Civil Weapons Union to initiate referendum on the right to have firearms

The Civil Weapons Union intends to initiate the holding of an All-Russian referendum on the issue of giving the citizens the right to carry firearms and to have short-barreled weapons. This was announced on Saturday at the founding congress of the Union. In the congress participants' opinion, such a referendum might take place in 2003.

According to representative of the Union's organizational committee Anastasiya Krylova, the collection of signatures in support of the referendum has started.

The congress participants believe that the right to carry and possess arms should be granted to all able-bodied citizens for them "to efficiently defend their lives and property." Reminding the audience that Article 45 of the Russian Constitution guarantees the right to self-defense to all Russian citizens, Krylova said there could be no effective self-defense without firearms. "With nine out of ten attacks happening outside of home, restrictions on the use of weapons for protection of life and property almost brings the constitutional guarantees of the right to self-defense to naught," she thinks.

The congress participants approved on Saturday the agenda of work for 2003. It includes not only work with legislative bodies to change the laws, but also educative work with the population and the development of the culture of handling weapons.

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