Zbroya Gun Day

I went to Zbroya Gun Day on May 14th with a libertarian friend of mine from Kyiv.

Zbroya is Ukraine’s only association of gun owners. It formed in October 2009 after a long bureaucratic process during which the founder, George Uchaikyn, obtained permission from the first deputies of Ukraine’s Army, Police and Justice Department. (more info here)

My friend Vlad and I walked through a park to reach the lodge, unsure of what to expect. We found tables and food and live rock music. The event was very well organized.

All those participating in the shooting portion were broken into three groups which rotated between pistol, shotgun and rifle ranges. A lady followed each group and recorded scores. I wish I’d realized from the beginning that I was being graded.

As is the case with similar events I’ve attended in the U.S. the staff emphasized safety. Each rotation began with a block of instruction geared toward beginners. At the pistol range, we didn’t even load the weapon. We only fired it.

I expected to do best at the rifle range. Even though they were Mosin bolt-action rifles, I thought my experience with M16s and M4s would translate. However my best rotation was the trap range. I hit six out of ten.

After the shooting portion of the event, everyone made a determined move to the food. The staff tallied the scores and Gregory, the founder of Zbroya, thanked sponsors and participants, and announced the winner. The highest post total was a hundred sixty something. Third place was a hundred forty something. Mine was a hundred fourteen. Maybe next time.

The participants I spoke sound very similar to their American counterparts. After getting to know you, they express frustration at the legal difficulties of gun ownership, and of common people’s fear and bias against guns. They say what I’ve heard many time before, “if only people would come to our events and try it for themselves.”

From what people told me at the event, it seems no definitive gun ownership laws exist in Ukraine, at least not for normal guns. Certain types of people (journalists, politicians, hunters) are explicitly allowed pneumatic (compressed-air-powered) guns.

The confusion about laws is consistent with my experience. Over the course of my ten month stay in Ukraine, I’ve gotten completely different and diametrically opposed answers about gun laws.

I’m very happy people like George exist, who are willing to jump the considerable bureaucratic hurdles and create a organization for gun owners in Ukraine.

For any gun ownership skeptics who may be reading my blog, I would say that the idea of a well armed society might, at first glace, seem violent, but experience tells the opposite story. (more info)

Gun laws only disarm law-abiding people. The most dangerous society is one in which only criminals and government are able to exercise lethal force.

3 Comments

  1. elmer

    This does not relate to guns, but I thought this might interest you.

    There is much talk about land “reform” in Ukraine, and whether to “allow” the sale of land. There is much fear-mongering about “foreigners” taking over all of Ukraine’s land if land sales are permitted.

    Some time when you have some time to waste, you should look at what passes for “economic” analysis in Ukraine on the Big Politics show from June 17:

    http://politika.inter.ua/uk/episode/114

    This includes the communist representative’s harangues advocating aboslute bans on the sale of land, and socialist Moroz expounding how the “government” of the US has bought up all the land in the US! He didn’t say whether it was federal, state of local government – just “government.”

    They also point out that despite the ban on sale of land, big shots like Zviahilsky and others in Ukraine have managed to accumulate big chunks of land.

    The good thing is that you can fast forward if you want.

    Since you are an economist, I thought you might be interested in the “analysis.”

    Reply
    1. Roman

      This is a great depiction of lack of economic literacy. Thanks for posting. Moroz’s comments trickle down to the public’s understanding. More than one Ukrainian has explained to me how wonderful it is that most land in the US is owned by government.

      My own views shouldn’t be secret, but I elaborate upon them here.

      Reply
  2. elmer

    I read your editorial at the link you posted, and that was essentially the argument that one of the self-styled “liberal” members of the Tymoshenko bloc made on the show.

    I keep wondering how land can have any value, more than just nominal value, if one can’t sell it. And yet, Yanukovych and his cronies acquired several hundred acres for Mezhihirya, and Zviahilsky and the others mentioned on the show have accumulated vast tracts of land. Lozinsky, the member of Parliament who killed the 55-year man who lived with his mother for “trespassing” on open fields, also owns quite a bit of land.

    It’s a scam for government insiders to acquire land very cheaply through abuse of government – as is typical in Ukraine.

    I also keep noticing how, these days, some political talk show programs take the time to make guests stop and explain very basic concepts for the benefit of the audience and viewers.

    And yet, noone challenged Moroz on his statement that “the government” owns all the land in the US.

    It’s the blind leading the blind.

    Again – sorry, didn’t mean to hijack the gun thread.

    I do appreciate your response.

    Reply

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