The Guardian reports that at lunchtime on Tuesday, a Czech man opened fire on patrons at a pub in Uherský Brod, a town in southern Moravia near the border with Slovakia. The shooter killed eight, then committed suicide before he was apprehended. “The man burst into the Družba (Best Man) pub…at lunchtime on Tuesday brandishing two weapons and fired at random into the open-plan dining area. One witness described it as “mindless shooting” . . .
A witness who was in the toilet at the time said about 20 people had been in the pub. Several were wounded and are being treated in hospital, including a woman believed to be in a critical condition.
The town’s mayor, Patrick Kunčar, said the gunman was a local with no criminal history. He described the 62-year-old man as “a crazy individual” and sought to reassure locals that the incident was an isolated one.
“I’m shaken to the core by this incident. I could not have dreamed something like this could happen here, in a restaurant that I’m so familiar with,” the mayor said.
It was revealed that the shooter had made a phone call to the crime news line of a TV station shortly before the attack, telling them he had been bullied and would now take matters into his own hands.
The Guardian goes on to report that “the Czech Republic has tight gun controls, although hunting is a popular pastime and many people have relatively easy access to shotguns.” From what I’ve heard, that isn’t entirely true. The Czech Republic does have tight controls compared to, say, the United States (there are permitting and registration requirements for purchasing various firearms,) but it’s a bastion of gun rights compared to most of its neighbors, and a firearms paradise when compared to the Guardian’s own home, the United Kingdom.
It even ranked No. 2 on Guns and Ammo’s list of 10 Best Countries for Gun Owners in 2014. Although Czech courts have apparently ruled that there is no constitutional right to possess firearms (and if you can read Czech, or have access to a good translator, this is apparently the decision,) the Czech legislature has enacted shall-issue concealed carry laws.
Yes, that’s right, if you become a permanent resident of Prague, you’ll be better able to exercise your right to keep and bear arms for self-defense purposes than if you move to New York City or Washington, DC.
Because of this, I’m a little surprised that The Guardian — hardly a friend to civilian gun rights anywhere — hasn’t already gotten worked up about the gun control aspect of the story yet, especially because CNN is reporting that the alleged perpetrator “had a permit to own guns.”
Perhaps they just didn’t do their research. Perhaps it didn’t fit the “only our dumbass American cousins are gun crazy” narrative that’s so prevalent across the pond. Anyway, we well know that other European countries, where laws are more draconian and rights less protected, are hardly immune from mass violence — either the politically/religiously-motivated sort or that perpetrated by the mentally disturbed.
So to our Czech friends: you have my deepest sympathies, as well as the fervent hope that you don’t find your legal rights under attack from those who would disarm all of the people because of the actions of a few.