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Making a link between U.S. gun sales and “global instability,” Moscow has lent its support to American gun-control advocates.
Russia supports restrictions on U.S. gun ownership, according to official sources, pointing out that after the events of Sept. 11 gun sales in the United States increased.
The blame for increased gun sales, according to Moscow and anti-gun activists, lies with gun manufacturers.
“American firearms manufacturers saw their chance at profiting from the tragedy of people scared of threats from international terrorists,” Moscow declared. Asserting that “a nationwide campaign has been launched to advertise pistols and guns,” Moscow referred to a recent press conference held to “draw attention to gun makers’ marketing efforts.” The event included participation by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice.
The statements were reported by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.
The broadcast referred to two instances of the criminal use of firearms in the U.S. – a shooting in Indiana and the arrest of an individual for illegal possession of weapons near the White House – and declared that the crimes were “facts testifying to the spread of small arms in the country.”
Moscow also constructed a strained connection between terrorists and gun-sales campaigns following 9-11. After noting that the U.S. State Department has threatened to deport aliens connected with some 39 organizations suspected of assisting terrorist groups, the link was made to gun sales.
“There are still a large number of people in the United States who could use the gun-sales campaign for criminal purposes,” Moscow reasoned, and then called for “certain measures inside the United States, which would obstruct the terrorist activity.”
Observers note that, since using weapons for criminal purposes is – by definition – illegal, Moscow’s reference to “certain measures inside the United States” translates into restrictions on gun ownership for U.S. citizens.
The sale of a “United We Stand” 9-millimeter pistol – patterned after those used by U.S. military personnel – by the U.S. division of the Italian arms maker Beretta irked both Moscow and participants in the anti-gun news conference.
Beretta’s promise to pay a portion of the sale of each pistol to survivors and relatives of the Sept. 11 attacks was particularly irritating to the gun-control advocates.
Moscow cited remarks from firearms opponent Aron who condemned Beretta’s contribution offer, stating that “we shouldn’t seek to help the victims of one senseless tragedy by increasing the likelihood of more senseless tragedies.”
Moscow added that “the spread of small arms causes concern in many countries,” and referred to a recent conference in the Russian capital linking “global instability with the spread of small arms.”
The anti-gun activists with whom Moscow found close agreement are strengthening their efforts and are attempting to make the anti-gun movement into a youth crusade.
Aron’s group, the Alliance for Justice, has opened a new website, Gun Industry Watch, dedicated to monitoring the “gun industry and the National Rifle Association.”
The new anti-gun group proclaims itself to be “a new student watchdog network” that will examine “the manufacturing, marketing and sale of guns.” The group promises to “take direct action aimed at gun makers and the gun lobby,” including “exposing and boycotting corporate partners and sponsors of the gun lobby.”
Gun Industry Watch claims that it is the “fastest growing student network in the country.”
Moscow’s connection of U.S. gun sales to problems of “global stability” are not new. In late July, the U.N. Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons concluded its deliberations.
Due to substantial U.S. pressure, the conference refrained from issuing a global call for “regulation on the ownership of small arms.”
Observers note that many of the nations at the conference have placed severe small arms restrictions on their populations, and many of these same governments – as well as the leaders of these governments themselves – are regularly accused of murder, fraud and intimidation of their defenseless citizens.