Czech Bill Would Empower Civilans to Fight Terrorists

A controversial amendment calls for lawmakers to let armed Czech citizens defend themselves against terrorists attacks

A recent poll says Czechs feel unsafe—43% of people surveyed see the security situation in the country as worsening.

Now Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec (CSSD) has introduced a bill intended to bolster the security of the nation.

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The proposed amendment to state security constitutional law would give civilians the right to defend themselves against a terrorist attack. The bill, he said, “Would more accurately define the rights of Czech citizens who carry a gun.”

Minister Chovanec cited the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Israel as a situation in which it benefitted citizens to carry weapons.

Czech law currently allows citizens to possess and carry a concealed firearm. The holder of a firearms license, however, may only legally shoot a gun in those places where it is authorized by legislation, such as a shooting range, or to defend oneself, others and property.

“It’s not so that anyone who wants a gun, goes to buy it, registers it, as in America, waits and gets it. That’s certainly not a model. There will be far stricter controls than there are now,” Chovanec has said.

There are 798,424 weapons registered in the Czech Republic, of which 357,338 are self-loading pistols, rifles, and revolvers—the bill aims to modify situations in which it is permissible to use these weapons.

The bill is a reactionary measure to a recent EU directive that would tighten the rules for the acquisition and possession of firearms across the European Union.

The bill’s opponents are calling the plan hasty, saying it isn’t suitable to amend a constitutional law simply due to the recent terrorist attacks. 

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