Legislators, please check your guns

May 04, 1994|By Will Englund | Will Englund,Moscow Bureau of The Sun

MOSCOW -- Starting May 15, every member of the Georgian Parliament will be given a government-issue pistol, but with one condition attached: Legislators must check their guns at the door when Parliament is in session.

It sounds a little like the Wild West, except that in the mountainous Caucasian republic of Georgia they don't have any sheriffs.

To say Georgia is a trigger-happy country is like saying that Iowa has a thing about corn. In fact, it's probably fair to say that guns are carried by most adults in Georgia, a country where the writ of law doesn't amount to much, if anything.

The Itar-Tass news agency, reporting from the capital, Tbilisi, said yesterday that at least 30 members of Parliament were already packingtheir own firearms, others were showing up with armed bodyguards, and the leaders of the legislature had become worried about the prospect of a shoot-out on the floor of the chamber.

Last Thursday several deputies almost got into a fistfight, the news agency said, and in Georgia when the fists start flying the bullets usually aren't far behind. So, as a matter of parliamentary courtesy, the idea was hatched to let every member have a free gun -- but, please, invective only inside the hall.

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