Gun drive for Ukraine wrong idea for right reasons

Gun drive for Ukraine wrong idea for right reasons
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

I think a lot of us are closely following the situation in Ukraine. While the propaganda war rages on, there’s still a lot of sympathy for what the Eastern European nation is dealing with.

In fact, a lot of people want to help. Earlier today, Cam highlighted a couple of companies that are stepping up, but there are also some public officials trying to turn that desire into action.

A Nassau County politician wants Long Islanders to donate guns so he can ship them to Ukraine for use in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

GOP County Executive Bruce Blakeman told The Post he’s arranging the stunt to draw attention to Ukraine’s defiant resistance against Vladimir Putin and his military’s devastating assault on their country.

“Just watching the Ukrainian residents making Molotov cocktails in a brewery out of beer bottles shows they’re in a desperate flight and we can’t stand by and do nothing,” he said before mentioning the Ukrainian president’s rejection of the US’s evacuation offer last week.

“As President Zelensky said: he doesn’t need a ride, he needs weapons.”

Blakeman hopes to collect hunting rifles and civilianized military-style semiautomatic weapons, like AR-15s.

Now, Blakeman acknowledges that he hasn’t worked out the logistics of the thing yet and he admits federal authorities would need to sign off on it, which is far from a slam dunk.

However, I can’t also help but feel like this is the wrong way to help.

The Ukrainian military uses the AK platform, not an AR-pattern weapon. In particular, the AK-74 and the AKM (with some SKS rifles still in use). That means the bulk of their ammo stock is going to be 7.62×39 or 5.45×39.

The AR-15s use 5.56 or .223, depending on the weapon’s specs. While the Ukrainian military does have some weapons that are chambered in 5.56, those are for their special forces personnel. That implies they have a limited supply of that particular ammunition.

I can’t help but feel like a large surge of AR-pattern weapons would end up being a bigger problem than a solution.

A better option would be to raise money to buy weapons from European dealers chambered in similar rounds to what they likely already have in their stockpiles. Lithuania has gifted Ukraine a number of weapons. Maybe helping them provide more would be far more useful.

Then there’s the unfortunate fact that by the time guns could be gathered, shipping secured, federal permission signed, international treaties dealt with, and so on, the war could be over. Sure, I suspect this will eventually descend into an insurgency that will bleed the Russians for years, who are you going to mail guns to in that case?

I get wanting to help. If I were 20 years younger, I’d at least consider flying over to join the fight, so I definitely get wanting to help.

I also get wanting to help with something more than humanitarian aid, which while necessary, isn’t quite as direct as putting guns in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.

Unfortunately, it’s really not a particularly well-thought-out plan by any stretch of the imagination.