75% of Ukrainians are against the free possession of firearms. At the same time, 23% are in favor of such a decision, and the rest, respectively, have not decided. These are the data of a poll from the "Rating" group, conducted on February 2-3, 2021. Meanwhile, in the Verkhovna Rada, bill No. 4335, co-authored by 43 MPs, is waiting in the wings. The document proposes to legalize the possession of firearms by private individuals.
Any adult who does not have medical contraindications and previous convictions, as well as does not have administrative offenses committed during the year, will have the opportunity to use a weapon, which will be divided into several categories beforehand. The permit that the owner will receive will resemble a driver's license, they will also be divided into several types. The document will indicate what exactly a person owns – all data about him and data about a weapon. Compulsory civil liability insurance is also provided for damage that may be caused to a third party or his property.
And, nevertheless, the deputies are already actively commenting on the bill. And the first argument for, which one of its creators gives, lies in the legal plane. The law is needed because Ukraine is the last state in Europe that does not have legal regulation of the circulation of civilian weapons. MP from Servant of the People Oleksandr Danutsa tells the journalists about this. This gap must be filled, by all means, he is convinced.
Countries with loyal arms legislation
Honduras. 2.05% of residents own weapons. Citizens are free to purchase most of the popular models of shotguns, pistols, revolvers, or rifles for self-defense or hunting. Although now the anti-weapon movement is actively developing there. Violence has grown in Honduras in recent years. Therefore, since 2007, the government has banned the hidden and open carrying of weapons. But this did not affect the crime rate. Now citizens are allowed to have no more than five weapons. And you can officially buy it only in 26 stores controlled by the military.
Panama. 3.06% of residents own weapons. In this country, concealed carry is permitted without any additional permits. They only require that the weapon be purchased legally. Here you can buy almost all non-automatic rifles, shotguns with short barrels, short-barreled rifles. The store has no limits. However, it takes months to get a permit. The relevant authorities check the biographical data of Panamanians, and it is also necessary to donate blood and urine.
Finland. 12.81% of residents own weapons. Finns love hunting and are fond of weapons. However, it is not so easy to buy it: you must have a separate permit for each unit. Finns must keep all weapons at home. If you own more than five units, you must buy a special safe.
Serbia. 15.81% of residents own weapons. In Serbia, you can get a permit for most types of weapons. However, if you are rejected for the first time, you can no longer apply. There are also restrictions on the purchase of cartridges. It is allowed to buy no more than 60 cartridges per year (this rule does not apply to shooting ranges).
The Czech Republic. 16.3% of residents own weapons. In the Czech Republic, the right to own weapons was restored after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Czechs do not need to provide reasons to obtain a concealed weapon permit. The use of weapons for self-defense is enshrined here by law. For permission, you must pass a background check and several exams.
Canada. 23.8% of residents own weapons. In 1995, a law came into force in the country, according to it, each weapon must be registered in the federal database. However, in 2012 the law was canceled. Keep your weapons locked up. In addition, you must have a permit to buy it.
Switzerland. 29% of residents own weapons. Despite the high percentage of gun ownership, Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates. All adult citizens without permission can purchase any weapon that fires single cartridges. In 1997, a law was passed guaranteeing the right to own a gun. But if a weapon was stolen from you and with its help they committed a crime, the owner will bear responsibility in this case.
Norway. 31.3% of residents own weapons. Norwegians can purchase any type of weapon. Those interested must indicate the reason for the purchase. However, in order to obtain a permit, Norwegian citizens must pass a background check as well as special training.
Sweden. 31.6% of residents own weapons. Weapons are allowed here for hunting, but for self-defense, they are prohibited. Those who want to buy a weapon should explain what it is for them: sport, hunting, or collecting. One Swedish resident is entitled to 6 hunting rifles or 10 pistols, or 8 units of both. You can store weapons only in a safe.
The USA. There is no exact data, but about 43% of houses have weapons. The US Constitution guarantees the right to own and bear arms. It is owned by about 90 million Americans. The sale of semi-automatic rifles is legal in almost all states. Open wearing is allowed in 30 states without a permit, 14 states with a permit and 6 states prohibited. A concealed weapon permit is available in all states.
But it's not just the need to comply with European requirements. There is a complete mess with weapons in Ukraine. Especially now, during the war. If you read the police reports, you cannot help but notice that law enforcement officers daily seize illegal weapons of various kinds. Basically, these are guns and explosives taken out of the hostilities zone. Lawyer Denys Golovin believes that it is about 1.2 million units of firearms.
Unofficially, the security forces talk about 5 million weapons that are illegally kept by the civilians. In other words, every eighth Ukrainian has a firearm hidden at home. Therefore, it is necessary to allow prohibited and keep an open record of civilian weapons. The new bill introduces the Unified State Register of Civilian Weapons, establishes the basis for its maintenance.
