Citizens Push for Gun Rights in Ukraine

courtesy kyivpost.com

Ukraine is considering rights of self defense and the legal rights to own weapons. Since the breakup of the USSR, the Soviet Empire’s former client states have been struggling with numerous issues of law, including private property rights and self defense.

Ukraine has little traditional law concerning the ownership of firearms. Current law, as such, consists of instructions issued in 1998 by the Interior Ministry. In practice, the Interior Minister can — and does — give firearms to whomever he wishes. Exactly who is eligible, and who is not, tends to be a matter of personal opinion.

From kyivpost.com

That confrontation would be unremarkable were it not for the story of how (Peoples Front lawmaker) Serhiy Pashinsky received the pistol: as an official gift from Interior Minister Arsen Avakov — part of a tradition in which the minister and president award firearms to politicians, military officers, and even influential business people.

 

The Ukrainian system reminds me of “dollar a year” sheriff deputies that were common practice in many states before federal money and standards ended the practice. In many jurisdictions, if the sheriff liked you — or was properly persuaded — you could be deputized and allowed to legally carry a concealed firearm.

Another similarity is with “may issue” states in the United States. Those states grant the power to issue carry permits to a person in authority, usually an area’s chief law enforcement officer. In California the issuing authority arbitrarily decides who gets a permit to carry a firearm, and who does not. The system is ripe for abuse and corruption. Many people with permits in California have ties — either personal or financial — to the issuing authority.

In Ukraine this system applies to the entire nation. I know two people who have traveled in Ukraine, one of them extensively. One married a Ukrainian woman, the other’s son married a Ukrainian girl. Neither knows the other. Both have told me that the presence of organized crime is pervasive and obvious and black market guns are easily available.

But that doesn’t come without risk. The legal consequences for Ukrainians who need to use a black market gun to defend themselves or their families.

The war in Ukraine has only increased the desire for personal weapons. Many veterans coming back from the front bring their personal weapons with them. They’d rather have a gun and not need it, than need it and not have it, regardless of the potential legal consequences.

The Ukrainian Association of Gun Owners (UAGO) is pushing for gun law reform. They want clear, evenly applied laws for the right to own, keep and bear arms for self defense.

Georgy Uchaikin bristles at the (current system). As director of the Ukrainian Association of Gun Owners or UAGO, he advocates for Ukrainians’ legal right to bear arms. To him, “awarded guns” demonstrate the discriminatory nature of his country’s gun policies.

By law, these awards are intended only for military men and women. But interpretation is loose. As a result, Uchaikin estimates Ukrainian authorities have handed out 50,000 weapons to members of the elite since independence in 1991 in a state that is otherwise hostile to gun ownership.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry didn’t respond to the Kyiv Post’s request about the number of the guns awarded, but Avakov said earlier the ministry gave out 2,230 guns between 2004 and 2016.

“What’s the difference how the bribe looks, whether it’s dollars or a pistol?” Uchaikin says. “It’s a frightening scheme.”

In most countries without a tradition of individual firearm ownership, elites can obtain guns or armed guards if they want them. It’s the common people who are routinely disarmed by the law.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar John Thayer says:

    Czarist Russia and the Second German Reich had liberal gun laws until the Bolsheviks and the Treaty of Versailles ended those rights.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      The same people who disarmed Czarist Russia and murdered 20-30 Christian men, women and children are the same people disarming America today.

      1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

        Exactly. People in this country have absolutely zero historical knowledge and always think the past atrocities were done one-offs that could never transpire again.

        1. avatar Pg2 says:

          Maybe because the ethnic genocide that occurred under the name of Bolshevism has been covered up by the victors/perpetrators.

        2. avatar Southern Cross says:

          There is an often repeated joke to communists utopia will be achieved after the next massacre. And the next. And the next. And the next. And the next.

          The trouble with enemies of the state is the more you look, the more you find.

  2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

    Guy #1 looks like he is looking at guy #2 (with the pistol) thinking:

    “Nyet! Get booger hook off bang button!”

  3. avatar BehindEnemyLines says:

    Amoral political and business elites don’t like the idea of the people they step on being able to gun them down in the streets. Fundamentally, that’s the root of gun control.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    “In most countries without a tradition of individual firearm ownership, elites can obtain guns or armed guards if they want them.”

    Is New York City a foreign country, or does it merely operate as one?

