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What Does the Invasion of Ukraine Mean for European Private Firearms Ownership?


One of the interesting implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the potential for expanded legal civilian ownership of firearms, particularly rifles, in many of the smaller countries in Europe. We saw the Ukrainian government jump to legalize civilian arms ownership immediately after the invasion, recognizing its utility in countering the Russian attack. The idea of rifle-armed civilians fighting off jet aircraft is often derided, but in reality invasion and occupation require boots on the ground - and those boots are quite vulnerable to rifle-armed civilians. The US has certainly experienced that fact in several major military endeavors, and Russia has periodically rediscovered it in Finland, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine. For a small country unsure of whether they would actually receive backup from NATO or other allies, the idea of a widespread civilian competency with rifles could be a significant deterrent to invasion - and a means of resistance should invasion happen anyway. It is also something that requires no government expenditure - simply allow people to own rifles and encourage martial style competition like the SRA matches in Finland (and elsewhere) and people will pay for their own arms, ammunition, and training.

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