News

 

Czech lawmakers get fired up after approval for new European gun rules

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

Proposals for stricter European gun rules achieved almost the impossible by uniting Czech MEPs and creating a broad front of domestic opposition to the plans. While backers of the changes maintain they are clamping down on terrorism, opponents say the new rules are wide of the mark and merely make life difficult for legitimate and licensed gun holders. And Czech lawmakers have pledged to fight on.

 
 

The European Commission proposal to tighten gun rules united Czech MEPS like almost nothing before. All of the around 20 MEPs from across the political spectrum united to vote against the revised rules.

But it was largely a symbolic stand as 491 votes were mustered in favour of the new rules with just 178 against. Czech European lawmakers complained that allies in other countries, such as the Baltic states and Finland, were bought off with various concessions. And some conceded that amendments to the proposed changes meant it was not as offensive as the first draft.

One of the Czech MEPs who voted against the new gun rules was ANO’s Dita Charanzová:

"Unfortunately, right from the start of these negotiations the process has been very politicized by the European Commission and the president of the European Commission, Mr [Jean-Claude] Juncker, and unfortunately most succumbed to this political pressure.ʺ

The new rules have been justified as tightening up on the availability of blank-firing and inadequately deactivated guns which can be relatively easily be changed back into lethal weapons. The Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2015 used such reactivated weapons, allegedly bought from a Slovak seller whose main clients were film makers. There would also be stricter rules on certain semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons converted into semi-automatic ones. National databases will have to be created to track all firearms.

On the Czech domestic political scene, the results of the Strasbourg vote were a starting gun for condemnations and frenzied preparations how the proposed new gun law could be challenged or circumvented. Minister of Defense Martin Stropnický clearly favours the second option.

"We have created a small working group at the Ministry of Defence composed of lawyers, people from the army and experts to deal with this."

One possible option to be explored is to use the wider and more relaxed gun ownership possibilities offered to members of gun clubs or associations. Finland’s army reserve is likely to be used in this way to sideline some of the stricter gun rules. There is also the option of a direct challenge to the new rules in the European Court of Justice.

And why all the furore in the Czech Republic? Well there is the fact that there are around 300,000 legal holders of firearms licenses with around 825,000 licensed weapons out there. The Minister of Interior, Milan Chovanec, is currently pushing legislation that would enshrine legal gun possession in the constitution. And while some spokesmen for hunters’ groups say the new rules might not affect them that much now, they warn that they could be looking down the barrel when they are revised in the future.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 15.03.2017
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

Czech Republic sends second...

The Czech Republic has appointed its second diplomat tasked with boosting Czech innovation and research...

 
 
News
 
 

Battle breaks out over Czech...

An angry war of words has broken out over government plans to pave the way for a new frequency for...

 
 
News
 
 

Republican businessman apparent...

Months ago there were reports that the next US ambassador to Prague could be Ivana Trump, the Czech-born...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech secret service report: money...

The Czech intelligence service BIS has reported on a case of money having been sent from the country to...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity