The issue of gun ownership has become a hot topic of discussion not only in the United States, where the citizens’ right to do so is officially encrypted in the country’s constitution, but also in Ukraine. Despite the government reporting the ever-declining crime rates across a variety of categories, Ukrainians are still far from feeling secure in cities and towns throughout the country.
The capital of Ukraine is usually hospitable and calm; however, foreign guests still might want to know what kind of hazards could possibly await them. Armed attacks, extortions, frauds - criminal environment does exist in Kyiv, though it's not obligatory a person faces violence while in Kyiv. Here's the legal and actual situation with possessing arms in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian parliament started working on a relevant law that would stipulate the citizens’ rights to possess guns as early as 1998. However, no such attempts have come to fruition yet. Since the beginning of the military conflict in the eastern part of the country, it seems like the argument in favor of such a right has attracted more supporters.
The experience of other nations in regards to gun ownership does not suggest that more access to guns leads to higher crime rates. For instance, despite virtually non-existent gun rights in countries like Japan or the United Kingdom, those countries exhibit violent crime rates comparable to those observed in the United States. Moreover, the American experience shows that more guns at the hands of ordinary citizens have caused a decline in the violent crime rates throughout decades. Unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to scenes of gun violence in American schools. But it is still true that many more deaths and injuries are prevented by ordinary citizens that eliminate the perpetrators while risking their lives.
Many may be surprised to find out that in fact, the possession of guns is legal in Ukraine. However, the process of obtaining it is rather complex and involves numerous bureaucratic procedures. As a matter of fact, any Ukrainian citizen over the age of 18 is allowed to acquire a bladed weapon, an airgun or a replica weapon (used for imitation of a gunshot). Moreover, those over the age of 21 have the right to obtain a plain-barrel shotgun, and those older than 25 are free to acquire a rifle. There are no restrictions on the number of guns a single person may have, however, relevant permits and medical references are required. Also, a gun owner is expected to ensure the safe storage of his or her weapon.
Article 263 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code suggests a prison sentence of three to seven years for possession, storage, acquirement or disposal of a firearm, ammunition, explosives without the permit required by law. That being said, there is a number of categories of Ukrainian citizens that are allowed to have traumatic weapons because of their occupation. These occupations include law enforcement officers and their immediate family members, professionals engaged in criminal law, journalists, members of parliament, members of non-governmental organizations involved in border patrol or law enforcement, military servicemen (excluding those currently in active military service), and other civil servants.
Therefore, it becomes obvious that the right to possess guns is granted primarily to those working for the state or local government. On the other hand, numerous barriers exist for ordinary citizens that wish to acquire guns in order to protect themselves, their homes and families from intruders and criminals.