An election protest in Kosovo that turned violent earlier this summer heightened a tension with neighboring nation Serbia that continues to grow. In response the Serbian government has temporarily stopped all firearm exports, a policy that includes the popular Zastava AK-pattern rifles (ZPAPs) imported and distributed stateside by Zastava Arms USA.
The company posted an announcement late last week on its official Facebook page explaining, “We are writing to inform you that the government of Serbia has officially halted the exports of weapons. While we acknowledge the current situation, we remain hopeful that this restriction will not persist for a substantial period.”
Zastava Arms USA stated, “…we want to assure you that we still have remaining quantities of ZPAPs available within the United States. However, we have made a conscious decision not to exploit this limited supply to artificially inflate our pricing. We believe it is important to maintain fair and reasonable prices, avoiding any form of price gouging.”
The news didn’t catch the company completely by surprise. On July 9 it informed its Facebook fans that, “We have been made aware of the recent news regarding the weapon export ban imposed by the Serbian government. We understand that many of you have reached out to us seeking clarity on whether this will impact the exports of ZPAP firearms from Zastava Arms USA. At this time, we would like to inform you that we have not received any official notice from Zastava Arms factory regarding the ban…As you may know, Zastava factory is owned by the Ministry of Defense, and their primary focus is to cater to the needs of the Serbian military.”
Zastava Arms was established in Serbia in 1851 and its first canon barrel came out of the factory in 1853. By World War II it was one of Europe’s biggest arms makers, with 1,000 employees.
Today the sporting arms it produces are exported to more than 30 countries, including the United States. Zastava Arms USA distributes to American enthusiasts, as well as maintaining a parts inventory and providing warrantee and repair services.