Ukrainian lawmaker seeks U.S. gun community’s help in arming Ukrainian civilians
Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is reaching out to the Second Amendment advocates in the U.S. to figure out how to convince his government to loosen Ukraine’s stringent gun laws.
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.”
Mr. Zablotskyy was in Washington on Wednesday talking to gun-rights advocates, political activists and other Capitol Hill insiders.
“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.
Although dozens of gun laws have been proposed in the Ukraine Parliament since the fall of the Soviet Union, none have managed to pass. It is the only European country without legislation governing the civilian possession of firearms.
Gun regulation in Ukraine fell under its interior ministry, and the only way to own a firearm legally was to acquire a rifle for hunting or sporting purposes. Handguns are banned for civilians with exceptions made for security guards and certain state officials.
Currently, the government issues firearms, pistols and Kalashnikov rifles to private citizens with a caveat.
“I received a firearm myself in Ukraine, but again, it was stipulated that after 10 days or the war ends, I have to surrender it back to the government,” 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.
He said if civilians in Ukraine were able to own firearms before the Russian invasion, they could have avoided some of the slaughter at the hands of Russian troops.
“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.”