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Duma approves tougher fines for shooting at weddings

Duma approves tougher fines for shooting at weddings
The Russian Lower House has passed a bill introducing tougher punishment for using firearms outside gun ranges, apparently targeting the practice of some ethnic groups who celebrate important events by shooting guns in the air.

Violation of the ban is punished by fines of up to 50 thousand roubles (about $1600) and by confiscation of the firearms and ammunition. Under the draft law police have the right to annul the violator’s gun license and issue a new one only after a period of between 18 months and 3 years.

If the felony is committed by a group of people or when police find that the shooter was intoxicated the fine is raised to 100,000 roubles (about $3,100).

The bill needs to be approved by the Upper House and signed by the President. If it passes the new rules will come into force on July 30 this year.

The legislative move followed a string of incidents of shooting at various celebrations, mostly weddings. In September 2012 people celebrating a wedding opened fire on Tverskaya Street in the center of Moscow, prompting a major police operation. In this case the shooter was fined 2000 roubles (about $65).

A much grizzlier incident took place last week in South Russia’s Dagestan – there a local policemen turned himself in and confessed that he accidentally killed another policeman when shooting out of a car window during a wedding procession. The investigation into this case continues.