EXPLAINED: What new firearms legislation could look like in Czechia

The Chamber of Deputies today will discuss various amendments to Czechia's Weapons Act, which will generally put gun owners under great scrutiny.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 26.01.2024 10:14:00 (updated on 26.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Chamber of Deputies may today approve changes to the national Weapons Act which – among other things – would introduce electronic weapons licenses and adjust the categories of firearms that people can use. It would also give doctors access to a central register of weapons and give the police more scope to seize someone’s firearms, in a bid to better regulate gun owners and firearms-license applicants.

What is the context?

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. Czechia currently has among the most permissive gun-ownership laws in the EU.

The “right to acquire, keep, and bear firearms” is recognized in the Czech constitution. Psychological assessments are also not mandatory in all cases of applying for a firearms license. Many politicians and civic groups have called for the tightening of gun regulation following the Dec. 21 shooting.

Do you think gun laws should be tightened in Czechia?

Yes 62 %
No 33 %
They should be loosened 5 %
782 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Presently in the Czech Republic, there are 1 million registered weapons and over 310,000 gun license holders.

How can people in Czechia obtain firearms today?

In the Czech system, individuals are required to acquire a license to possess firearms, along with a permit for each weapon they own. 

To obtain a license, individuals must demonstrate practical proficiency in firearm operation, exhibit comprehension of relevant laws and safety protocols, and undergo a medical evaluation. Permits must be obtained for each firearm purchase.

What exactly does the new draft law entail?

The government is considering a proposal to allow gun owners to use electronic authorization stored in a central weapons registry instead of carrying physical permits. The proposal includes introducing a new “intermediate” category of weapons and simplifying the process for obtaining authorizations. 

The structure of existing firearms permits and licenses would be simplified. The five types of permit would be reduced to two, and the 10 types of license would be reduced to three.

Will firearms owners be assessed more closely?

Technically, yes – there will be heightened scrutiny of firearms holders. The new Weapons Act aims to reduce the regular review period of gun owners' medical fitness from 10 to five years, and also allow the police to conduct inspections at any time. 

In the future, doctors will have access to the central register of weapons to verify if their patient holds a firearms license. Doctors who identify limitations in a patient's medical capacity must promptly report this information to the police without delay.

The law would also allow authorities to take away guns from people if they pose a security risk, like making threats online. This ultimately gives the police more scope and power to remove people’s firearms licenses preemptively.

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