  5. avatar Jedi Wombat says:

    Why does Ukraine’s pro gun association have an english name and acronym? I thought it was a translation until the acronym, or am I missing something?

    1. avatar Martin says:

      Well, they do have an Ukrainian name too, Українська Асоціація власників зброї, so the original acronym is UAVZ. And I’m not surprised they have an English version of their name and acronym.
      After all, the USA is the world leader in the fight for gun rights of ordinary people and English is today’s lingua franca across much of the whole world. I’m Czech and our NRA-equivalent, which is named LEX, has a website gunlex.cz and and English version of its webpages. It is perfectly normal for pro-gun organizations from small-ish countries to use English to create and maintain contacts with people of the gun elsewhere.
      That being said, I’ve got to admit I know next to nothing about said Ukrainian org, so I’m not writing this as a way of suggesting that we should simply donate to them. I’m just trying to explain there’s nothing inherently fishy about pro-gun orgs from non-English speaking countries using English and having English translations of their names and so on.
      Oh, maybe I should add one more thing. When I say NRA-equivalent, I mean the pro-gun org with the largest number of members in a given country. Their stance and politics might be entirely different from those of NRA. And the same goes for individual members. An example: I’m a LEX member myself, and LEX is even less aggressive than the NRA, but the only time I’ve ever donated to an American pro-gun org, I’ve donated to SAF. When you live in a small country, sometimes even a mild-mannered pro-gun org is the only one that has any real power to actually accomplish anything positive, so no matter what else you do, you join the one org that gets %#&^ done with any regularity.

      1. avatar Jedi Wombat says:

        Cool, thank you. That is what I was missing!

      2. avatar Scoutino says:

        If LEX is even less aggressive than NRA, it’s wonder they get any positive results at all. And I’m saying that as a NRA member.

        (P. S. Diky ze se snazite udrzet pravo drzet a nosit zbrane v Cesku. Vim ze to neni jednoduche proti pozici EU.)

        1. avatar Martin says:

          LEX is trying to maintain its position as a relatively impartial expert group, capable of working with any political party – and we have way more of those than the US, and we’ve got nothing like the split on gun rights you can see in the US between (many) republicans and (many) democrats.
          So LEX doesn’t attack individual politicians very often, if at all, focusing on the matter at hand, not on who it has to deal with. The method seems to have worked so far.
          After all, we got elections to try to get rid of politicians we don’t like 🙂

      3. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Perhaps it is time to start target shooting clubs specializing in service rifle competition with service type courses of fire. Just like I do most weekends.

        http://mrca.com.au/

  6. avatar neiowa says:

    Organized crime??? Couldn’t be the Lenin/Stalin/etal banished such evil thoughts in the name of the peoples socialist utopian nirvana

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Under the Marxian dialectic, criminals were considered to be “ideologically close” and citizens were considered to be “ideologically apart”.

      Marxists preferred criminals over their own citizens and criminals were often used as unofficial enforcers.

      1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

        Funny how that same mindset happens today worldwide from non-Marxist governments.

        Only difference between criminals and government is that the government has the force of law behind them.

  7. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Jiminov Crowski laws!

    They need guns to defend themselves – from the government!

    Long live the Republic!

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Good luck Ukrainians-you’ll need it. Why there ever were
    so many Soviet “republics” is beyond me. Hoping we never go to war for any of them(NATO)…

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Uh, that would be because the Soviet Union sent tanks and troops to invade, conquer or kill them. How soon we forget.

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Most of those former Soviet Republics would not have been or stayed Soviet Republics if they had any say in the matter.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Why there ever were so many Soviet “republics” is beyond me.”

      As I understand it, after Russia’s nasty experience with Germany in WW2, the post-war Russia decide to put a layer of ‘insulation’ around the Rodina (mother country) as a ‘buffer’ against future invasion.

      After the big breakup in 1991(?) those ‘republics’ became mostly independent countries. Hence the mess we see today.

      Putin was KGB when the big breakup happened and has vowed to re-build the USSR ’empire’ as much as he possibly can. Hence the invasion of Crimea, and the fear today of invasion in the small Baltic states like Montenegro.

