The draft law № 4335-1 “On Civil Weapons and Ammunition” is an alternative to the previously presented bill № 4335 from the “Servant of the People” faction, which was previously criticized by the chairman of the Ukrainian Association of Weapons Owners Heorhiy Uchaikin.

Author’s team of developers of the alternative project: Sharaskin Andriy Andriyovych – People’s Deputy of Ukraine of the IX convocation; Andriy Krymets – founder of the Movement of Weapon Owners “Your Voice Will Affect”; Serhiy Krymets – founder of the Movement of Weapon Owners “Your Voice Will Affect”; Vitaliy Kolomiets – lawyer, partner of Orekhovsky and Kolomiets Law Firm; Yuri Minkin – lawyer; Mykola Orekhovsky – lawyer, partner of the Orekhovsky and Kolomiets Law Firm; Gerohiy Uchaikin – Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Association of Weapon Owners; Stanislav Shevchenko – lawyer, partner of Yurgazenergo Law Firm; Ivan Chorny is a lawyer, a partner of Golovan & Partners.

The main purpose of the law is to regulate the acquisition, storage and use of weapons by individuals and legal entities. The norms of the draft law are aimed, first of all, at guaranteeing the constitutional right of citizens of Ukraine to protection of their life, health and property and bringing the normative regulation of this sphere of public relations in line with the Constitution.

In addition, the law should regulate the existing legal relations in the field of civilian weapons circulation, which are still unregulated or contradictory, regulate and introduce new legal relations that will promote the development of civil society, economy and sports, fight corruption, reduce illegal weapons and gradually its withdrawal from the shadow circulation.

The explanatory note to the bill states that given the existing threats and dangers to the citizens of Ukraine, there is an urgent need to adopt laws aimed at implementing Articles 3, 27, 29, 30 of the Constitution of Ukraine, including the Law governing the protection of citizens their lives and health, as well as the lives and health of others from criminal encroachments with firearms, as well as bringing the existing regulations on weapons in line with the Constitution.

Because weapons are a thing of the material world, to which the right of private property extends. At the same time, only the laws of Ukraine determine the legal regime of ownership and the principles of entrepreneurship.

Firearms are the most effective means of exercising citizens’ constitutional right to self-defense. The vast majority of developed countries (established democracies) have provided this right to their citizens, which has helped reduce the number of violent crimes against the person and crimes against property. The world leaders in firearms ownership are the United States, Switzerland and Finland, with a rate of 88 to 45 civilian firearms per 100 people. In Ukraine, this figure is 5.5 units.

The experience of the Baltic States, Georgia and Moldova shows that providing citizens with the right to self-defense with civilian firearms during the year since the adoption of the relevant laws reduces street crime by 40-60%. At the same time, the introduction of strict rules and restrictions on the possession of civilian weapons in the UK has led to a rapid increase in crime: 88% of violent crimes, 101% of armed robberies, 105% of rapes and 24% of homicides (5 years).

Today, the circulation of civilian firearms is regulated by special laws in all European countries and in most post-Soviet countries, the circulation of short-barreled firearms is allowed in most European countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Belarus.

The experience of the above-mentioned countries shows that officially registered civilian weapons are used in the commission of intentional crimes in less than 0.001% of the total number of crimes.

Given that the state is currently unable to protect its citizens from criminal encroachment, the possession of firearms by citizens will be a determining deterrent for a significant proportion of criminals.

In addition, today, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, citizens legally own firearms in the total number of about 1.3 million units, and, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, in 2016 only 69 cases of legal weapons were recorded (including careless handling and cases use of weapons for self-defense), ie 0.000056% of the total number of legal firearms in Ukraine.

At the same time, according to the organization Small Arms Survey (Geneva, Switzerland), which investigates the circulation of illegal firearms in the world, in Ukraine in unregistered circulation is from 3 to 5 million units of firearms.

Despite the large number of weapons in circulation, these legal relations in the country are still not regulated by any law. All issues related to the circulation of civilian weapons are resolved exclusively by bylaws of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and other ministries and departments.

There is a question of criminal prosecution for illegal handling of weapons in the actual absence of the relevant law.

It is quite predictable that Ukraine will be forced to pay significant compensation to those who have suffered as a result of the legal nihilism of the prosecutor’s office and the judiciary.

Normative acts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, which regulate the circulation of firearms in the state, in fact duplicate the main provisions of the former Soviet legislation. The vast majority of norms are now an anachronism and do not regulate even the established social relations in the field of arms trafficking. Thus, there is still no single state register of weapon owners, no legal basis for the activities of shooting sports organizations, no classification of modern weapons, and so on.

There is a lack of harmonized terminology and classification, which leads, on the one hand, to free interpretation and inconsistency, and on the other hand, creates a basis for the growth of corruption in this area. This state of affairs can neither ensure the normal settlement of these already existing social relations, nor guarantee citizens the protection of their constitutional right to protection.

At the same time, it should be borne in mind that the concentration of all levers of influence in the hands of one executive body, as in this case in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, creates a basis for bureaucracy and corruption in the field of civilian weapons.

Lack of legal support for the control regime in the field of firearms and ammunition, obsolescence of the existing regulations do not allow citizens to effectively and legally exercise their right to protection, and public authorities to effectively control the circulation of civilian weapons.

This legal situation also hinders the development of economic relations and the development of shooting in the country.