While the Western half of the European Union pushes for further restrictions on already stringent gun control laws, the Czech Republic is looking to enshrine the right to self-defense within its constitution.
On Tuesday, the Czech Chamber of Deputies gave the green light to the constitutional amendment of the right to defend oneself and others with a weapon under conditions stipulated by law, according to the Czech News Agency. The Senate proposal was also supported by the government last year.
According to its supporters, the amendment should help fight tendencies within the EU to disarm citizens.
The amendment is based on a petition signed by 102,000 people, including many constitutional officials. The petition was a reaction of hunters and other gun owners to the European Commission’s efforts to limit ownership of weapons, including legally held ones. The Commission justified its action, among other things, by stressing the need to take measures against terrorism. However, critics of the EU measure pointed out that terrorists mostly use illegally obtained weapons and that the relevant Czech law is sufficient.
According to the Senate, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms should contain a new provision stating that “the right to defend one’s own life or the life of another person, even with a weapon, is guaranteed under the conditions stipulated by law.”
Senators believe that the change in the constitution will prevent this right from being restricted by common law and will strengthen the position of the Czech Republic in discussing other EU regulations.
Representatives of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Pirates, members of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), and the Communists (KSČM) explicitly supported the amendment in thfe first round of negotiations. None of the deputies proposed rejecting the draft. The proposal will now be discussed by the Constitutional Law Committee and the Security Committee.
Czechia pursued a lawsuit against the EU’s controversial directive restricting gun rights, but the country’s efforts failed at the Court of Justice of the European Union. The government then had to submit an amendment to the weapons law, which implemented the EU regulation to the necessary extent.