Right to use a weapon in self-defence to be enshrined in Czech constitution

The amendment was approved in reaction to the revised EU’s Firearms Directive applicable since 2018, setting stricter rules regarding the possession and acquisition of firearms and banning certain types of semi-automatic weapons. The EU directive was revised in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. [Shutterstock/ImageFlow]

Czech lawmakers approved an amendment that will enshrine the right to use a weapon in self-defence in the Czech constitution – a new right that will be included in the country’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

The amendment was approved in reaction to the revised EU’s Firearms Directive applicable since 2018, setting stricter rules regarding the possession and acquisition of firearms and banning certain types of semi-automatic weapons. The EU directive was revised in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Czechia opposed the proposal and challenged the directive before the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, but without success.

Currently, there are more than 300,000 gun-owners in Czechia. Possession of firearms has also been considered an attribute of liberty after they were banned during Nazi occupation and then allowed only for those loyal to the Communist regime in the 20th century.

According to Czech lawmakers, the new amendment will prevent further restrictions and strengthen the Czech position in talks on the future EU firearms regulation.

The constitutional amendment stems from a petition written by Czech arms owners, sport shooters and hunters. The petition was signed by more than 100,000 people. (Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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