The U.s. Has More Guns, But Russia Has More Murders

A worker at the Grand Okhota sportsman gun shop in Moscow on April 23.

blackmailing Russia over Syria resolution: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov By Agence France-Presse Tweet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday accused the United States of blackmailing Russia over a tough UN resolution against Syria, and said the West is blinded by the idea of regime change in the war-torn country. Our American partners are beginning to blackmail us: if Russia wont support a resolution under Chapter VII in the UN Security Council, then we will stop the work in the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Lavrov said in a Channel One interview, according to Russian agencies. He said the OPCW is about to make a decision on Syria but the process is threatened by the arrogant position of some Western partners. They need Chapter VII, which presumes applying pressure on violators of international law, including sanctions and the possibility of using force, he said. Lavrov added that Russia would be willing to send troops to Syria as part of an international presence to secure the work of experts on chemical weapons sites. We are ready to allocate our servicemen, military police, to participate in such efforts, he said, though adding that he doesnt think that large contingents are necessary military observers would be enough. Washington, Paris and London want a strongly worded resolution to ensure compliance, possibly under the UN Charters Chapter VII a move Lavrov said contradicts the landmark agreement on Syrias chemical disarmament he reached with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva on September 14. Our partners are now blinded by their ideological goal of regime change (in Syria) Lavrov added. All they talk about is that Bashar al-Assad must leave. They are only interested in proving their own superiority. Not in the goal that is guiding us, to solve the problem of chemical weapons in Syria, Lavrov said. Russias Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday that Russia would be unlikely to send elite special forces to Syria, but would readily provide specialists for securing chemical stockpiles. Lavrov on Sunday also contested Assads claim that the disarmament programme requires $1 billion (740 million euros). In Geneva we discussed the possible cost of this programme.

It’s difficult to make a direct comparison of gun homicides in the two countries because Russia doesn’t break down its murder statistics. Russian Gun Laws Russia has tough gun laws on the books. It’s illegal for Russian citizens to own automatic and semi-automatic guns. It’s possible to apply for a handgun or shotgun license, though citizens are required to provide reasons such as hunting or target shooting. Applicants face strict background checks, including criminal history, a full psychological evaluation and a medical exam. They must pass a test on firearm laws and safety. Each weapon is then registered by the police during a home visit. Police take bullet patterns, test bullets and cartridges so bullets can be matched if the gun is used in a crime. A license lasts five years, after which applicants must go through the whole process again. In spite of these laws, the country does have periodic mass shootings by people thought to be mentally ill. Last November, after a five-day drinking binge, 30-year-old lawyer Dmitry Vinogradov posted a message online referring to humanity as “compost.” Shortly after, he walked into the Moscow pharmaceutical company where he worked and opened fire, killing six colleagues and critically injuring another. He was jailed for life last week.