During the day, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, without warning or announcements, disbanded the entire Service that issued documents for weapons in Ukraine. Holders of issued certificates are advised to prepare for inspections.
Head of the National Police Ihor Klymenko said that reports of corruption schemes began to come from the regions during an inspection by the Department of Internal Security. Inspection of the work of arms control units lasted six months.
In particular, they found a scheme for issuing permits for hunting rifled firearms, smooth-bore weapons and nonlethal pistol – devices for shooting rubber bullets.
Permits were issued with violations, sometimes even without the participation of the owner.
“The corrupt police officers shamelessly posted advertisements for the registration of weapons without documents in groups of popular messengers. We have information about more than 2,000 cases of issuing weapons permits with gross violations of procedure and legislation, using fake documents,” Klymenko said.
At this stage, nine police officers were identified who organized and participated in this scheme. Among them are officials of the Central Office of the National Police and workers in the regions.
The head of the National Police emphasized that among the customers of the service were law enforcement officers, deputies of different levels, and representatives of state authorities.
Dismissals and checks
Four employees of the Department of Preventive Activities in the central office have already been dismissed from the police. Including – the first deputy head of the profile department and the head of the police permitting system.
Also, five responsible employees in the regions were dismissed.
The Permitting Service itself has been completely disbanded, the order was signed today by Ihor Klymenko. All heads of territorial police units received orders to seal the archives of the permitting service.
Instead, a new unit will be created with other workers who will "do the job properly."
"In the near future it will be presented to the public," Klymenko said.
Each personal file of the owner of the weapon in Ukraine will be checked separately regarding the legality of obtaining a permit. More than 200,000 permits, which were issued with violations, will be canceled, weapons confiscated.
"Now our task is to conduct a comprehensive internal investigation. We will not give unscrupulous former employees a single chance to appeal their dismissal in court. In addition, all materials received on this crime will be transferred to the State Bureau of Investigation," Klymenko stressed.
Verification of the owners
So far, the police have not reported details of the upcoming checks. It is only known that it is difficult to calculate the actual number of registered weapons today. There is no unified all-Ukrainian database of weapon owners.
Records in the territorial divisions of the National Police of Ukraine are often carried out on paper and are difficult to control.
"Due to the need to renew the permit for a weapon every three years, the data on its owners is lost: if the data was only on paper, and the owner did not voluntarily renew the permit, consider that he becomes invisible to the system. Although he has a weapon in his hands. the number of owners of legal weapons is still unknown. This conflict should be resolved by law," Rubryka outlet reports.
How is arms trafficking regulated?
The only document regulating the circulation of civilian weapons in Ukraine is the order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs No. 622. According to him, Ukrainians can own a hunting smooth-bore weapon from the age of 21, and a rifled weapon (carbine, rifle and gun) from the age of 25. Judges, journalists, deputy assistants may have traumatic weapons. But there are many shortcomings in the order, for example, there is no regulation of the circulation of civilian weapons. These moments sparked a discussion about the creation of the law.
In January, a parliamentary committee advised the Rada to pass a bill on the circulation of civilian firearms and ammunition (No. 4335). The committee considered another bill, No. 4335-1, but it was rejected.
With a separate bill No. 4336, the MPs propose to amend the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code. In particular, according to the amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses, a citizen can be deprived of the right to own a civilian weapon for three to five years or up to ten years in the event of a systematic violation of the procedure for using this right.
Reaction of weapon owners
Users of social media, various weapon groups and blogs also reacted to the news. From the comments, it is clear that many gun owners were caught off guard by this moment. Additional inconveniences have appeared: many have sent documents for consideration to the service and now do not know where to go, if it was disbanded, someone's registration period ends a few days ago.
For example, in the ShooterSpace Facebook group, blogger Serhiy Hrynenko advises getting ready to wait, since the work of issuing and renewing permits, in his opinion, will be "paralyzed" for a long time.
"While the service will not work. All cases will be checked. And it will obviously not be fast. Therefore, everything will be paralyzed. Somehow, those who were waiting for some documents will have to wait. Recently, many" shooters "said that they had been called from the police at arms. Now it became clear why this was happening. Therefore, make sure you have safes at the place of registration of the weapon," Hrynenko writes.
Also, some users advise to check the reward weapon permissions first.
The chairman of the supervisory board of the Ukrainian Association of Arms Owners (UAVZ), Georgy Uchaikin, on Facebook, generally suggested that the purpose of the dissolution is "pressure on MPs to vote for 4335."
"Now regarding the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Well, ok, you finally exposed the scheme with the traumatic weapons. We have one more question – award weapon. Didn't report anything. Didn't notice? I think that the Temporary Investigative Commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to investigate the facts of the legality and expediency of awarding firearms is exactly what will help you," Uchaikin wrote.