The Senate proposal to amend the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, was adopted after heated debate giving citizens the right to armed self-defence under specific circumstances. Senator and former Police President Martin Červíček, one of the initiators of the proposal, argued that the amendment aimed to counter the disarmament drive of the European Union.
Last year, the Court of Justice of the European Union dismissed a Czech lawsuit against the controversial EU directive that restricts the gun ownership, including those held legally. The Czech government then had to submit an amendment to the Act on Firearms and Ammunition to the Chamber of Deputies.
The EU ban on semi-automatic rifles for private use was introduced allegedly intended to “curb gun violence” and “prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons on the black market”. But the new rules were unduly restrictive for law-abiding gun owners.
Not only Czechia, but France, Italy, and other Eastern European states were against re-categorizing semi-automatic guns from “license required” to “banned,” according to German weekly Der Spiegel.
European gun associations, such as the German Shooting and Archery Federation (DSB) and the Austrian IWÖ, argued that new regulation would only burden legal gun-owners and would not stop terrorists.
Based on the pre-approved documents, the Czech government was supposed to have a neutral position on the issue, and the approval of the proposal was therefore unexpected.
Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar said that several ministers, including himself, changed their stance because they were alarmed by the recent developments regarding security in Czechia. In the proposal, the Senate suggested amending the Charter to state “the right to defend one’s own life or the life of another person with a weapon under the conditions stipulated by law”.
Notably, the Czech Republic has repeatedly ranked among the top ten most peaceful countries according to the British Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). In the latest June ranking of this year, Czechia moved up to eighth place from last year’s tenth.
The index is based on crime rate, the availability of guns, size of the army, relations with neighboring countries, almost no violent demonstrations, political pressure on citizens, contributions to UN peacekeeping missions and participation in foreign conflicts.
Czechia is also one of the emerging market countries in which systemic social risk are comparable to those in advanced economies. According to the Social Risk Index (SRI) created by the credit insurance company Euler Hermes, it is the 28th safest country in the world. The SRI measures the stability of political, institutional, and social frameworks for 102 countries, particularly longer-term structural determinants of social risk.
Thus Denmark, Finland, and Sweden have the lowest levels of social risk. Germany ranked fifth while France was in ninth place. Greece was in 35th place and Italy at number 30, the lowest of the advanced economic countries.
On the bottom end of the ranking were Nigeria, Venezuela, and Angola.