Ukrainian Guns by Tom Reynolds
There is a popular cartoon / meme (often seen on SCOPE’s Facebook page) that goes something like: The founders didn’t pass the 2nd Amendment because they liked hunting. They had just freed a nation. That took on more meaning with the recent events in the Ukraine.
Here are some interesting facts about gun ownership in Ukraine.
According to the Geneva Switzerland based “Small Arms Survey” of 2017, the USA is number 1 in the world with 120.5 guns per 100 people. Ukraine is ranked number 88 with 9.9 per 100 people. This includes both legal and illegal guns.
In 2017, the U.S. population was 326 million and Ukraine’s was 44 million. That equates to about 4 million firearms in Ukrainian civilian hands. (If Ukraine had the same percentage guns per person as America, they would have about 50 million guns in civilian hands. Would that have caused Putin to think a bit more before invading?)
According to the National Police of Ukraine, less than one-quarter of the 4 million are legally owned.*
Handguns are not allowed but there are a few exceptions.** (Let me guess, politicians and their friends are those exceptions.) Some exceptions get handguns that fire rubber bullets.
GunPolicy.org which is a research branch of the University of Sidney, Australia, (and not a fan of civilian gun ownership) estimated that the Ukrainian military had 7 million small arms.***
And in an example of liberal statements that seem silly, today, GunPolicy.org also stated that guns in the Ukraine were: “Inherited as an ‘unsought burden’ by a former Soviet state with no current need for it”****
Various sources report that, prior to the current emergency, civilians could legally own a semi-automatic firearm as well as a rifle or a shotgun, if you had the permit. Magazine capacity was 10 rounds. As with restricted pistol permits in the New York, Ukrainian permits had to state a purpose such as: hunting, target practice, etc.
Ukraine is what, in the USA, we call “may issue”. A SCOPE member with a friend in Western Ukraine was told by that friend “he could easily get a hunting rifle as long as you bribed the local police chief”. (Sounds like NY City!) Ukraine’s laws are described as somewhere between most of Europe’s (highly restrictive) and the USA’s (too restrictive - or too lenient if you are on the Left).
In the current Russian invasion crisis, it’s been widely reported that civilians in Kiev were given 10,000 automatic rifles. The reports have not stated how many rounds of ammunition they were given.
Handing out rifles raises a question about training to use the rifle and effectiveness if resistance is unorganized. But it is also reported that many Ukrainians are military veterans due to the Ukraine’s proximity to Russia. Wouldn’t it have been better to have wide spread legal gun use prior to the invasion, so civilians would be familiar with their firearm? In the USA, that’s covered by the 2nd Amendment.