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Ukraine advances weapons regulation bill: Amendments aim to formalize ownership of three million trophy guns

The proposed bill mandates firearm declaration, imposing penalties for illegal possession, while officials address concerns over short-barreled firearm use and collaborate with the EU to prevent weapon smuggling.
A Ukrainian Territorial Defense unit soldier with a WWII era SVT-40 rifle outfitted with a modern suppressor and thermal sight. Photo sourced from social media.
Ukraine advances weapons regulation bill: Amendments aim to formalize ownership of three million trophy guns

The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed that European counterparts anticipate that Ukrainians will possess nearly three million weapons units after the war with Russia, according to Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Bohdan Drapiatyi.

In March, the parliament of Ukraine, in the initial reading, passed a bill to amend the “Ensuring the Participation of Civilian Persons in Defense of Ukraine” law.

The bill aims to regulate the rules for handling weapons, establish critical norms, and grant civilians the right to declare firearms and ammunition.

Regarding the bill on declaring weapons, Bohdan Drapiatyi emphasized that it implies ensuring proper control over firearms that are not registered in Ukraine due to Russia’s war and protecting individuals who found weapons and possess them without the required permit.

“An individual must declare it, obtain documents for it, and during the period of martial law and 90 days after its termination, keep it for defensive purposes,” he said.

The deputy minister stated that following the bill’s adoption, citizens will need to contact the units of the National Police to declare such weapons.

“They will need to go to the relevant unit of the National Police, bring the weapon, and an officer will check it in databases. This procedure will be convenient and free, and the weapon will be returned to the citizen for further storage within one day,” Drapiatyi assured.

The deputy minister added that criminal and administrative liability is currently established, specifically under Article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which specifies that acquiring, possessing, or using weapons without a proper permit is punishable, with sanctions ranging from three to seven years of imprisonment.

“If the law is adopted, then a citizen who possesses an unregistered weapon will declare it and receive the appropriate document, which ensures an individual’s protection and confirms legal grounds for owning a weapon,” he stated.

The deputy minister of Internal Affairs pointed out that today, heated debates revolve around the question of using short-barreled firearms.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ position is to grant Ukrainian citizens the right to own and keep short-barreled firearms, but without the right of concealed carry. However, we need to ensure a secure infrastructure, including developing a shooting range system where citizens can learn to use firearms,” Drapiatyi stated.

On 12 April, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said that Ukrainians might have up to five million units of trophy firearms on their hands due to Russia’s war.

Earlier, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Katerina Pavlichenko stated that as of mid-April, Ukraine did not record any cases of firearms smuggling beyond the country’s borders.

The official’s statement came following a meeting with Managing Director and Civilian Operations Commander at the European External Action Service Stefano Tomat, within the framework of the European Police Congress.

“We plan to continue cooperation and exchange information with EU agencies and member countries,” Pavlichenko noted.

In addition, Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Additionally, stated that due to close collaboration between the EU and the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, firearms from combat zones do not fall into the hands of criminals within the territory of the European Union, UkrInform reports.

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