Mar 07, 2024

Czech Parliament Passes Gun Control Bill

The Czech Parliament’s upper house, the Senate followed the lower house on Wednesday to approve changes in the gun law that tighten requirements for owning a weapon following the worst mass killing in the nation’s history.

The legislation now must be signed by President Petr Pavel before becoming law, which is expected.

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 and 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 the authorities.

The lower house gave the green light to the new law on Jan 26.

Under the new law, gun owners would have to undergo a medical check every five years, not every 10 years, as they do now.

Businesses would be required to report suspicious purchases of guns and ammunition to the police, while doctors would gain access to databases to find out if their patients are gun owners.

Parliamentary debate on the legislation had already begun before that shooting. Interior Minister Vit Rakusan 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 81-seat Senate, lawmakers approved the legislation in a 66-1 vote.

Once approved by the president, the law would make it possible for the authorities to seize a weapon from a private owner on a preventive basis.

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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