Jan 26, 2024

Czech Lower House Approves Tougher Gun Law After Nation’s Worst Mass Shooting

Cara Stevenson

Cara Stevenson

The Czech Parliament’s lower house on Friday approved an amendment to the country’s gun law that tightens requirements for owning a weapon more than a month after the worst mass killing in the nation’s history.

The legislation now goes before the Senate and if approved there must then be signed by President Petr Pavel before becoming law.

On Dec. 22, a lone shooter killed 14 people and wounded dozens before killing himself at a Charles University building in downtown Prague.

The assailant was a 24-year-old student who had a proclivity for firearms, with a license to own eight guns, including two long guns. Authorities said he had no criminal record and therefore did not attract the attention of authorities.

Parliamentary debate on the legislation had already begun before that shooting. Interior Minister Vit Rakusan has said it was hard to speculate whether the new rules would have prevented it if they had been in effect before it took place.

In the 200-seat lower house, lawmakers approved the changes in a 151-0 vote.

If approved by the Senate, where the ruling coalition government has a majority, and signed by President Petr Pavel, it would then be possible for authorities to seize a weapon from private owners for a preventive reason.

It also includes a requirement for businesses to report to police suspicious purchases of guns and ammunition and gives doctor access to databases to find out if their patients are gun owners.

Gun owners would have to undergo a medical check every five years, not every 10 years, as it is now.

In Czechia, 314,000 had a gun license at the end of 2022 and owned almost a million weapons of various types.

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