      (Serge is far more up on the real story of what’s happening there…)

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        It actually goes back to WWI. Most of the soviet “republics” were short-lived nation-states after the fall of czarist Russia back in 1917/1918. The “buffer” states were primarily in the Warsaw Pact, not territories of the Soviet Union proper. Ukraine is a rather interesting case as it is largely an artificial state with large ethnic Russian populations (in the west and south) and ethnic Ukrainian / Polish populations in the west and center. Crimea is a historically interesting case study as it was never a part of ancient Ukrainian kingdoms (due to being a satrapy of the Ottoman Empire until its conquest by Imperial Russia in the 18th century) and has been strongly Russian in its culture and ethnic breakdown for centuries due to being the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

        Montenegro is not on Russia’s radar due to the fact that there are several countries between them and Russia. If you’re thinking of the Baltic states, you’re thinking of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania which have interesting histories during the middle ages and the renascence, but haven’t really been independent since the fall of the Polish / Lithuanian kingdoms. All three countries have significant ethnic Russian populations due to having been a part of first Imperial Russia and then the Soviet Union for literally centuries.

        I’m not really qualified to speak of the Baltic states as I have never been there, but Ukraine is a very touchy subject. There are merits to both sides of the Ukrainian civil war and the country is a corrupt shithole. (Even by Eastern European standards.) The big point of contention is that the government is run by political parties based in the west of Ukraine with little to no representation of the people in the western or southern parts of the country. The spark that set this all off was blatant EU interventionism that sponsored a coup ousting a legitimately elected President. At that point, the western and southern part of the country felt that their voices were not heard and their votes literally did not count. While the president in question was not an angel by any stretch of the imagination, he was no worse than any of his predecessors or successors. He just happened to be more aligned with Russia than the EU.

        1. avatar Trollslayer says:

          And this is exactly how Russian trolls operate on forums.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          I was born in Kiev fucktard. Unlike you, I’ve actually BEEN to Ukraine several times over the past few decades and have seen how badly the country got bent over a barrel by the alleged “democracy” supporters.

          Oh, and do we want to talk about the Azov Battalion? You know, ACTUAL DOPPELTE SIEGRUNE WEARING NAZIS.

  9. avatar 16V says:

    I have several Ukranian expat friends (all now US citizens, BTW). Ukraine is awash in guns, just not (mostly) legal. From massive bunkers, to gardens that get watered with oil, the guns of the last 2 world wars have been retrieved.

    Bunker hunting is still a favorite pastime (illegal or not) not to mention the dozens of Viber vids I have watched over the last few years with guys rockin’ and rollin’ all manner of surplus military weapons.

  10. avatar M1Lou says:

    I went to a gun shop in Kiev. I was a little surprised at the stuff they had in there. The best stuff is at the bazaar though.

  11. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Since the breakup of the USSR, the Soviet Empire’s former client states have been struggling with numerous issues of law, including private property rights and self defense.
    I would not think writing laws based on old English Common Law would be that tough. Political will to pass the legislation might be tougher.
    Ukraine needs to ditch Soviet and George Soros thinking.
    Western EU thinking sucks too.

  12. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

    What an upside down world. As a former commie state turns to freedom and liberty, America shuns it’s greatest gifts. Pissing on it’s flag, it’s Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    1. avatar Martin says:

      I’m afraid there’s way more to these problems than simply being an ex-communist country making its people desire gun rights. Take a look at other ex-communist countries. I’m Czech and while we’re doing our best to keep our rights, the EU is doing its best to limit them as much as they can get away with and we’ve had enough senators of our own oppose a proposed 2nd ammendment-equivalent to block it. Hungary, even though they’ve learned quite a harsh lesson in 1956, is noticeably more restrictive than my country is. And Romania is about as restrictive as they get, with even some knives being tightly regulated.
      So no, being an ex-commie country doesn’t automagically push people towards desiring gun rights. Many of us Eastern Europeans are better off than the West, as we’ve learned to both recognize ideological propaganda and resist it, but we’re far from perfect and far from homogeneous.
      In short, if falls down to traditions and families and schools and culture, and not all of those are always on the same side. And it is the same both in the US and here in Europe, in the sense that if the younger generations don’t learn about guns and freedom, they’re way more likely to become anti-gun and not caring about freedoms. So some people see gun rights as indicative of the degree of liberty in a society, and others see guns as evil personified. The best we can do is teach those who are willing to listen and oppose those who would take our rights away.

      1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

        True words. Thanks.

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