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Russian legislators seek to tighten youth gun laws following Kerch massacre

Russian legislators seek to tighten youth gun laws following Kerch massacre
Russian legislators are floating the idea of restricting access to smooth-barrel guns for citizens under 21. The initiative follows the October massacre in the Kerch college, when an 18-year-old student killed 20 people.

The new bill has been sponsored by the deputy speaker of the Russian Lower House, MP Irina Yarovaya.

According to the proposed legislation, people aged between 18 and 21 will be required to produce more documents while seeking a smooth-barrel gun permit. The additional documents include a recommendation letter from their school or workplace, and detailed information on income and taxes. The license-seekers will be also obliged to have an additional interview with police officials.

The initiative won’t affect people older than 21, those who served in the army, or those whose “traditional lifestyle” involves hunting. Anyone already holding a valid gun license won’t be affected either. Some 15,000 people, aged below 21 years, are currently holding smooth-barrel gun licenses in Russia, according to police statistics.

The legislation has already received support from the Upper House of the Russian Parliament.

“I’m sure that the Federation Council will support this initiative. There will be discussions, yet, I believe, everyone will support it. We need to take measures to prevent the Kerch tragedy from repeating itself,” Senator Sergey Tsekov, from the Crimea region, told RIA Novosti.

The drive to tighten gun laws in Russia follows the incident in the Russian city of Kerch, where a student detonated an improvised explosive device and went on a shooting spree at his college on October 17. He killed 20 people, injured nearly 70 and subsequently committed suicide. The student used a smooth-barrel shotgun during his rampage, which he had bought legally.

READ MORE: Russians not ready for large-scale possession of guns – security chief

Restricting access to guns for people under 21 is a viable idea, since older individuals tend to have better “psychological stability,” President of the International Anti-terrorism Association Iosiph Linder believes.

“The events that led to such tragic consequences inevitably contribute to the tightening of legislation, because they expose its gaps. As for the proposed initiative, it is perfectly legitimate and reasonable,” Linder told RT.

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