Late Friday, it was suggested that I check into the legality of donating guns and ammunition to the Ukrainians. There is a precedent. During World War II, Americans donated guns to England. Besides, most of us have more than a few firearms we would be willing to donate to a worthy cause, and there are few causes worthier.
Unfortunately, I learned that unless Joe Biden’s State Department or the DoD get involved, it’s not likely to happen.
The American Committee for the Defense of British Homes ran this ad in the November 1940 issue of “American Rifleman.”
“The reason you can’t run guns into the Ukraine is the ITAR,” said Jim Dykes, a program director for a large defense contractor and an ITAR expert. “The ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is a federal law which regulates the import and export of defense-related products including arms and ammunition.”
Getting the State Department or the DoD to approve anything, Dykes said, is “definitely a lengthy process.”
“Typically, it takes months not weeks for approval, and it can take even longer,” he said. “If you get approval, fine, but if you’re trying to donate guns to a country without going through State or Defense, you’ll run afoul of ITAR and risk everything.”
No firm capable of moving shipping containers full of guns and ammo would get involved, he said, absent official permission.
“If a company has ITAR approval to sell arms internationally and they try to deliver guns to the Ukrainians with going through the process, it’s highly likely that their international export licenses would be revoked by the State Department,” Dykes explained.
If only there was a fair-minded, freedom-loving public official who could help clear a path through ITAR and other federal roadblocks, then we could all give the brave Ukrainians a real fighting chance.