Gun ownership in Ukraine was never entirely forbidden, even before the government relaxed or rescinded some of its gun laws in the weeks before Russia’s invasion. But gun ownership isn’t a right under Ukrainian law, and one member of the country’s parliament is hoping to change that.
The Washington Times reports that Maryan Zablotskyy, who’s a part of the ruling “Servant of the People Party”, is working with Second Amendment advocates to get advice on how to change his country’s laws to ensure that citizens can protect themselves with firearms. Zablotskyy, perhaps unsurprisingly, says that Russia’s invasion has been a wake-up call for many Ukrainians when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms.
Months before the Russian invasion, Mr. Zablotskyy took on his country’s civilian gun-control system that was inherited from the former Soviet Union when he introduced a bill to allow private ownership of firearms.
“I tried to convince parliament. I was the sponsor of the bill that allowed the ownership of private firearms within Ukraine. Unfortunately, that bill has failed. And, largely, of course, due to the Russian lobby,” he told The Washington Times. “Now we, of course, understand why. I think that now there’s overwhelming support for the right of Ukrainians to bear arms.”
Zablotskyy was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to talk about the issue with Second Amendment supporters, but the member of parliament had another item on his to-do list as well; get more weapons to Ukraine.
“I want to work more closely with the American government and gun owners so that maybe some of them can share their weapons to Ukrainians, at least to the regions that have been most affected by violence,” he said.
Mr. Zablotskyy, who estimates private gun ownership in Ukraine at 2%, lamented that most of those guns are pistols and not long rifles like Kalishnakovs. He said he‘s for “millions” of these types of military-style rifles from the U.S.
“So now with the famous Bucha massacre, for example, I’m pretty sure that no massacre would ever have happened if residents of Bucha had firearms,” he said. “They had zero. So, I want to arm those regions that have been most affected who understand the need for arms.”
The killing of civilians may very well have taken place in Bucha even if its residents were armed, but there would have been a battle, not a massacre, and I doubt the death toll of unarmed civilians would have been as high as the hundreds of deaths that have been reported in the small town.
War is hell, but it’s not quite as hellish as a one-sided genocide. Ensuring that citizens have both the means and the right to defend themselves, whether from home invaders or homeland invaders, is crucial to preventing the slaughter of unarmed innocents, and I’m glad to see that Zablotskyy is taking up his call to arms. Here’s hoping his fellow parliamentarians (not to mention Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the head of the Servant of the People Party) are as enthusiastic about enshrining the right to keep and bear arms in Ukraine’s laws. As for Zablotskyy’s desire to see millions of American rifles in the hands of the Ukrainian people, we’ll keep you updated on those efforts in the very near future.