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On the weekend Ukraine was shocked by the news of tragic death of two patrol officers in Dnipro who were trying to detain the offender. The former fighter of "Tornado" MIA battalion shot on the spot 27-year-old patrol policeman and wounded his 36-year-old companion, who died in the hospital. On the same day, 25 September, the offender was detained at a local hospital, where he arrived with a gunshot wound received probably during a firefight with the patrol.
However, soon the shock was followed by a stormy debate, caused by the statement of the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, he made based on the events in Dnipro. On Monday, 26 September, the Interior Minister announced the introduction in Parliament of draft law package of the law enforcement empowerment by the principle of "presumption of rightness of the police." According to the minister, the legislative changes will be aimed at empowering police when interacting with people who, in turn, will have to to obey, with the right to further appeal the actions of law enforcement officers. Thus Avakov assures that in this case we are not talking on the limitation of civil liberties.
While the public is actively discussing a legislative initiative of the Ministry of Interior, we decided to analyze the right of police officers to the use firearms, namely cases in which the police are allowed to shoot and what the limitations are provided.
Only in exceptional cases and only after a warning
As you know, a fundamental legislative act, by which Ukrainian police is guided in its activities - it is the law of Ukraine "On the National Police." Police powers for the use of firearms are described in Part 1 of Article 42 of this document. In accordance with this standard, the use of weapons, along with the physical influence (power) and the use of special tools, refers to the police coercive measures. In this part 3 of Article 43 clearly stipulates that the type and intensity of the use of coercive measures by the police are determined by "taking into account the specific situation, the nature of the offense and the individual characteristics of the person who committed the offense."
According to Article 43 of the "Procedure for the use of coercive measures by the police," a police officer is obliged to notify in advance the offender on the use of weapons and give him enough time to carry out the legal requirements of police officers. It is allowed to shoot without warning, just when the delay may lead to violence to life and health of the person and / or the police or other grave consequences, or in a situation where such a warning is unreasonable or impossible. Police may issue a warning by voice, and at a considerable distance, or appeal to a large group of people - through a loud-speaker setup, the audio amplifiers.
And part of the article 4 indicates that the police are obliged to provide emergency medical assistance to persons affected by the use of coercive measures, including weapons. And part 5 prohibits the police to use physical force, special means and firearms to women with obvious signs of pregnancy, underage persons, persons with obvious signs of disability or old age, "except when they commit an armed or group attack, armed resistance to police that threatens life and health of other persons or police, or to reflect the resistance when other ways and means are impossible.”
Weapons - to people
To date, the law prohibits the Ukrainians to freely own firearms. According to Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for the carrying, storage, acquisition, transfer or sale of firearms, ammunition, explosives or explosive devices without statutory authorization offender faces from three to seven years in prison. Legally citizens of Ukraine can own only smoothbore hunting (21 years), rifled hunting (25 years) and pneumatic weapon (18 years old). Also, it is not actually prohibited the possession of gas weapon, although such a category of weapons is not provided in the Ukrainian legal field.
Certain categories of Ukrainians have the right to own traumatic gun. We are talking about law enforcement officials and their close relatives, civil servants, military personnel, judges and their close relatives, MPs and journalists.
Under the ban for the civilian population of Ukraine remain short firearms. Discussion on its legalization in the country is carried out for a long time. Supporters and opponents of its legal circulation put forward many arguments in their favor. Supporters of the legalization mostly appeal to the experience of other countries (especially the US), but also believe that in a difficult crime situation to ensure the safety of law-abiding citizen he himself should think of it. Opponents of free public access to handguns give reason for their position that such legalization, on the contrary, will provoke an increase in crime and aggressive attitudes in society.
Allow or disallow?
The views of the ruling elite of the country, as well as views of the general population, on the legalization of weapons in Ukraine differ. Oddly enough, but the free circulation of "firearms" is supported even in some of the security agencies. Traditionally the skeptical look on this initiative has the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police. Thus, the first deputy head of National police Vadym Troyan in a recent interview said he is not sure of the readiness of the Ukrainian society and the law enforcement officers for the legalization of weapons. According to him, the weapon can not be given to anybody, but also there’s no complete ban of the firearms in Ukraine (for example, are permitted hunting rifles).
But the Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine - Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios believes that the country needs a law on the right of the population to purchase, carry and use firearms. This, according to the representative of the prosecutor's office, is much better than to approve the "hundredth anti-corruption law."
As you can see, the controversy surrounding the right of Ukrainians to freely carry and use weapons does not cease. Actually, the request for full legalization of "firearms" became particularly relevant after the Revolution of dignity, when Ukrainian citizens realized the need to defend their rights. At the same time a sharp deterioration of the crime situation in Ukraine over the past two or three years, formed a negative attitude to the free circulation of weapons in many Ukrainians. The position of government on this issue can not be called clear too. So whether weapons will be legalized in Ukraine or it will remain someone's dream, time will tell.