Revised gun law allowing silencers and night scopes approved by Czech Senate

An amendment to the Weapons Act is intended to bring Czech law in line with an EU directive.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 17.12.2020 11:00:00 (updated on 17.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

The right to possess arms will be explicitly guaranteed by law, and the 10-year validity of firearms licenses will be preserved in the Czech Republic under an amendment to the Weapons Act that the Czech Senate passed Dec. 16. The bill still needs to be signed by President Miloš Zeman before it becomes law.

The amendment introduces new categories of arms to meet the requirements of a 2017 European Union arms directive and newly includes a provision stating that “the right to acquire, possess and carry arms is guaranteed under the conditions stated by this law.” The provision reacts to the EU trend for stricter gun control.

In contrast with a previous government draft, the new rules will allow to use silencers and night vision rifle scopes, which are currently among prohibited gun accessories.

In addition, the amendment also makes it easier to present weapons at exhibitions and in sales events. Methods for disposing of arms are also covered.

The changes ate intended to make it easier to display and transport weapons at cultural and historical events, such as demonstrations of historical weapons during parades or re-enactments of battles.

Historical weapons at a re-enactment of the Battle of White Mountain. (photo: Raymond Johnston)
Historical weapons at a re-enactment of the Battle of White Mountain. (photo: Raymond Johnston)

It also enables biathletes to visibly carry firearms during races and introduces requirements for shooting ranges. The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It has been included in the Olympics since 1960.

The 10-year validity of firearms licenses was approved by the Chamber of Deputies with the condition that the police would check at least once in five years whether the license holder meets the legal requirements, especially as far as their health is concerned.

The amendment introduces two new categories of arms, concerning those that are possessed legally but have not yet been faced with mandatory registration. A new, stricter category will apply, for instance, to historical, deactivated and gas weapons. It is not clear how many such arms will have to be newly registered. Their numbers are estimated at tens to hundreds of thousands.


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The amendment also includes a new European regulation concerning technical requirements for signal weapons, such as sports starter guns that fire blanks. Rules for marking and registering firearms to make it easier to trace them are also introduced.

The EU tightened rules for gun ownership in 2017, building on a directive from 1991 that was revised in 2008. The 2017 revision, which became applicable across the EU in fall 2018, is intended to make it harder to legally acquire certain high-capacity weapons, such as automatic firearms. Specific details of the implementation of the directive were left up to each member state.

The directive also strengthens cooperation between EU countries by improving the exchange of information between EU countries, and brings substantial improvements to traceability of firearms by improving the tracking of legally held firearms. This is intended to reduce the risk of diversion of weapons into illegal markets, according to an EU press release.

The revised EU directive imposes restrictions on the circulation of civil firearms and provides rights and obligations for private persons, dealers, brokers, collectors and museums. There are more flexible rules for hunting and target shooting in order to avoid unnecessary impediments, the EU press release added.

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