Russia Legalizes “Self-Defense” as Valid Reason for Gun Permit

Russia has clarified some of its rules regarding firearms licensees – added to the list of valid reasons for carrying a weapon this week was “self-defense”, a purpose not widely recognized in some other European countries. From Russia Today:

In an amendment to its tough gun control laws, the Russian government eases restrictions, allowing citizens to carry licensed weapons for the purposes of ‘self-defense.’

Until now Russian gun enthusiasts were only permitted to carry firearms for hunting or target shooting after obtaining a license through the Interior Ministry. Russian gun licenses are to be renewed every five years, and applicants face strict background checks and are required to take gun safety courses.

The addendum to the law now lists self-defense as a legally acceptable reason for carrying a weapon.

However, a 2011 Levada poll found that 81 percent of Russians opposed easing the existing gun regulations.

In spite of its restrictive gun laws, Russia has seen its share gun violence. In 2012, a 30 year old lawyer opened fire on his colleagues at a pharmaceutical company, killing six. Just last year, 15-year-old straight A student, Sergey Gordeyev, killed a teacher and a police officer after taking 29 students hostage.

The government’s press service underscored that carrying a weapon will remain prohibited at educational institutions, establishments which operate at night and serve alcohol, and mass public gatherings such as street demonstrations or protests. The legislation also forbids carrying a weapon while under the influence of alcohol.

The law broadly defines self-defense weapons, including smoothbore long barrelled guns, pistols, revolvers, and other firearms, as well as Tasers, and devices equipped with teargas. Long barrelled fire arms and edged weapons are, however, forbidden by the law.

Self-defense has been officially recognized as a constitutionally protected use of firearms in the United States at the federal level since the 2008 Heller vs. D.C. Supreme Court decision. In Russia, anyone seeking to buy a firearm must get a license, and some kinds of weapons – including handguns – are illegal entirely. It’s my understanding that this change only straightens out two parts of the law that are not in agreement with each other, and makes it legitimate to get a firearms permit for self-defense. However, multiple articles make it unclear exactly what change took place, so perhaps our Russian speaking readers can assist in understanding exactly what will and will not change for Russian firearms enthusiasts.

H/T, WeaponsMan.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Kovacs Jeno

    You should check this “news” before publishing with Max Popenker.

    I think it is FALSE information spread across the web. And even without any Russian knowledge you should seee: the text is contrary to itself.

    As far as I can understand with my limited Russian knowledge: practically NOTHING has changed.

    ONLY non-lethal tarumatic handguns (“OOOP” in Russian nomenclature) are legal
    to concealed carry. Althought the licence is shall-issue.

    What seems new: long barrelled smoothbore guns (= shotguns) can be owned not
    only for hunting and sportshooting, but selfdefence (home defence)
    became a new “valid reason” for ownership. But still under strict
    licensing requirements.

    • I mention all of the above in my article, if you read it. One thing I’m unclear on is whether the new rule allows you to get a permit for the purpose of self defense or carry one of these less lethal devices for the purpose of self-defense if you already have a permit.

      • Kovacs Jeno

        For non-lethal handguns they have “shall-issue ccw” law since cca. 10+ years!

      • There’s not so much changes. Under Firearms Law – police should issue a license to obtain and carry less-lethal guns for self-defense. But, until now LE regulations tries to push owners of such guns to acquire additional permit to visit another city with this gun. Such requirements confronts with the main law, and this was the only reason to fix it. Additionally – now we can obtain and transport 1000 rounds without police escort. Not so much to celebrate, though.

        • Kovacs Jeno

          Alexandr: Is there any provision to obtain ownership licence for smoothbore long guns for home defence? Or this part of the news was totally false?

          • Yup, you can obtain shotgun for home defense, but since it has almost the same requirements as ‘for hunting purposes’ but doesn’t give you the right to obtain a rifle after 5 year owning experience – it’s not very popular. This was even before and nothing changed in that part.

          • Kovacs Jeno

            Thanks! Interesting to know the real facts.

          • Yup, police already issued a report that says exactly the same, nothing was changed, just a bureaucracy corrections.

          • Kovacs Jeno

            Can you give me a link for the Russian source?

      • The permit for self-defence was present before, in two forms. Long-barreled self-defence shotguns license is very limited and is, in reality, impractical (the hunting license covers it entirely). Less-lethal handguns were also present before, and were intended for and permitted to concealed carry and use for self-defence, according to law.

        • I believe this was a clarification of two conflicting laws, Ayur.

