The right to bear arms in self-defense is embedded in the Czech constitution

The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, has approved the right to use arms to defend oneself and others.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 21.07.2021 12:38 (updated on 21.07.2021)

Prague, July 21 (CTK) - The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, has approved the right to use arms to defend oneself and others under legal conditions to be embedded in the constitution as a reaction to the EU's pro-regulatory stance on firearms acquisition and possession.

This right was included in the Senate-proposed amendment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the constitution. Senators, therefore, passed the amendment as expected.

Based on the amendment, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms will include a new article saying that 'the right to defend one's own life or the life of another person even with the use of a weapon is guaranteed under the conditions set by the law.'

According to the authors of the bill, this constitutional change will prevent the right to bear arms from being restricted by common law and will strengthen the position of the Czech Republic in the debates on further EU regulations.

Now President Miloš Zeman must sign it into law. The president cannot veto a constitutional bill against common pieces of legislation.

Is bearing arms for purposes of self-defense a constitutional right?

Yes 84 %
No 16 %
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"The proposal is not only symbolic in nature but can also serve as insurance for the future," said Senator Martin Červíček (ODS) who point out the tendency of some EU countries to ban the carrying of any objects that could be used as a weapon. According to Červíček, the disarmament of the population will not bring greater security, as criminals will obtain weapons illegally.

Vice-President of the Senate Jitka Seitlová (KDU-ČSL) and Pirate Senator Adéla Šípová publicly opposed the amendment saying that it is unnecessary with regard to the constitutional right to life and legal rules. Senator Jan Holásek objected that the interpretation of the right to life may change. 

The amendment comes as a reaction to a petition signed by 102,000 people, including a number of top elected officials. It was launched by hunters and other arms owners in reaction to the European Commission's effort to limit the possession of arms, including legally possessed ones.

The reasoning behind its weapon regulations, the has EC said, is that it is necessary to take measures against terrorism. The critics, on their part, say terrorists mostly use illegally acquired weapons and that the Czech law in this respect is sufficient.

The amendment to the document will take effect on the first day of the second calendar month following the day of its publication in the Collection of Laws, which means no earlier than August 1 and no later than September 1.

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