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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.

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  1. What a senseless tragedy! My heart goes out to the people and families harmed.

    The Czech republic has some of the best gun laws in Europe. People can have handguns, CCW, and modern sporting rifles. Remember that it is the home of the VZ82,52,58, CZ75 etc. Hopefully the gun grabbers don’t use this to change that.

    Czech women also seem to be some of the most beautiful in the world (but that is another matter).

    • Actually it isn’t just the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia, as it may have been) that was the birthplace of some of those firearms, but the town of Uherský Brod itself. At least, that is where CZ has been located since 1936. CZ (aka CZUB) as in short for Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod.

      It’s actually like 6 blocks from the nearest CZ factory or HQ/office building. This map has the CZ locations marked on it, and if you then search Restaurace Družba you’ll see how close this place is…

      • That was the very thought that jumped to my mind as soon as I saw the name of the town. “That’s where CZ is located!”

    • Interesting aside: the most common firearm in CZ land is the CZ 75 (in nearly all countries it is some form of long gun).

  2. RIP to the victims. There are crazy people all over the world and not just the US. I hope the Czech government doesn’t go stupid and pass more gun control laws.

    Coincidentally, in South Korea a gunman killed 2 people and himself yesterday. Yet gun control failed to protect theses victims. South Korea has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the world.

    My father worked for the South Korean Forestry Department before he immigrated to the US, and he told me about all the stupid gun laws they have. Firearm ownership for the public is heavily prohibited. However, they do have shooting ranges open to the public and people can obtain shotguns for hunting. But the shotguns need to be stored at a police station and must be checked out before hunting.

    Even with all these gun control laws, the gunman was able to checkout 2 shotguns from a police station. Shooting in South Korea aren’t as rare as people think. The South Korean military has a problem with mass killings by mentally ill soldiers. Just last year 5 soldiers were killed.

  3. RIP to the deceased and strength to the survivors. Was the perp an SSRI med user? Because those pills cause a certain percentage of people to go off the deep end.

    • That’s more because doctors tend to prescribe them to anyone who asks, or if they think something might be wrong mentally and have no clue what it is. People who should actually be on other medications wind up taking them. And they prescribe them for other, off label uses. The biggest problem with that is that they really don’t know why SSRIs do what they do. (Or really why any drug that effects the brain does what it does).

      So the standard procedure is to start with the drug with the least effect and go from there. That would be an SSRI. However, it’s not uncommon for people to get the first prescription and not go back. Or start taking it and stop. Or really should be on something else.

      Then of course they do what unbalanced people do, and everyone blames the medication instead of the person. Because we all need something to blame. But blaming a SSRI because someone went nuts instead of asking why they weren’t properly treated is kind of like blaming Tylenol for not stopping someone’s heart attack. And is one of the many reasons people who need help don’t seek it.

  4. Senseless tragedy. RIP.


    Czech statist: Ban Guns! Ban Guns! The horror! Crazy people exist! I am not safe! I need to feel Safe! Ban Guns!

  5. “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.”

    More victims of lax bullying laws.

  6. The Czech Republic is the only place I would ever consider living in Europe because they are the only nation with shall-issue concealed carry. And there are no statutorily defined “pistol free zones” that I know of. On the down side you have to jump through a few more hoops to get your concealed carry license than in most states in the United States. That said, they sure beat coastal California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.

    • It is pretty much the only place in Europe that I would consider living in for the same reason. If they let me CCW a normal capacity CZ pistol, have a normal capacity VZ-58 carbine (as well as some .22s), I’m happy enough. I think I’ve heard that they prohibit hollowpoint ammo (which is dumb, but not a deal breaker).

      • I carry CZs now. I wouldn’t notice any change until I read the engravings on the guns I bought there.

      • Yes, you can CCW a CZ pistol, and own semiauto Sa58 with normal capacity (30) magazine. Also the smallbores 🙂

        In fact. that’s what I am going to do. I only miss the Sa58 now, but I already got the buy permit for it (which is also a shall issue thing in general).

        Yes, hollow points and other non-FMJ bullets aren’t allowed for personal defence. You can use them for hunting though in long weapons. Lead-only projectiles can be used in personal defence, as flatnosed FMJs like S&B subsonics, or projectiles with a tiny holow like Lapua.

