Is the Czech Republic taking a hint from the American Constitution? The Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec, has authored a proposal for an amendment protecting Czech’s right to keep and bear arms — that wouldn’t be as strong as the Second Amendment is in the United States. Here is an english translation. [via rcgroups.com]:

Citizens of the Czech Republic have the right to acquire, possess and carry firearms and ammunition for the purpose of protection of life, health and property and thus participate in the provision of internal order and security as well as of territorial integrity, sovereignty and democratic order of the Czech Republic. Terms and conditions shall be determined by a law.

“Terms and conditions shall be determined by a law.”  We have seen that in several state constitutions. It pretty much eviscerates the protective effect of a Constitutional amendment. Still progress? From euractive.com:

The right to be armed could be included in the Czech constitution. This controversial proposal was discussed by the Czech government this week, with the proposed EU Firearms Directive being mentioned frequently in the debate.

The amendment was backed by the Social Democrats, the main coalition party. The position of other coalition members was not so favourable. ANO 2011, which is currently leading in the polls, was the strongest opponent.

The government has not reached any conclusion on the matter. However, the author of the proposal – Interior Minister Milan Chovanec – perceives this as a positive sign.

The amendment would require the votes of 60 percent of deputies and senators, Minister Chenovac is confident that they can get the 120 votes needed in the Chamber of Deputies.

The proposed amendment would only apply to Czech citizens, not to other members of the European Union. Of course.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

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33 Responses to Czech Government Considers Constitutional Right to Arms

  1. The Czech Republic already has more reasonable firearm laws than many states such as CA or NY. Im glad to see they are trying to continue strengthening their gun rights.

  2. I vividly remember when Soviet tanks and soldiers occupied Czechoslovakia in the late 1960 s. One astute US gun store made a perceptive and tragically ironic bumper sticker that said ,”Czechoslovakia has Good Gun Laws.” Point made, eh?

    • The late, great Mike Vanderbough made the observation in his article “A Handgun Against an Army” (http://westernrifleshooters.blogspot.com/2008/07/vanderboegh-handgun-against-army-ten.html?m=1)
      that arms do not guarantee safety, freedom, or victory, but give any soul a fighting chance if he is bold, creative, or lucky.

      Czechoslovakia was conquered by a war machine enabled by Chamberlain’s weakness, then right after was steamrolled by a monster enabled by Roosevelt’s idiotic ideology and Truman’s stupidity.

      The gun laws they had were useless after their country had been reduced to a territory. They could have fought the Russians to the death, but most people will choose slavery over death, and they chose slavery.

      They did have the option though.

    • My uncle came from Czechoslovakia in about 1980 to visit. He said don’t ever give up your right to bear arms. Things change quickly when you do! The confiscation was very quick, without anyone being able to keep guns.

  3. As long as its subject to Czech law from their elected officials and not EU fiat they are still better off. Take the ball out of Juncker’s power grabbing court before the paying country exodus death spasms kick in.

  4. I think the USA should not give foreign aid to nations who do not have RTBA. I think we should withhold any funds from the UN auntie the UN puts RTBA as per of its charter of human rights.

  5. Maybe they just need our help.

    What’s Czech for “shall not be infringed- that means no laws constraining the right, for judges that don’t understand Czech.”

    I would totally call them to let them know I’d plan a trip just to reward them.

    • According to a random free translator “shall not be infringed” Is “nesmí být porušena” in Czech. The next step is figuring out how to pronounce it.

      • You can try it like you’d pronounce “nesmee beet porushena”.

        Now you can try “strč prst skrz krk”, that’s a good one 🙂 Yes, that’s a real sentence, it means “push a finger through a neck”, although you can use it informally to tell someone to push a finger down his throat (which is sometimes a good idea, say after eating something poisonous).

        Still feel like trying to pronounce Czech?

        • The Czechs seem to have lost all their vowels in a tragic boating accident. Beats losing their guns in one. 🙂

        • And sentences like that are why I have put off learning Czech. I’m 1/4 Czech, and have always wanted to learn it, but when there’s a full sentence with no vowels things just don’t seem right.

  6. The Czechs have a long history of independence and democracy–and they are not enamored of the EU demands that the Czech Republic bring its gun laws into line with the bans and restrictions in the other EU states; hence this proposed constitutional amendment. They don’t want to trade the Russia tyranny for a European one. Good on them.

