Conflict & Justice

Gun Violence: Russia's Dichotomy

This story is a part of

Human Needs

This story is a part of

Human Needs


Many Russian criminals carry automatic weapons, says Fred Weir of the Monitor, such as this 9-mm SR-3 Vikhr (whirlwind) rifle, which comes with a folding stock for concealed carry. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

As President Obama pushes Congress to pass measures to curb gun violence, The World continues to explore how the issue of gun control plays out in other countries.

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Russia has an acute violence problem.

The homicide rate there is about twice that of the United States.

And yet in Russia it's illegal to own a handgun privately, and getting a rifle for hunting "is a bureaucratic nightmare," according to Fred Weir.

Weir, Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, says knives, axes and other weapons are used instead of guns.

Much violence is domestic, between spouses, often fueled by widespread heavy drinking.

"Russia is an extremely violent society, just below the surface."

He says one takeaway that US legislators should grasp is that if a culture is violent, there will be violence.

"Americans, when they debate this subject, don't recognize and won't admit that they too live in an extremely violent society."

"I'm Canadian," Weir adds, "and the US homicide rate is seven times higher than what it is in Canada. Never mind what weapons people chose to do it with."