Russian State Duma raises age requirement for purchasing firearms to 21 years old

On June 16, the Russian State Duma adopted a law raising the age requirement for gun ownership for the purposes of hunting and self-defense from 18 to 21 years old.

Russian citizens who have completed military service or serve “in state paramilitary organizations” and hold military ranks, special ranks, or civil service ranks will be able to purchase firearms before the age of 21.

In addition, professional hunters, members of small indigenous peoples who are involved in “traditional practices in their traditional place of residence,” and “employees of legal entities with special statutory objectives” can purchase firearms from the age of 18. 

The State Duma also adopted legislation strengthening punishments for illegal arms trafficking. The illegal acquisition, transfer, storage, transportation, shipment, or carrying of weapons will be punishable by between three and five years in prison (currently, it’s up to four years), while the illegal sale of firearms will be punishable by between five and eight years in prison (it’s currently up to two years). The illegal sale of weapons by an organized group will carry prison terms ranging from 10 to 15 years (currently it’s between two and six years).

In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a tightening of civilian gun laws after a mass shooting at a school in Kazan.

The Russian authorities have proposed raising the age requirement for gun ownership from 18 to 21 years old in the past. The Russian National Guard put forward this proposal after a school shooting in Kerch in 2018. Corresponding bills were introduced to the State Duma, however, as Meduza reported, the Russian government gave these initiatives negative reviews and they were never implemented.

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