A brutal killing happened recently in Kyiv: the director of one of the construction firms was beaten to death with baseball bats. According to witnesses, when the man got out of his car, two unknown offenders attacked him with bats and killed within minutes. Two month earlier, in Mykolayv, eight people killed a truck driver with similar bats. As we can see, not only TV series characters use "sport items" as a weapon. Atypical weapon becomes more and more popular in Ukraine, and ForUm has decided to find out what other 'items' apart from usual knuckle-dusters, nunchucks and crow bars are now used for street fights.

Alternative baseball

Modern professional baseball bats vary by quality and price. They are made of either wood or metal, though US professional baseball league requires only wooden ones.  To buy a baseball bat is very easy nowadays. You should not even leave the house, as all internet-sops provide home delivery service. A simple wooden bat costs from 30 hryvnias and an aluminum one - from 200 hryvnias.

Describing the product, sellers often write: "Aluminum bat is a good present for a sportsman, boss or any man. It is a useful item to have at home and a necessary item to have in the car!" Having read such advertisement, we searched internet for "baseball bats for self-defense" and found 20 thousand results. Demand breeds supply, and baseball bats are now more popular as a weapon. Many people now keep it in the car or near the front door of the house to fight uninvited guests.

The pen is mightier than sword

Among other popular toys for men, there is a 'tactical pen'. It is not cheap (from 320 hryvnias and higher), but also easy to find through internet. The description says that such pen is the outright gift for fans of 'military style'. Moreover, the ad says tactical pens are a reliable, multifunctional instrument.

There is a pen- tinderbox, which can be used for writing, self-defense and setting fire. There is a pen- kubotan, which can be used for both writing and self-defense; it works as yawara - a Japanese weapon used in various martial arts.

"Lumens" and walking-sticks with a secret

Multifunctional flashlights, often called lumens, also become popular as a self-defense mean, as its light can dazzle an aggressor. Moreover, such flashlights are equipped with a pepper mace and a tag to break glass. It also can be used as a bat. 

Among other popular men's accessories there is a walking-stick. Apart from medical function, the sticks played a role of an accessory to complete the image of a popular and successful man. Sticks were often made with a hide, where men could keep combs, flasks, dices and weapon, of course. Now internet-shops offer modern prototypes of walking sticks equipped with a knife, flashlight, shocker, etc.

Dura lex sed lex

According to the current legislation of Ukraine, special permission is not required only for purchasing tear-gas spray cans and an airgun with maximum bullet speed of less than 100 m/s and caliber of less than 4.5 mm. Other personal weapons require special licenses - license for a gas gun upon the attainment of the age of 18, license for a slug gun - upon reaching the age of 21, and rifle gun - at the age of 25.

There are also several categories of people, who have the right to purchase baton round projectors due to professional risks. The categories include law enforcement officers, judges and their close relatives, militaries, members of the parliament and journalists. Moreover, in February, the Cabinet formed a list of special means guards of private security firm can be equipped with. The list includes helmets, tear-gas spray cans, non-lethal weapons, batons, plastic handcuffs and stun guns. 

Illicit possession of weapons is a punishable offence. In particular, article 263 of the Criminal Code stipulates that carry, possession, purchasing, manufacturing, repair and sale of firearms, ammunition and explosives be punished by imprisonment for 2-5 years. Another norm of the Criminal Code provides for punishment (fine, detention, imprisonment) for carry, possession, purchasing, manufacturing, repair and sale of daggers, switchblades, knuckle-dusters and other cold weapons.

By intent not by accident

The phrase "other cold weapons" does not exactly clarify whether the items being examined by ForUm fall within the scope of the law. To learn more ForUm has asked specialists for help.
Thus, non-factional MP, chairman of the subcommittee of the parliamentary committee on legal policy, general of law Serhiy Mishchenko explained that only expert investigation can determine whether this or that item can be considered a cold weapon.

""Every criminal case starts with an expertise, and only an expert can determine whether this or that item is a weapon. You should understand that any item, be it a stick, bottle, can or even a toothpick, can be used as a lethal weapon. Obviously, it is impossible to ban everything. It will be absurd to ban selling heavy objects, for example, just because they can be used to injure or kill a man.  As for the legislation on weapons in general, well it definitely must be improved and perfected, but still it is impossible to take into account absolutely everything."

In his turn, human right activist Eduard Bagyrov told ForUm that he happened to defend people who were charged with possession of cold weapons or used items, which could be included into the category "cold weapons".

"If a person carries an item, which can be considered a cold weapon, like nunchucks or a fighting club, police officers have the right to detain this person and institute a case against him. As for items being sold through internet, I also had cases when people used them and were fined for this, but nobody has ever been imprisoned. However, taking into account the criminal situation in the country, I would buy permitted weapons myself and would recommend my friends to do the same."

Chief Public Relations Officer of the Interior Ministry Volodymyr Polishchuk told ForUm that legality of the so-called street weapons is a philosophical question.

"If a person intends to commit a crime, a murder for example, it does not matter what he uses as a weapon. A stone, a tube, a bat or any other object can be used as an instrument of crime. People have the right to carry objects not banned by the law, and it is not the job of police officer to check bags for presence of items, which theoretically can injure other people. Every person has a right for self-defense and can carry permitted items. However, he should remember the principle of the Criminal Code - do not exceed limits of necessary defense."

Mind is stronger than fists

As we can see, the law can punish for criminal use of any object, even a toothpick, and it is up to court to define the degree of guilt. However, if a law-abiding citizen has a baseball bat in the car or a "lumen" in the bag, he cannot not be detained or punished for this. Anything can be used for self-defense, but it is important not to exaggerate. ForUm sincerely hopes none of our readers will ever need to use means for self-defense, and that the above-mentioned items will remain only new-fashioned souvenirs.

Yulia Artamoshchenko


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