American gun makers are learning that shipping weapons to Ukraine is no easy feat these days with all the red tape.
Newsweek recounted some, like Kel-Tec, knew the process and got guns to the eastern European country. Others, however, have faced a good bit of government regulation to send the weapons.
What We Know
- Some gun makers got an arms export license, shipped guns in days
- Others face months in dealing with International Traffic in Arms Regulations
- US Commerce Department working “rapidly” to process requests to send the weapons
Florida Company Has Success In Sending Weapons To Ukraine
Adrian Kellgren’s Florida company has worked out well since starting in 1991. The company makes shotguns, “high efficiency” rifles, and pistols.
The company has shipped internationally before and knows how to get an arms export license.
How did that work? Kellgren told The Associated Press a longtime Ukraine customer stopped answering his calls over a $200,000 shipment of guns. Instead of returning the shipment, the owner got the guns sent to Ukrainian citizens. The Associated Press said Kellgren had a Ukrainian neighbor connection that helped with the legal gun-running.
Kel-Tec wants to do more, but their commercial license has limits. They told the Associated Press they could only export 10,000 firearms.
“The American people want to do something,” Kellgren told the AP. “We enjoy our freedoms, we cherish those things.”
Kellgren added it was “heartbreaking” to see a group of people “getting hammered like this.”
According to a New York Times article this week, the US government will send rifles, pistols, machine guns, and grenade launchers by Eastern and Western standards.
A national police database said Ukraine gun owners had 892,854 registered guns in 2018. Another Small Arms Survey group estimated 3,569,000 illegal firearms in Ukraine.
There’s no telling how many guns are in the besieged country. In late February, government officials said they gave civilians over 25,000 automatic rifles, 10 million rounds of ammunition, and unknown numbers RPGs.
Other Gun Makers Not So Lucky
Others face months of government red tape, frustrating Americans hoping to help Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders. According to EasyExport, a typical seller has to screen buyers, confirm their buyers have import permits, get proper licensing, etc.
As the invasion enters its first month, peace talks have not worked out. The US Commerce Department told Reuters it was working “rapidly” to process the requests.
Other in getting the weapons to Ukraine include theft. One New York TV station, WNBC, reported someone stole 400 bulletproof vests destined for the war-torn country.
Local New York law enforcement donated the equipment. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America were storing them until they could be shipped.
The TV station said a nearby deli’s security camera caught people in masks taking vests in boxes from the building. The crooks used three different vans, and police are investigating the crime.