    • Well, unfortunately they also have a more recent history of totalitarian oppression by foreign plutocrats. Having clearly learned their lesson, it now remains to be seen if they will realize they have the ability to hold them off so long as they remain resolute. Easier said than done when you are a rather poor nation and the moneybags are threatening you with economic sanctions for not giving them their way.

      • I would say fine, now get lost, we don’t need trade from you. Every Country is perfectly capable of making what it needs right there, and if not it needs to learn. All this World trade is a waste of resources and bad for the environment. No country or union should be able to force trade sanctions on another. Sounds like a good way to start a war to me.

        • “Sounds like a good way to start a war to me.” (Referring to sanctions on trade with a nation.)

          That is a feature, not a bug.

      • “. . .it now remains to be seen if they will realize they have the ability to hold them off so long as they remain resolute.”

        There’s an interesting back-story to this. After WWII there were revolts against Russian oppression in several eastern European countries (Hungary and East Germany in particular). What most people don’t realize is, at that time, there were large numbers of former soldiers—combat veterans—who had fought the Russians on the Eastern Front. These guys were not afraid to take on the Russian military. What they lacked, however, was access to weapons. If they’d had guns things would have been very different. The Czech’s, along with other Eastern Europeans, are very aware of this. Guns up.

  7. Good for the Czech Republic. I’ve actually heard a lot of favorable things from people that visit there.

  8. The version that has already been filed in the Parliament has different wording:

    Citizens of the Czech Republic have the right to acquire, possess and carry arms and ammunition in order to fulfill the tasks set in subsection 2. This right may be limited by law and law may set further conditions for its exercise in case that it is necessary for protection of rights and freedoms of others, of public order and safety, lives and health or in order to prevent criminality.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_Czech_Republic#2016_Constitutional_Amendment_Proposal

    • Bunga,

      These words (especially the words in bold) in your current proposal will be a BIG problem for the people who actually want to own and possess firearms:

      “… law may set further conditions for its exercise in case that it is necessary for protection of rights and freedoms of others, of public order and safety, lives and health, or in order to prevent criminality.”

      Politicians and courts in the United States have used the words “public safety” thousands of times to justify banning the ownership and possession of firearms. Remember, our Constitution says, “… the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Notice that our Constitution defines an absolute right and does not allow exceptions for “public safety”. And politicians and courts go ahead and violate that part of our Constitution anyway.

      I have no idea if you have any ability to change the wording of the proposal in the Czech Republic. If you do, I strongly encourage you to eliminate that “public safety” and “public order” type of wording. At the very least, include some sort of requirement that any restrictions for “public safety” must have solid, ample data to PROVE that a restriction WILL improve public safety SIGNIFICANTLY … and the restrictions cannot create burdens which make ownership and possession of firearms too difficult for most people. An example of a “reasonable restriction” which would truly improve public safety would be, “An armed citizen cannot have their finger on the trigger and point their firearm at random people.” Or, “All handguns must be drop safe.” Both of those examples improve public safety and they do not create a burden for anyone.

      An example of an unreasonable restriction would be, “Everyone must register all of their firearms at the local police station. And the local police station can charge a fee up to 10% of the average annual income. And the local police station may only be open for registration between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.” This is not permissible because there is no data which tells us that registering firearms improves public safety. There is no data which tells us that criminal who possess firearms illegally will register their firearms. There is no data which tells us that criminals who smuggle firearms into the country are going to register them. And a huge registration fee will prevent most people from owning and possessing firearms. Finally, if the local police station only allows you to register your firearm when most people are working and most people cannot leave work to register their firearms, this would prevent most people from owning and possessing firearms.

      Yes, politicians and courts in the United States have used “regulations” like registering firearms (with outrageous fees and/or extremely limited office hours at local police stations) to prevent most people from owning and possessing firearms. Don’t let that happen in the Czech Republic.

      • Uncommon Sense,

        let me take answer point by point.

        1) “… law may set further conditions for its exercise in case that it is necessary for protection of rights and freedoms of others, of public order and safety, lives and health, or in order to prevent criminality.”

        Here the burden of necessity would be on the legislator. Given the record of our Constitutional Court I wouldn’t worry too much. What you need to understand though, that the main aim of the ammendment is to preserve the status quo. Not enlarging gun rights, not easing access to firearms, not implementing some kind of constitutional carry – it is a way to lock the current state of things both vis-a-vis EU, which is pusihng for more restrictions and that by locking gun ownership in the country with national security, thus taking it outside of EU’s reach, and at the same time from possible future home-grown restrictions (change of constituonal law requires 3/5 of lawmakers and is very difficult to achieve in general, given the nature of Czech politics with multiple parties and fragmented views).

