Czech Republic opposes EU gun ownership plans11/08/17Defence
The Czech Republic has filed a law suit against the EU over plans to toughen gun ownership that Prague claims could threaten security and would undermine trust.
Aiming to make it harder for terrorists to get access to guns in Europe, an EU directive passed in March introduces tougher restrictions on the ownership of semi-automatic weapons, new regulations on deactivated guns, and easier firearms traceability.
Brussels has argued that the new measures will help counter the threat of terrorism in Europe, but the Czech government and gun owners have disagreed.
Boasting some of the most liberal gun laws in Europe, the Czech Republic has some 800,000 legally held weapons in a population of ten million, so the directive has stirred up opposition and led to the the national government filing a lawsuit against the EU in the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Milan Chovanec, the Czech interior minister, said: “Such a massive punishment of decent arms holders is unacceptable because banning legally held weapons has no connection with the fight against terrorism.
“This is not only a nonsensical decision, once again undermining people’s trust in the EU, but implementing the directive could also have a negative impact on the internal security of the Czech Republic because a large number of weapons could move to the black market.”
Prague claims the directive could affect up to 300,000 firearm holders in particular, and also claims many of the directive’s provisions are vague and unclear.
Czechs are permitted to own a gun, including semi-automatics, if they have no criminal record, are deemed a ‘reliable character’, are in good health and have passed theoretical and practical firearms tests.
The country also permits 240,000 gun owners to carry a concealed weapon for defensive use.