BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – As Kyiv, Ukraine, continues to be pummeled by Russian airstrikes, private businesses across America are sending weapons directly into the war zone. An American gun manufacturer is sending 2,500 piston driven, semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles to Kyiv, helping arm civilians who stayed in the country to fight against the Russians.
"We're just a passionate group of people, and when liberty or freedom is in jeopardy then you know, we take that personally. For us to be able to help has just been an overwhelming feeling, and I'm proud of my team," Adams Arms president Jason East said.
Adams Arms is preparing to send the first of five planned shipments to Ukraine this week. The company is losing $300,000 selling the guns at a discounted price, but believe it's an honor to help out.
"The good thing about being a private business is, you know, government has bureaucracy and red tape. Sometimes it takes longer, you know, as a private company, we were able to react really, really quickly," East said.
Adams Arms has worked with gun distributors across Ukraine for the last five years. East's business partners asked for help, after gun stores in Kyiv sold out almost overnight after the Russian invasion. The company's business partners in Ukraine needed weapons fast.
"It's that demand that led them back to us. And said that they needed an immediate order. Our specific resource is still there in the area. He's just outside of Kyiv. We talk with him almost on a daily basis. Some of his immediate family has left the country and gone to some neighboring areas within Europe, but he has chosen to stay there, you know, do his job, distribute weapons to civilians, and then join in the effort himself," East said.
Adams Arms has been working with the Commerce Department and other business partners to put proper licensing and logistics into place to ensure firearms would arrive safely.
"The shipment was supposed to leave a couple of days before the Russian invasion. Obviously after that happened, we weren't able to fly within 100 miles of the Ukrainian border. And so ordinarily, to get a permit approved through the Department of Commerce is usually about a 30-day process for us. So we're sitting here wondering what we were going to do, thankfully the Department of Commerce worked very quickly," East said.
The company set the transaction to take place in Poland, as an intermediary, to ensure the shipment is not intercepted. With regard to the threat of interception, Adams Arms staggers their shipments, separating arms, ammunition and armor.
For those on the production line at Adams Arms, it's an honor to answer the call for help.
"As a veteran I served and a lot of other people served because we wanted to make a difference. And if you remember when 911 happened, a lot of people joined the military here… And for Ukraine, this is that moment for them. This is the moment for them, where they have to stand up and defend their country."