There are numerous lessons to be learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One of the most important of lessons is the value of the Second Amendment rights in America. The colonists had recently won a hard-fought war with the greatest military in the world. They understood the importance of being prepared for war. The people of Ukraine also understand the importance of citizens having access to guns.
In an article written by Bernadette Hassan, Natalia MeInyk, communications director for the Ukraine-based Bendulidze Free Market, spoke about the situation in Ukraine before the Russian invasion. “You could not own handguns legally; only hunting weapons if you had a license. All handguns were ‘award’ weapons, randomly distributed by our Ministry of Defense. Usually, you needed to have some connections to get these weapons.”
Things changed a little during the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Some citizens, but not all citizens, were armed but with restrictions. “In areas not under immediate attack, the government said to these territorial units, ‘If you are not under immediate danger of attack, please return the weapons. We will safely store them in a warehouse. If something happens, you can come and get them.’ Of course, [the Ukrainian people] said, ‘No, thank you.’”
There has been a slight improvement in Ukraine, sort of like “two steps forward, one step back.” Ukraine government wants to arm citizens while also restricting access with mandatory storage of guns in a warehouse. MeInyk continued with her explanation.
It never was such a big issue in the broader Ukrainian society, because we were a peaceful nation. A lot of people honestly believed [and] I was one of them: ‘Why would you need a weapon? We are not going to war, and if you are not a hunter … why do you need it?’
But after the Russian invasion, it appears we really do need it.
There was a cultural change in Ukraine about self-defense after the invasion. “It was nearly impossible to get a time slot at a shooting range because so many Ukrainians went in to learn how to actually handle a gun, because they have no idea…. It’s not the case of the Ukrainian government sending Ukrainian people to die…. This is the conscious decision of thousands of Ukrainians to protect their freedom, protect their land, and to protect the future of their children.”
There is a meme making the rounds on social media claiming that there are more hunting licenses sold in the United States each year than the number of soldiers in the ten largest armies in the world. Snopes rated the meme partly true. There are more hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps sold in the U.S. in 2018 (about 37 million) than the number of total members in the world’s ten largest armies (about 25 million). However, one hunter could purchase a license in more than one state and have numerous tags, permits, and stamps.
Nevertheless, there are millions of hunters in the United States who know how to use rifles and pistols. There are millions of other people who own guns and use them for target practice or shooting clay pigeons. In addition, there are still millions of other people who purchase guns for self-protection and know how to use them. The number of armed hunters could be one of the reasons why America has not been invaded by a foreign nation. The writers of the Second Amendment had it correct when they guaranteed Americans the right to keep and bear arms.