Czeching In: European Nation Continues to Tighten Noose on Gun Ownership

by Tommy Grant

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Following a rare mass shooting in late 2023 that left the Czech Republic and much of Europe in shock, the Czech Parliament has taken significant steps to further tighten the nation’s already strict gun control laws. The tragic event, which resulted in 14 fatalities and numerous injuries at a Charles University building in downtown Prague, motivated lawmakers to move legislation already in the works prior to the shooting faster in order to make private gun ownership even more strictly regulated. The assailant, it turns out, was a 24-year-old student with a license for eight firearms, including two long guns. He carried out the mass killing without having any prior criminal record.

In response, both houses of the Czech Parliament have now approved changes aimed at increasing the requirements for gun ownership. The legislation, pending signature by President Petr Pavel, is expected to become law soon.

The revised gun law mandates more frequent medical checks for gun owners, reducing the interval from every 10 years to every five years. It is not clear what this does short of makes legislators feel like they are doing something.

Furthermore, it introduces obligations for businesses to alert police about suspicious transactions related to firearms and ammunition. Additionally, the legislation grants doctors the ability to access databases to verify if their patients possess gun licenses.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “Interior Minister Vit Rakusan reflected on the difficulty of predicting whether the new regulations could have averted the tragedy had they been in place sooner.” Logic dictates it would most likely have not given the man in question had no prior criminal activity and had to that point done until he evidently snapped did everything legally.

Nevertheless, the legislation received overwhelming support in the Senate, passing with a 66-1 vote in the 81-seat chamber. With President Pavel’s approval, the law will empower authorities to preemptively confiscate weapons from private individuals deemed a risk.

U.S. News & World Report said as of the end of 2022, the Czech Republic, with a population of 10.9 million, had 314,000 licensed gun owners who collectively owned nearly a million firearms.

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