This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 31, 2022:
The day before the Russian invasion, Ukrainian citizens suffered under some of the most severe gun-ownership restrictions in the world: One had to be 21 to buy a shotgun and 25 to own a rifle. Handgun ownership was banned altogether.
A background check was required, along with a mental exam, the payment of a fee, taking a gun-safety class, and owning a government-certified gun safe for storage.
The process was designed to impede approval, which often took months and usually resulted in permission being denied.
That same day — February 23, 2022 — the Ukrainian parliament passed a law allowing Ukrainians to buy all the firearms they wanted. President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted:
We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.
It has been reported that between 10,000 and 25,000 fully automatic rifles were snapped up by Ukrainians that same day.
As English writer Samuel Johnson once famously said, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
From the NRA’s institute for Legislative Action:
Anti-gun commentators — Joe Biden among them — often mock the idea that an armed populace poses any obstacle to a modern military force. But some are now singing a different tune, now that ordinary Ukrainians are taking up arms in response to [the] Russian invasion.
From the Firearms Policy Coalition:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unequivocally reinforces the importance of the right to keep and bear arms beyond defense against single attackers and reminds Americans that the Second Amendment is as relevant today as ever.
From Bearing Arms:
Better late than never. This is a “break glass in case of emergency” moment, which is why the country’s parliament is … willing to reverse decades of restrictions and allow citizens the ability to carry firearms.
From Gun Owners of America:
Severe gun control policies infringed on the right of Ukrainian citizens to keep and bear arms until the very moment a nuclear world superpower launched its ground invasion.
Now it’s up to the government to pass out as many fully automatic weapons as it can … [so] that civilians might successfully repel a Russian invasion.
From Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
While we’ve seen reports that the Ukraine Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has voted to ease restrictions allowing civilians to carry arms outside their homes, in our country this has been the constitutional law of the land since our nation was founded.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms has protected this country since the beginning, and what is happening right now in Ukraine should be a lesson to all of those who push for citizen disarmament and a ban on private gun ownership how perilous that would be….
The right to keep and bear arms has never been about shooting ducks, but about protecting our right as citizens of the greatest nation on earth to defend our homes and families immediately against the kind of international outrage now unfolding in eastern Europe.
From John Lott, founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center:
A lot of these countries have laws left over from the Communist era when gun ownership was basically banned. In the Ukraine, less than 2 percent legally owned a gun until the invasion. Then 18,000 fully automatic rifles were handed out in one day.
Even the far-left media outlet Occupy Democrats reversed itself. It tweeted:
Ukraine’s Interior Minister announces that 10,000 automatic rifles have been handed out to the civilians of Kyiv as they prepare to fight tooth and nail to defend their homes against Putin’s invasions. RT (retweet) if you stand with the brave Ukrainian People!
Putin failed to learn a valuable lesson from another tyrant bent on enslaving people: Adolf Hitler. On the same that day France surrendered to his Nazi blitzkrieg, June 25, 1940, he ordered his generals to draw up a plan to invade and subjugate Switzerland. The plan, called Operation Tannenbaum, which called for 11 German divisions and 15 more Italian divisions — between 300,000 and 500,000 troops — was drawn up but never implemented. As Michael Peck, writing for The National Interest, explained why:
The Axis would have faced formidable opposition. As with Sweden, Swiss neutrality was an armed neutrality.… All Swiss men were liable for conscription, and all were issued with rifles that they kept at home in case of mobilization.
For a nation of just four million people, the Swiss could have mustered an army as large as 850,000 strong. Largely mountainous Switzerland, where German tanks would have been useless, would have been a tough nut for blitzkrieg to crack.