- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
February 06, 2004

Armenia Armed: Republic's first gun show featured international firepower

Moving ever closer to achieving Wild West aspirations, Armenia had its first gun show last week.

Organized by the Union of Hunters and Fisherman of Armenia, the show and sale attracted about 35 to 40 to the opening out for a look or a purchase of weapons.

"Abroad, such exhibitions are being organized rather often," said Sayat Davtyan, president of the union. "In some ways this was a necessary thing for our society. People should know what companies in Armenia are dealing with specialized selling of weapons and armament and to know in general what kind of hunting weapon exists."

And Armenia's first public access gun gala was an international affair. Russia's renowned weapon factory from Tula (dating back to the time of Peter the Great) was represented, as were the Russian-made Izhmekh and Izhmash armament. The Germans offered gas pistols from Umarex and Rg Rion companies and the Italians were represented by the Voltran company. Czech Republic and Belgian weapons were available and the famous Italian Beretta ($1,600). And, of course, America was represented by Winchester. The TT, favored weapon of the Russian mafia, was on sale for $800.

Davtyan introduced the idea of gun shows to Armenia.

According to Davtyan, during Soviet times it was only the Union of Hunters and Fishermen that had a right to sell weapons. But today specialized companies are licensed to import and sale. Six such companies were on hand at last week's exhibition.

Davtyan's pavilion showcased hunting weapons, including a Tiger model carbine touted to be effective up to 800 meters. Prices at their booth ranged from $320 to $1,500.

Davtyan explained that in order to purchase a gun in Armenia, the buyer must be a member of the union and present documents to the State Police Department, after which a buyer is given permission to purchase a gun.

If a person has clean legal record, he can usually make the purchase within one day.

No license is needed for buying stun guns or tear gas, which were also available.

According to participants of the exhibition the Izh-79 pistol, at a price of 170,000 drams (about $300) is of great demand these days.

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