Firearms industry steps up to arm Ukraine

The Ukrainian government is asking for ammunition and sniper rifles, but you won’t find any AR-15s on the wish list submitted to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, despite Democrats claiming that the semi-automatic rifles are “battlefield weapons of war” unsuitable for civilian ownership and unprotected by our Second Amendment.


On today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co, the NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel Larry Keane joins the show to talk about the “overwhelming” response from the firearms industry to aid the people of Ukraine in their defense of their nation; efforts that Keane says are happening outside of the spotlight and without any press releases being issued in most circumstances.

Earlier today NSSF sent out an email to industry partners detailing the results of conversations with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C. and laying out the most urgent needs that can be addressed by the industry itself.

  • 7.62х39 mm
  • 7.62×51 mm
  • .308 WIN
  • 5.45х39 mm
  • 5.56х45 mm
  • Sniper rifles chambered in .308 WIN or 7.62х51 mm and ammunition (including bipod and scope)
    • If donating a non-.308 “sniper type” rifle, e.g., .338 Lapua or similar, Ukraine requests that manufacturers provide ammunition with the rifle.
  • Pistols and ammunition chambered in 9х19 mm
  • Extra magazines
  • Spare parts

Keane noted that body armor, Kevlar helmets, and other protective gear wasn’t included on the list of material submitted by the Ukrainian government, though he speculated that some of that material may be coming into the country as part of Defense Department shipments of defensive gear to the Ukrainian military.


Companies looking to donate arms and/or ammunition need go through the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the NSSF is providing members with the proper information to include in their export license applications. Keane tells me that under ordinary circumstances it can take months if not years for export applications to be approved, but he’s hearing reports that at the moment, some exports to the Ukrainian military are getting the green light within 48 hours or so.

That jibes with comments from Ammo, Inc. CEO Fred Wagenhals last week, who said that the Biden administration hasn’t been putting up any roadblocks despite the president’s repeated targeting of the firearms industry both before and after he took office.

Wagenhals said the U.S. government has not impeded his company’s donation in any way.

“We are abiding by the rules. If they said, ‘Don’t do it,’ they have the ability to stop it,” he said.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., has helped coordinate the donation, Wagenhals said. A native of Ukraine, Spartz has worked to assist the country.

“I’ve been in contact with her,” Wagenhals said. “We’ll know the minute it crosses the border.”


For those of us without a million rounds to spare, the National Bank of Ukraine has also set up accounts where individuals can donate money to the Ukrainian armed forces or to help fund humanitarian efforts in the country.

As Keane says, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a terrible reminder that the Second Amendment exists for a reason, so it’s not exactly surprising to see such a robust response from American gun and ammo makers who are eager to support the Ukrainian people in the defense of their nation and their freedom. The biggest surprise, from my perspective anyway, is that the Biden administration hasn’t been more of an impediment to those efforts. Then again, they’re probably happy to see these American-made arms head overseas instead of being sold to American citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

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