        We already have similar wording in the constitution regarding freedom of expression, and even though I don’t agree with it, the judicial application has been very restrictive as regards extent of restrictions on free speech.

        2) “I have no idea if you have any ability to change the wording of the proposal”

        The proposal will now go through standard Parliamentary debate. Changes may be proposed in 1st and 2nd reading, but given that it will be difficult enough to get 3/5 behind the proposal as it is, I do hope that there won’t be any that could cause muddling of the debate striking of the proposal down.

        3) “An example of an unreasonable restriction would be, “Everyone must register all of their firearms at the local police station.”

        Well, that is the status quo, and I am afraid most people, most gun owners are content with it. It should be noted that after EU Gun Ban was proposed, there was an official innitiative by Czech NRA (Lex) urging gun owners to civil disobediance, i.e. not to surrender a single gun.

        4) “And the local police station can charge a fee up to 10% of the average annual income. And the local police station may only be open for registration between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.”

        Well, we had Nazi tyranny and Communist tyranny, which kind of makes us hostile to bull#hit. This would be cathegorized as bull#hit and end carreer of anyone proposing it.

        5) “This is not permissible because there is no data which tells us that registering firearms improves public safety.”

        I beg to differ. (Please take into consideration that I still don’t agree with registrations, i.e. I don’t advocate it, but I acknowledge that they do serve public safety purpose). The current Czech model is based on the fact that only people with corresponding shall-issue licenses can sell firearms among themselves, and have 10 days to register them after doing so. The license holder have all undergone background checks, which are repeated everytime a sale of B cat firearm (semi-autos) is performed. Every 10 years you need to renew license, and during that occassion you need to present all firearms to the police officer. I.e. if you sell your firearm illegally, to a possible criminal, the system will detect it and you will have to deal with the repercussions.

        6) “There is no data which tells us that criminal who possess firearms illegally will register their firearms. There is no data which tells us that criminals who smuggle firearms into the country are going to register them.”

        Well, we know they won’t under the current system in which you can’t get a hold of firearm legally from a law abiding person without having a license, i.e. having checked record of not being a criminal.

        To put it simple, there are no interconnections between legal and illegal firearms markets in the Czech Republic. Both exist, but completely on their own. With illegal being much smaller since there are no high burdens for 99% of law abiding population to get firearms/carry them in line with law.

  9. The problem is that for example our Minister of Defence doesn’t want to support it, and various political figures say “we have good laws so why touch the constitution.” And they either don’t see or don’t want to see what’s looming on the horizon – the gungrabbing storm from EUthanasia.

    • One of the main problems with the Minister of Defence (ANO party) is that he is butthurt that the Ministry of Interior (ČSSD party) proposed it as an amendment to Constitutional Act on National Security without even consulting him.

      The other main problem is that ANO party leader Babiš still didn’t get the opinion polls that will show him he can only lose points opposing this proposal and thus he so far didn’t weigh in on the issue substantially. Once those polls arrive on his desk (and I would rather hope it happens sooner than later) he will put his party in line accordingly.

      The main issue is Minister of Justice (ANO party) is against the proposal based on a principle. These are the people who might possibly drown the amendment.

      Hopefully after the March 14 vote in the EU parliament all those “yeah, but no”* politicians will wake up and realize that only way not to look like jacka##es before the autumn Czech elections is to stand behind the amendment.

      *”Yes, we support gun rights, but we don’t consider this Constitutional amendment appropriate.”

  10. Hard to believe the changes that the Czech people have lived with since the cold war. The Czech border was mined and they were a much different Country. Everyone should stand behind the Czech people along with their right to self protect! God bless freedom!

  11. “… an amendment protecting Czech’s right to keep and bear arms — that wouldn’t be as strong as the Second Amendment is in the United States.”

    You do realize that politicians and courts all over the United States violate our “strong” Second Amendment guarantee all the time, right?

    While our Second Amendment guarantee is strong in theory, it is quite weak in practice.

  12. My VZ-24 has that lion crest on it’s receiver. It’s beautiful. Probably my favorite old military rifle.

  13. I believe that’s called the Rampart Lion, J.D. Or is it Rampant? Anyway most VZ-24’s had theirs scrubbed when the nazis (I will not capitilize) seized them from the Czechs and sent them to the Romanians. Bastards. Yours is uncommon. You must be very proud.

    Hey if nobody is going to say anything else then I’m going to.

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