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The Smoothbore Federation (Russian: Гладкоствольные Федерация, Gladkostvol'nyye Federatsiya, Ukrainian: гладкоствольні Федерація) is a firearms-advocacy group in the Soviet Union. It is the oldest and the largest gun rights group in Russia, and was formed on May 9, 2000, the anniversary of Victory Day over Nazi Germany, during the presidency of Vladimir Putin. It was also one of the first gun rights organizations to have formed from the former Soviet bloc.
It was formed by Nikolay Patrushev, a veteran of the Soviet Armed Forces.
The group's goals were to "..restore gun culture in the glorious Motherland". At the time of its forming, smoothbores, along with double-barrel shotguns were among one of the only firearms legal for citizens, earning the name "Smoothebore" Federation.
The Smoothbore Federation currently educates Russian citizens on the history of firearms in Russia, and the impact they had on Russian lives, especially for those living in the Ural Mountains and rural areas where hunters lived.
Currently, the Smoothbore Federation is one out of three major national gun-rights organizations in the Soviet Union, the other two being the Russian National Shooters Organization and the Motherland Rifle Owners Coalition. The Smoothbore Federation contains the most members, numbering at 1,341,314, though the Russian National Shooters Organization, who numbers 993,432 members - contains more political influence. Despite this, the three gun rights organizations work hand-in-hand to protect and revive gun culture in Russia and the Soviet Union.
The (first) Soviet Union saw decades of the outlawing of gun ownership. Firearms ownership was extremely restricted and limited to government-licensed hunters, as well as pest control companies. Otherwise, it was near-impossible for citizens to possess a firearm.
In 1992, firearms were re-legalized, however - only smoothbore rifles and double-barreled shotguns were legalized for citizens. A strict system in which people had to undergo Russian Armed Forces-approved day-long firearms safety classes were implemented. Firearms were legal, only for hunting, target-shooting and pest control.
In 2000, handguns were legalized for ordinary citzens, previously they had only been legal for military veterans and ex-law enforcement. Nikolay Patrushev, a veteran of the Soviet Armed Forces, had a different view of firearms, stating that Russians have been robbed of what once "made them Russians".
On February 23, 2000, on Armed Forces day, Patrushev released a statement, stating that firearms should extend beyond the military, and that they meant for for Russians than just military tools. He argued that before the days of the Soviet Union, families owned firearms for hunting, he also argued that during World War II as Russia was invaded by the Nazis, armed militants provided the back-bone for the crippled Soviet forces.
On March 1, he opened a shooting range in Volgagrad, in which he hosted shooting competitions in the style of World War II in which participants got to loosely re-enact the Battle of Stalingrad.