Czech Senate passes gun reform: A closer look at the new law

In a bid to improve safety after the December 2023 Prague shooting new legislation gives authorities more powers for intervention and medical supervision. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.03.2024 10:07:00 (updated on 07.03.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Senate has passed a new bill on weapons and ammunition, aiming to improve safety measures and tighten regulations for firearms in the country. President Petr Pavel will soon decide whether to sign the bill into law.

Even before the tragic mass shooting at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts in late December last year, the government had been discussing changes to how people can acquire and use firearms. 

A digitized register and simplifying licenses

The new law introduces electronic firearms licenses stored in a central weapons registry, negating the need to carry physical permits. The law will also simplify the structure of existing firearms permits and licenses. The bill will reduce the five types of permits to two and the 10 types of licenses to three.

More frequent medical checks and power to doctors

Additionally, the new law shortens the time limit for regular medical check-ups of gun owners – from 10 years to five – and allows police to order a medical review at any time. The central gun registry will also be accessible to attending physicians, who will be required to report any health issues that may affect a person's ability to handle a firearm. 

Easier to seize weapons

The law also grants authorities the power to seize weapons from their holders if a security risk is identified, such as threats made on social media. Rakušan also noted that mayors and school principals will have the ability to initiate the seizure of weapons.

Another of the main changes introduced by the new law is the mandatory reporting of suspicious behavior by gun owners and buyers. This will apply to both arms dealers and shooting range owners.

No psychological exams – yet

The new law may include mandatory psychological exams for new gun license applicants, although, in its current form, a mental assessment is unrequired. Currently, only proof of medical fitness is needed for a license. A general practitioner can also request a psychological opinion.

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan explained that the new law will not take effect until 2026, as the central arms register is digitized and linked to other police and medical records. However, in response to the December shooting in Prague, he said that specific provisions of the bill will be included in an amendment to the existing law later this year.

In response to the bill's passing, Senator Kordová Marvanová stated: "The new law will provide stricter regulations and stronger safety measures for firearms. While we did not pass all of the proposed amendments, I believe this is a step in the right direction."

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