  7. It’s nine dead, eight shot by the gunman, then suicide of the gunman. A terrible day for my country and legal gun owners.

    Yes, whe have very nice (strict, but nice) gun laws, unfortunately, it becomes a bigger problem when you actually perform the DGU. Then you get quite zimmermanned (I mean the intensity of the investigation, not racial matters) in the court, unless it was absolutely open and shut case of DGU.

    • “Then you get quite zimmermanned …”

      That was fantastic. I’ll have to remember that.

      You sir or ma’am win the Intertubez for the day!

    • I wouldn’t be so sure about the race not being an issue in DGU. Just try to defend yourself by shooting a gypsy. I remember case where old man shot a perp who cracked his head from behind, trying to rob him, and the uproar about racism because the perp was gypsy…
      I used to carry in CZ for four years (CZ 83 in 7.65 Br. Luckily I never had to use it in anger.
      Some places are “gun free zones” there, usually with metal detectors or at least pat down. When I went to club in Prague that didn’t allow weapons, I would unload and lock the gun at the entrance and leave it there checked in. Then pick it up when leaving, just like my coat.

  8. The random, senseless acts of violence carried out by obviously deeply disturbed individuals are the hardest to come to terms with. We tend to ask ourselves ‘why?’, and for these tragedies the question is a dead end. There is typically no understanding to be had beyond “deeply disturbed individual’.

    My thoughts and hopes are with the victims and their loved ones. As others have said, don’t give up your rights – you cannot eliminate a random act of violence from occuring.

  9. I’m sorry to hear of such a tragedy. You can’t stop people who intend to do something and don’t care if they survive.

    As a side note, Uhersky Brod is the small town where CZ’s are made.

  10. Even though gun ownership isn’t a right there it’s still better than the slave states here. Hell, the slave states don’t even recognize the right to bear arms so it’s not like they’re any better than half of europe.

  11. Yup, this doesn’t fit the “stupid Americans” narrative, so no finger wagging here. At least maybe our Czech brethren will be spared that.

  12. The first thing I thought, there go the gun rights the Czech people have enjoyed for so long. The response will be emotional, immediate, and draconian.

    • A Czech here.

      The situation regarding limiting gun rights seems relatively okay so far. Yes, the minister of homeland security did speak out about maybe there’s too easy an access to guns and yes, the antigunners are very talkative now but we’ve also got people who’ve still got some common sense. For example, the head of of the parliamentary homeland security committee, who’s a guy from the same party as the minister, openly said that people should defend themselves in such situations and that the laws need no change in this regard.

      So we are concerned and we are letting politicians know what’s both sensible and politically wise but we do have good hope that this tragedy will not turn us into another gun-free zone.

  13. My sympathies for the victims. Yeah this is on the short list of cool European countries…

  14. I feel with the relatives of the victims, the victims themselfes are far beyond everything, they don’t care anymore.

    More important is the conclusion out of this incident:

    The only reason and painfull truth, why this tragedy could get such a dimension, is, because most Czech citizen seem to be too lazy to carry a gun for SD, ALTHOUGH their gun laws permitts them to do so, if they just invest a little bit of time in getting a license.
    The painfull truth now is: Only one armed citizen and with a proper education in defensive gun use would have been enough, to stop the madman.

    I read, the madman was registered as a legal gun owner, but to this moment it is not clear, whether he also used legal guns for this murder. Nevertheless, this is one more reason why gun ownership should be a widespread phenomena in Europe. If there is only a minority of people, who have legally guns, it is obvious, that the rest, who doesn’t, is still vulnerable to legal and especially to ILLEGAL guns (’cause most crimes still happen with illegal guns).

    • I don’t quite agree with Czech people being just lazy. On one side, we do have shall-issue permit policy, on second side, we also have 6 years of nazi rule and 40+ years of communist rule, with both regimes issuing no weapons to citizens, unless they were party members, hunters, or factory guards. Yes, some sport shooters could have smallbores, but not for personal defence. So most people aren’t used to guns for personal defence. On themselves, or the others. Some feel that with the mighty communist police, it was safer on the streets than it is now.

