Professional militaries field standard-issue weapons to streamline logistics and maintenance across the force. Having a wide array of weapons in an army makes supplying ammunition and parts more difficult. However, in a fight for survival, any and all weapons are issued to willing fighters; if it can go bang and shoot a bullet, a military on the ropes isn’t too fussy about using different kinds of firearms. To that end, the City of Miami is collecting guns through a voluntary buyback program and sending them to Ukraine.
Seeking to reduce gun violence, cities and police departments hold events to buy guns off the street. Like in Miami, these buyback programs will take old, new or found guns, no questions asked. In exchange, people receive gift cards. Miami’s program offers $50 for handguns and $100 for rifles and shotguns; $150 for firearms chambered in .223, AR-15s and AK-47s. The city clarifies that homemade and replica firearms are not eligible for the buypack program. Airsoft and BB guns do not qualify, either.
Partnering with the Ukraine Congress Committee of America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Miami expanded its buyback program with Guns 4 Ukraine. Instead of destroying the firearms purchased through buybacks, the city is sending them to Ukraine to arm the nation’s defenders. “We were able to get 68 weapons and firearms off the street,” said Miami Police Chief Manny Morales during a June 2022 buyback event. “It looks like a few of them, after further examination and work on them, will be fit to send over to our friends in Ukraine.”
In addition to guns purchased through the buyback program, firearms confiscated by Miami PD were sent to Ukraine. Another charity, the Ukrainian Arsenal of Liberty, coordinated the transfer of the guns from Miami to Ukraine. “The first case in the history of the transfer of small arms confiscated in the United States took place,” said Ukrainian Parliamentarian and founder of the charity Maryan Zablotskiy in a Facebook post on August 1, 2023. “One-hundred-and-one units are already in Kyiv.”
The firearms sent to Ukraine are all in working order. Moreover, many appear to be chambered in 5.56x45mm/.223 Remington and 9x19mm. Ukrainian soldiers already widely use these cartridges in firearms provided by NATO and other Western countries. AK-style rifles, chambered in 7.62x39mm or 5.45x39mm, are also easily supported by existing Ukrainian stockpiles of the Soviet/Russian standard ammunition, domestically-produced ammunition and donations from other former Soviet states.
Feature image: Maryan Zablotskiy/Facebook