In about a day, the Ukrainian government gave out 18,000 machine guns to civilians in a country where gun ownership is very rare and they weren’t previously allowed to own machine guns.
An estimated 18,000 assault rifles, variants of the Kalashnikov, have been distributed in Kyiv since Thursday.
For many in line, the decision to pick up arms and fight a street battle against one of the world’s largest armies was driven by patriotism. . . .Julian Barnes, “Armed with assault rifles, civilian volunteers prepare to defend Kyiv,” New York Times, February 25, 2022, 7:42 PM.
On February 23rd, 2022, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law allowing civilians to carry firearms in public.
The Ukrainian parliament passed a law on Wednesday, which allows citizens to carry firearms in public, alongside the enactment of a state of emergency, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to eastern Ukraine on Monday.
Previously, Ukrainian citizens were barred from carrying guns outside of their homes.
“Now it’s the intention of the parliament is to liberalize ownership of armaments by citizens,” Dmytro Shulga, the European Programme Director at the International Renaissance Foundation, an NGO in Kyiv, told Insider. “And I think that this is very popular news now.” . . .Azmi Haroun, “Ukraine’s parliament passed a law allowing citizens to carry firearms, and a local NGO official said ‘there’s a feeling that Ukrainians will fight’,” Business Insider, February 23, 2022.
People regret not getting guns and training earlier.
I’d never held a gun in my hands till February 2022. My wife and I had several hours of training just to figure out what to do with it. Just in case. And now I regret like hell that I didn’t do that training before.Oleksandr Mykhed, “Letter from Ukraine: the language of war,” Financial Times (London), March 4, 2022.
Of course, gun control advocates in the United States are reacting strongly and even condemning the advocacy of arming Ukrainian citizens.
Anti-gun violence advocates, however, point to increasing firearms deaths in the United States and say tighter regulations and fewer guns are what is needed.
Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said it was “deeply irresponsible” for gun rights advocates to tie their “more guns everywhere” advocacy to the Ukraine crisis.Barbara Goldberg and Brendan O’Brien, “Ukraine crisis emerges as talking point in U.S. gun debate,” Reuters, March 1, 2022.
Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the anti-gun Violence Policy Center, accused the NRA of using a crisis to promote its political agenda. “Militarized firearms sold in the U.S. will never be fired to repel foreign invaders, but they are being used in the mass shootings and daily gun violence that define our nation,” he said.Paul Bond, “American Pro-Gun Activists See an Opening as Ukraine Arms its Citizens,” Newsweek, March 3, 2022.