The bill defines firearms and ammunition prohibited for civilian circulation. It regulates the acquisition of ownership by legal entities of civil firearms and ammunition, storage of civilian weapons, the use of civilian firearms for protection, and the like. The draft law establishes general principles for the conduct of special circulation of firearms and ammunition and the operation of shooting ranges and shooting ranges.
The second and main argument is self-defense. Like, the "bad guys" will find a weapon and carry it with them, but a respectable "burgher" has nothing to oppose to them. Citizens have the right to personal protection of their life and health, as well as the life and health of others from criminal encroachments with the help of civilian firearms. Therefore, the basic rights and obligations of individuals and legal entities in relation to the production, acquisition, possession, alienation, carrying, transportation, repair, use of civilian firearms and ammunition must be established.
Let us remind you that currently, in accordance with Art. 263 of the Criminal Code, possession and carrying of firearms is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment from 5 to 7 years, which makes this crime a serious one.
Meanwhile, Ukrainians are wary of law enforcement agencies (only 21% of respondents trust the courts, the same amount - the prosecutor's office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs - 27%, Info Sapiens calculated.) And society has a request to take the defense matter into its own hands.
"It would be fair to provide access to weapons to everyone so that everyone is in equal conditions. Of course, it is necessary to establish clear and understandable conditions on the procedure for acquiring, carrying, and storing civilian weapons, as well as to ensure proper control over the implementation of these rules," lawyer Andriy Voznyuk notes.
He also adds that “the experience of the neighboring post-Soviet countries of Moldova and Belarus shows that after the granting of permission to use weapons for the population, crime not only did not increase but also began to decline. Already now we can confidently say that with the legalization of weapons, the situation with a crime in Ukraine will not get worse, because all criminals already have free access to weapons, unlike law-abiding citizens.”
In Ukraine, 40% of deaths of men and 22% of women of working age (20 to 64 years old) are the result of alcohol consumption, the press service of the Ministry of Health informs. In addition, Ukraine is now one of the ten countries with the highest suicide rates (and the availability of readily available weapons will further exacerbate these statistics).
Another terrible statistic is now from the WHO: there are up to 8 million mentally ill people in Ukraine. At the same time, mental disorders mean a wide range of problems - from drug addiction to schizophrenia, from various congenital degrees of mental retardation to acquired senile dementia.
It was not for nothing that the authors of the bill prescribed in the document the requirement for the health of the potential owner of the weapon, however, given the number of sick people, it is difficult to exclude the situation when the weapon of a healthy family member is used by one of his disabled relatives. By the way, just like in the case of suicide, Ukraine ranks first in Europe in terms of the number of mentally ill people.
In addition, there are a number of alternatives for those who want to protect themselves.
Gas sprays. Pros: no need for permission from the authorities, low cost, compactness, availability, because they can be bought in specialized stores and on the Internet. Do not pose a threat to life. Cons: weak effectiveness against the attacker, you need to hit the face at a distance of 1-2 meters. The effect of the spray comes only after a few seconds. You can also easily poison yourself.
Electrocutioners. Pros: relative cheapness (from 300-400 UAH), availability, compactness. Cons: Shockers are not officially allowed, but are sold in online stores. The effect requires contact with a naked part of the body, which is sometimes impossible to achieve. If the attacker has a weak or diseased heart, he may die.
Airguns. Pros: No permission required. Can be purchased freely from a specialist store. Does not pose a mortal threat. Cons: low efficiency. If the attacker is in clothes, such a weapon will not stop him. Effective in eye contact, but not easy to do. "Pneumatics" also cannot be carried with you all the time: the compressed gas sometimes "leaks."
Gas weapons. Plus in this case, one is its availability. Cons: the weapon is ineffective. You need to hit the attacker close, with 2-3 shots. You can easily get gassed from the shot yourself. In addition, a purchase and a wearing permit are required.
Lawyer Denys Golovin, quoted above, notes that it is not the number of weapons circulating in the country that determines the rule of law in it.
"The level of the crime depends not so much on the laws on weapons, their number, but on the social and economic development of society, which is one of the main signs of crime. Therefore, in some countries, there are a lot of weapons and fewer crimes, in others, there are fewer weapons and a lot of crimes," he says.
In this context, do not give up on the police, which is often "late" for calls or is ineffective. Instead of using methods available to civil society, it should be forced to do its job. Because ensuring the safety of citizens is included in the functionality of the police, and you shouldn't take over their functions.
At one time, President Zelensky did not support the petition to legalize weapons, despite the fact that it received the required 25 thousand votes on the official website of the head of state. The president's counter-arguments were that such legalization was premature, given the socio-economic situation and the war in the east.
The draft law on the legalization of weapons has already been approved by the profile committee of the Rada and submitted to parliament for consideration. But when exactly such consideration will take place and what its result will be is unknown. Even in the case of a positive vote for this document, the president can veto it.