Op-Ed: Ukraine war reintroduces U.S. politicians to the Second Amendment

Ukrainian police should burn their gun registration records now

Will Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military overrun Ukraine like Adolf Hitler’s army overran France in 1940, or will Kyiv become Mr. Putin’s Stalingrad? Ukraine’s armed population could play an increasingly decisive role, from house-to-house fighting in the cities to guerilla strikes in the countryside. In the United States, Second Amendment supporters see Ukrainian resistance as exemplifying the virtues of an armed citizenry, while detractors are aghast at the implications.

On Feb. 23, as Russian troops stood poised to attack, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) passed a law granting citizens the right to carry firearms for self-defense outside their homes. Ukrainians could buy AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles.

When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine the following day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who previously resisted liberalizing firearm laws — directed that any citizen who wanted to defend the country would be given a weapon. More than 25,000 automatic rifles reportedly were distributed in Kyiv alone.


As late as 2018, there were 892,854 registered firearms in Ukraine, compared to an estimated 3.5 million “illegal” firearms. This is the same pattern in states like California and New York, where laws requiring the registration of so-called “assault weapons” are largely ignored.


When Nazi Germany overran France in 1940, Nazi military officials posted notices that all who failed to turn in their firearms within 24 hours would be executed. French police had gun registration records, making it convenient for the Germans to find the “legal” gun owners. But many Frenchmen had not registered their guns and, despite daily reports of executions, hid them. The arms would be used by the Resistance.

I can’t be sure if Mr. Putin’s invaders have been posting similar notices, but now would be a good time for Ukrainian police to burn their gun registration records. Those who never registered won’t have that specific worry.

Click here to read the entire op-ed in The Washington Times.

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