Czech government supports proposal to add armed self-defense to list of fundamental human rights

A Senate proposal to add the right to defend oneself with a firearm to the Czech Republic's basic rights has seen increased support

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 14.07.2020 09:07 (updated on 14.07.2020)

Prague, July 13 (CTK) – The Czech government supported a Senate constitutional proposal adding the right to defend oneself and others with a firearm in the list of fundamental human rights and freedoms, Justice Minister Marie Benešová (for ANO) told journalists today.

According to previous information, the government was expected to continue holding a neutral stance on the issue and Benešová noted that the support was arrived at after an intense debate.

Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar (for ANO) said that several ministers, himself included, changed their reserved stance after today’s meeting, taking into account the security developments in the Czech Republic.

In recent years, Czechia has been listed as one of the world’s ten most peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index. In 2020, its position improved and it was moved to eighth place from 2019’s tenth.

The Senate wants the right for armed self-defense and for the armed defense of others to be included in the list of human rights “under circumstances defined by law.”

According to its main proponents, headed by Civic Democrats (ODS) senator group chairman Martin Cervicek, the addition should help the country oppose the de-armament tendencies of the European Union and prevent this right from being limited by regular legislation.

Before the government meeting, the government’s legal experts warned that the inclusion of the new right would only mean the preservation of the minimal standard of armed self-defense.

The experts also said that the current laws on extreme circumstances, self-defense and legal use of firearms were sufficient.

“In certain parts of the general public, accepting such a constitutional change could lead to a misleading view that the limits of self-defence have been broadened,” the experts said in the documentation they prepared ahead of today’s meeting, adding that the practical result could be an increase of violence in society.

Earlier, Czechia did not succeed at the Court of Justice of the European Union when it filed a complaint against a controversial directive on limiting the possession of firearms.

The government was forced to propose a new amendment to the law on firearms that incorporated the EU directive. The amendment is currently being assessed by government committees.

In order for the Senate proposal to be passed in both chambers of the Czech parliament, it would need the support of three-fifths of all lawmakers.

It is also not certain that the Chamber of Deputies will be able to debate the proposal before the end of the current term.