    • That’s right, there just fixing definition in law and LE orders. Until now it was a bit unclear, and some LE agencies required owners to obtain additional license to transport their less-lethal gun to another cities. Now it’s as it should be – basing on issued license.
      Another important addition to the law – a higher amount of ammunition you can obtain at once. Limit was 400rnds, now – 1000.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    Norway has same provision in its law, but good luck getting a gun for self defense.

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Most of Europe is “may issue” CCW (= practically never issue except political leaders, judges, bank directors).

    • Verner

      You forgot celebrities…

  • USMC03Vet

    Something like this would certain help Russia’s arms manufacturers.

  • Ratcraft

    YES! This will really spice up all those awesome dash cam vids!

    • Kovacs Jeno

      Except this “ccw-liberalization” is not true.

  • Kovacs Jeno

    practically no one have permit for real (metallic bullet) handgun in Russia.

    • I think this mostly applies to the less lethal devices.

    • glocksky & wesson

      not true. i saw many pistols and subamchine guns and full auto carbines carried legally in russia.. HOWEVER.. these are people who were a, in the caucasus :D.. or
      b, of influence.. friends in the military or police. police or militay must endorse you and endorse the firearm they provide to you.. for example i worked from a dagestani company the owner had legally a stechkin. mp40, fullauto ak and several other guns . makarov . mauser .25 auto . cz75… however all were endorse to him by the police.. and he was cautious on where outside of the caucasus he would carry them for example makarov was ok in mosco .. but mp40 was not going to be .. “believable” generaly outiside of the north caucasus he carried in the car just a makarov and shotgun.
      poeple with these weapons were former police. influencial criminals. former army politicians .. ect but there would be 100000s of people with handguns in russia.. (you can buy 40 calibre 10mm 9mm 9mm makarov 25 auto ect in gun shops 🙂 so somebody is using it. hwoever for legally owner handguns in russia there is probably 40 ilegal ones, there is also a “sporting pistol permit” for target shooting ..

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Can someone tell me what those tiny 2″-barreled-shotgun-looking things are in the picture? Are they just flare guns or what?

  • Jim_Macklin

    Will Obama get a clue?

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Yes, OSA PB-4, cca. 12-ga rubber bullet gun, 4-shot, electronic ignited “barelless” guns.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Very interesting — thank you for the link. The PB-4 appears to be very well made. Has anyone on TFB had a chance to fire one?

    • I own it’s closest cousine – Strazhnik. Pretty the same gun, just 2 chambers instead of 4.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thank you for the reply, Alexandr — it was very kind of you to share this. I will add that it would be interesting to hear about your personal impressions of the Strazhnik and its performance ( presumably, that of the PB-4 is nearly identical ).

        By reading the discussions among yourself, Kovacs Jeno, Zugunder, Toms, Chris22lr and Sergey, I have learned quite a lot. Many thanks to all of you, and keep it coming!

        • Well, i suppose it’s a best choice in our situation. It’s pretty cheap, has almost no metals, which means – very lightweight, and as bonus – most of metal detectors ignore it. But only 2 rounds, no barrel – it uses its own cartrige as barrel, so – accuracy even at 5m not very great. But it kicks. Other less-lethal guns rely on pretty light rubber bullets with high velocity, but it’s not very good in terms of reliability, inner, outer and terminal ballistics as well. 18×45 cartrige uses very heavy bullet, sometimes even steel ball under rubber. So it have a very good impulse under the same energy.

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Thanks, it clarifies the issue!

    “Today, the Interior Ministry has denied recent media information about that in Russia will be allowed to carry weapons of any kind. It came about after the Russian government approved changes to the “Rules for circulation of civilian and service weapons and ammunition on the territory of the Russian Federation”, allowing citizens with the necessary documents to carry weapons for self-defense, TASS reported.

    As noted in the press center of the Ministry made to the rules of the turnover traumatic weapon changes are only technical in nature. The Interior Ministry added that wearing a traumatic weapons for self-defense was allowed before the presence of relevant documents.

    “Approval of a number of media that allegedly the Russian government allowed citizens to carry any weapon are incorrect – a spokesman said. – Wearing citizens of certain types of civil weapons with proper permits, as defined in the “Rules turnover civilian and service weapons and ammunition on the territory of the Russian Federation”, was allowed before. Amendments to these rules did in fact do not change and are clarifying nature, that is, the document simply brought into conformity with the law “On Weapons”, – said the agency.”

  • Actually, it’s a little different. There is a self-defence permit for long-barreled shotguns (as there was for years): it is very limited, and does not allow for carrying or even unrestricted transport. Rubber bullet pistols are regulated as before, no more, no less (legal to CC).

    As for the legislation change, THERE IS NONE. The change is in phrasing only, to synchronize two documents. Nothing has changed.