In view of this, the provisions of the Law “Amending the Federal Law” on Weapons “and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation”, signed by President Putin on June 28 this year, seem quite reasonable: “Citizens of Russia Federation to acquire weapons for the first time, two years possession, it is prohibited to acquire, store and use firearms with more than two barrels or a magazine (drum). “

Common sense is clearly present in the changes that are now to be introduced additionally into the arms legislation of the Russian Federation. The bill, prepared by the Russian Guard, states, among other things, that all those who wish to have a weapons license will be screened by experts from the FSB and the Interior Ministry. If the inspection shows an “increased risk of violation of citizens' rights and freedoms, a threat to public security”, the person concerned may be refused permission.

In America, there is also an FBI inspection of people who want to obtain weapons. But as Giffords reports on its website, the law leaves extremely dangerous loopholes through which criminals and the mentally ill can acquire firearms. (Giffords, which is pushing for tighter arms control, was founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It was shot in the head in 2011 when an armed briefcase killed six and injured 13 people at a rally where she spoke.)

There are many states in the United States where only licensed arms dealers are required to submit buyer information to the FBI for verification. If someone sells weapons through the website or from a trade fair stand, the seller does not have to verify the buyer. From these “free” states, weapons easily migrate to “non-free” states, although the law prohibits the transportation of weapons across state borders without special permission. Of course, criminals don't care. And here is the result: 80% of the weapons used for criminal purposes were purchased from unlicensed dealers.

And here is another, in my view important provision of the legislative innovations proposed in the Russian Federation: Based on the conclusions of the security services, the National Guard will be able not only to refuse to issue a permit to possess weapons, but also to deprive already issued. At the same time, it is necessary that those who do not meet the requirements be deprived not only of licenses, but of real “suitcases”. Withdrawal from private possession of weapons is possible, as shown by the experience of Australia after the 1996 tragedy. Subsequently, 35 people were killed and 28 injured in Port Arthur, Tasmania, and the Australian Parliament immediately passed a law tightening rules on the purchase and registration of firearms. weapons. Possession of automatic weapons was completely banned and was forcibly confiscated from the population (the government paid compensation for legally acquired “weapons”).

In the field of weapons control, the main thing is to stay away from American experience. The states are unique in this respect: according to statistics from the Geneva Institute for International Research and Development, in 2018, there were 120 “weapons” per 100 U.S. citizens. The Russian indicator was an order of magnitude smaller – 12 per 100 people. We will try to keep this gap.


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