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Ukrainians will be allowed to own firearms: How parliament wants to legalize weapons?

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

A few days ago, a bill which is designed to start the process of legalizing weapons in Ukraine was registered in the Rada
21:21, 6 July 2021

112 Agency

Each of us at least once thought about buying firearms for security purposes. Moreover, the price of an ordinary pistol or a rifle is not higher, and sometimes even lower than the cost of the same iPhone.

But it is still impossible to legally exercise one's constitutional right to self-defense in Ukraine, unlike Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic states and a number of other states. This issue was put on the agenda many times, but the matter never came to the adoption of the corresponding law.

The bill of the "Servants of the people" "On the right to civil firearms" is the fourth attempt to legalize this by the forces of the current convocation of parliament and, according to experts, despite a number of problems that require improvement.

As the authors of the bill note, on the one hand, by simplifying the circulation of civilian firearms in Ukraine, at the same time it increases the responsibility for its illegal use.

It is noteworthy that with its provisions, the bill "hits" the transport sector, borrowing from there the mechanisms that are already working and understandable to ordinary people:

  •     classification of "civilian" firearms into categories (as well as vehicles),
  •     obtaining a special certificate of the owner of the weapon by analogy with a driver's license,
  •     as well as civil liability of the "auto-civil" type for the owner.

What weapons can ordinary Ukrainians buy?

Pistols. Let's start with the main thing: pistols will remain banned for ordinary citizens. That is, even if the bill manages to go through all the rounds of parliamentary hearings, revolvers and pistols will not be freely available.

According to the authors of the bill, this issue will also be considered in the future, but everything depends on how the Ukrainians "will behave." So, if the bill in action shows that citizens are ready, then it will be possible to legalize short-barrels by making the appropriate amendments to this law.

So far, this type of weapon is available only to adult athletes with a category not lower than the master of sports of the type where sports firearms are used.

Traumatic pistol. Only representatives of those professions whose activities are associated with risk will still be able to buy traumatic weapons. But it is worth noting that the list of such professions has been expanded: judges, prosecutors, police officers, private executors and detectives, notaries, lawyers, journalists, employees of environmental control bodies, and special units of environmental protection bodies.

Not all experts agree with such a definition of "risky professions". In particular, in the commentary on 112ua.tv, candidate of legal sciences, an expert in criminal law Grigory Usatyi notes that in addition to notaries and detectives, it was possible to consider the issue of doctors' access to weapons.

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"Is the work of a private contractor and a notary more dangerous than the work of an ambulance doctor who arrives in an area, for example, known for selling drugs?" says the expert.

Also, category B will be available to those who held positions in military formations and law enforcement agencies and were assigned service weapons.

Rifles, shotguns, and carbines. Category D and E firearms will be allowed for ordinary Ukrainians:

  •     from 18 (if there are no medical contraindications, no criminal record, and they have not been brought to administrative responsibility under some articles of the Code of Administrative Offenses)
  •     and from 25 years (if, among other things, there is no information in the register about their being brought to administrative responsibility two or more times under article 191 of the Code of Administrative Offenses - "Violation of the rules for keeping weapons"), respectively.

But the absence of contraindications and a criminal record still does not guarantee access to weapons - it is necessary to take special courses and obtain a certificate of the owner of the weapon.

What you need to buy a weapon

Before buying a weapon, you need to get an ID. If a person has such a document, then he can freely buy as many weapons as he wants. This is alarming since the conditions for obtaining such a certificate are far from ideal..

According to the expert, it turns out that persons with already canceled or removed convictions, for example, for terrorism, banditry, robbery, and other violent crimes, can apply for a certificate.

"We are handing weapons into the hands of those who may pose a certain danger to society," the expert adds.

It is also noteworthy that a number of important offenses do not appear in the list of refusals due to unexpunged convictions for a particular crime. For example, violation of traffic safety rules and transport operation. That is, a person could run over a pedestrian, but at the same time, according to the bill, he can still apply for a license.

In the same way as crimes against the environment: a person who is accused of poaching can also claim a weapon.

According to the bill, the first certificate of the owner of the weapon is planned to be issued for a period of three years, and each subsequent one - for five years. To obtain a certificate for the first time, you need to take a training course (the Cabinet of Ministers later details the rules of work, conditions, and functions) and submit an application at the place of residence or registration to the territorial body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a copy of the medical examination, passport. The list of contraindications for owners of weapons will be prescribed by the Ministry of Health, having coordinated it with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The certificate itself will indicate information about the individual or legal entity who has been granted the right to civil firearms, as well as the category of weapons that the person or company received.

How to store weapons without breaking the law

After receiving the weapon in ownership, within 5 days, you need to conclude a civil liability insurance contract. How exactly such an agreement will look like and what rules it will include is not yet clear.

But experts believe that the procedure will be similar to civil liability insurance for motorists. In simple words, with "car insurance". That is, risks will be minimized through insurance services. And in the event of their occurrence, compensation will be provided.

The storage conditions of a weapon vary depending on its type, the owner's residence in the house where the weapon is stored, and the number of units. For example, a short barrel (category C), with the exception of an award (a weapon with which a person is awarded for certain services to the state), cannot be stored at the place of residence, but only in a shooting range. And if the owner keeps the weapon in a place where he does not live, then the "firearm" must be kept in a special safe. Requirements for such safes, as well as for the security system (if owned by more than 5 weapons), the Cabinet will later prescribe.

It is also noteworthy that the owner is obliged to inform the National Police if he takes the weapon from the place of permanent storage for more than a month.

How will the control over the legality of possession of weapons be carried out?

The bill proposes the creation of two unified registers at once - medical certificates and a register of weapons owners. The latter will store information about the owner's certificate, the technical passport of the weapon, the insurance policy, the owner of the weapon, including the prosecution, marking, repair, and the results of the shooting.

According to one of the authors of the bill, MP from the Servant of the People party Igor Fris, the registers will help to avoid abuse.

But experts from the Ukrainian Association of Weapons Owners have a different opinion on this matter. So, according to the head of the supervisory board of the association Georgy Uchaikin, since the register of owners of weapons will be administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, abuse cannot be avoided.

"If you remember, literally in April there was a loud scandal when the head of the National Police announced that they had unscrupulous employees who were selling weapons permits. As if no one knew this! But the most interesting thing is that since then the system has not been changed. In this law, they again want to leave the register under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We insist that it be transferred to the Ministry of Justice," the expert said.

The bill will have to go through the circles of parliamentary hearings, which should not only trim it, but also expand it (we are talking about clarifying various criteria and norms). So, for example, in the matter of necessary defense, according to the document, you can defend yourself with a weapon from an attacker only if he is armed with cold weapons or firearms.

In addition, the parliament also registered a related bill No. 5709 "On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of Ukraine to implement the provisions of the Law of Ukraine On the Right to Use Civil Firearms.

The document toughens responsibility for violations in the field of arms handling. For example, for violation of the rules of carrying or transportation, the fine is proposed to be increased from 7-10 to 70-100 non-taxable minimums, for violation of the terms of notification of changing the storage location - from 5-7 to 50-70.

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