Putin Tasks Officials to Tighten Rules for Gun Ownership in Russia After School Shooting

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Tuesday's school shooting "has shaken" the country and ordered the government to revise school security as well as tighten control over civilian gun ownership.

Nine people were killed, including seven students and two school workers, when a gunman attacked a school in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. More than 20 were hospitalized with injuries.

Putin said on Thursday that in order to prevent attacks like this, authorities must "seriously raise the requirements for civilian fun owners and tighten control over civil gun circulation."

"The tragedy has definitely shaken all of us," Putin said, speaking at a meeting with government officials via video link. "All of Russia...stands with Tatarstan, with Kazan residents, in the difficult days."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Russian School Shooting Shakes Nation
People lay flowers and toys near a school Thursday after a shooting on Tuesday in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, on May 13, 2021. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the shooting "has shaken" the country and ordered the government to revise school security as well as tighten control over civilian gun ownership. Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

Three wounded children remain in grave condition, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told Putin at the Thursday's meeting.

The authorities gave no motive as to why Ilnaz Galyaviyev, 19, who was arrested in the shooting, carried out the attack at the school he reportedly used to attend. He appeared in court Wednesday, charged with murder, and was ordered to pre-trial detention for two months. Officials said he legally owned a firearm and exhibited erratic behavior after the arrest.

"Decisions here need to be well-founded, and definitely tough," the Russian president said, adding that officials granting gun ownership permits need to be held accountable for their actions as well.

Putin ordered the head of Russia's National Guard to put together a proposal on how to change gun ownership regulations.

The president also said that the tragedy in Kazan highlighted problems with school security, and tasked the government with introducing a unified security and anti-terror protocol in Russian schools.

Attacks on schools are rare in Russia. The deadliest school attack in Russia took place in 2004 in the city of Beslan, when Islamic militants took more than 1,000 people hostage for several days. The siege ended in gunfire and explosions, leaving 334 dead, more than half of them children.

In 2018, a teenager killed 20 people at his vocational school before killing himself in the Crimean city of Kerch. In the wake of that attack, Putin ordered authorities to tighten control over gun ownership.

Guns are tightly restricted in Russia. Civilians over 18 can obtain permits for hunting or sports firearms after medical checks. It is illegal to own handguns, guns that shoot in bursts or that have magazines with more than a 10-cartridge capacity.

Most of the measures to tighten gun control proposed after the 2018 rampage—such as raising the minimum age for gun possession, more frequent medical checks for obtaining or renewing a gun permit, and stricter punishments for gun violations—were never implemented.

In particular, a suggestion that people who have a license for firearms should notify authorities about their travel raised an outcry and was quietly scrapped, along with a proposal to raise the minimal age for gun ownership from 18 to 21.

National Guard head Victor Zolotov once again proposed raising the minimum age for gun possession from 18 to 21 at Thursday's government meeting. He also suggested introducing psychological tests for those seeking to obtain a firearm and barring private clinics from issuing medical certificates needed for a gun permit.

Ilyas Galyaviev Suspect in School Shooting
Ilnaz Galyaviev, the suspect in the shooting at School No. 175 in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, is seen inside a defendants' cage during his remand hearing at the Sovetsky district court in Kazan on May 12, 2021. Natalia Kolesnikova/Getty Images