      And there’s also third factor: shall-issue is way easy compared to what happens after DGU. Then you have tough time in the court, because we have no jury, and judge is looking at your case from the safety of his room, in some cases the judge even expressed that the used gun was carried “insidiously”, even though he should have known that we only have CCW, we cannot open carry.

      All of these factors contribute to less guns among people even with shall-issue policy. But we do have about 3 people in one hundred having a permit, and every owner has 2.3 guns on average.

      • I don’t entirely agree with you. DGU is legally tricky business anywhere, and it is a particularly tricky one in case of DGU against an unarmed assailant. US or Czech Republic notwithstanding. The Czechs live in this notion that one may empty a magazine into someone who just slapped them in the face in US, but any American can tell you that this is only imbecility fed to the world mostly by British anti-gun media.

        Since DGU against armed assailant (gun/knife/brick) or multiple assailants is much less of an issue in the Czech Republic, all I’ll write beneath deals with DGU against unarmed assailant.

        First of all, the main problem lies with old communist-era educated judges at district/regional courts. If one already gets indicted by the State Attorney, getting old low-level judges (they are chosen at random as the case gets to the court) is a bad sign. High court and Constitutional court are much better with dealing with DGUs, and appeals to the Supreme Court are particularly successful.

        Then, if you go through the major court decisions on DGUs, there are a few things you can do that although tactically unsound, will be more than helpful to keep you safe from criminal charges.

        The main legal limitation is that the DGU may not be manifestly disproportionate to the manner of attack. If you use your gun and plead self-defence, you are first acknowledging breaking the law (by shooting) and it is upon you to prove that it wasn’t manifestly disproportionate. What will please the cops, state attorney and judges?

        (1) If you can, make the assailant aware you are armed and you are ready to use deadly force. Unlike in many parts of US, brandishing itself will be covered as part of self-defence. Self-defense under Czech law may be done not only against ongoing attack, but also against imminent danger of attack. If someone makes threats to attack you (and you can prove it), you can brandish your firearm and tell him you will use it in self-defence. You don’t need to even wait for him to deliver first punch. Of course, if there are people around to whom it seems that you pulled the gun on someone for no good reason, you are f—ed in CR as same as in US. If there is noone else, be sure you will be the one who calls the cops first.

        (2) Warning shot, if possible (obviously not on a bus or in metro) will be covered by self-defense. Even if the assailant reconsiders and it all goes south legally due to witnesses perceiving you as the assailant/it being a mutual brawl than one-sided attack, warning shot will not land you in jail. Worst case scenario will be guns away and suspended sentence. If you do a warning shot with sympathetic witnesses/against someone with past criminal convictions (99% possible assailants really have rap-sheets since being 12-years-old) you would need to do something particularly stupid afterwards in order not to be legally in the green.

        If an unarmed assailant knew he is going against a gun and chose to continue nevertheless, again, you would need to do something particularly stupid in order to make it a bad DGU. Like going for a head-shot instead of kneecap.

        (3) Again, if you can, make him aware that you have a gun and that you will use it. Courts made it clear that they have low tolerance for cases when someone ends a fistfight with a surprise double tap into the chest (e.g. the recent case of the off duty drunk municipal police officer who defended himself by shooting and killing an attacker on the street).

        (4) Where possible, use gun in less lethal way. You will need to have a very good reason to argue why you went for double tap in the chest against an unarmed attacker, unfortunately even if you have a mouth full of blood. At the same time courts made it clear that if you hit a leg artery and the attacker bleeds to death, they won’t put it on par with aiming at head/torso and will consider it as attempt at non-lethal defence – which will be always further from being manifestly disproportionate than lethal one.

        (5) What you can learn from bad cases – Don’t be drunk/high when armed. Don’t be in a place where owner told you not to be, even if other co-owner asked you to stay. (The well known case of the young guy from Silesia.) Don’t shoot anyone in the back. Don’t shoot on their cars when they are driving away, even if they have your TV on the back seat. Make sure that possible witnesses perceive the situation the way you do.

        (6) You may not have the duty to retreat under the Czech law, but do so if you can. If you stand your ground with a gun against unarmed attacker, you will always be in a tough spot when it comes to prosecution. Don’t be stupid – avoid, de-escalete, evade, escape, even if you are not bound by law to do it. Not possible? Shoot to air. Didn’t help? Shoot to leg. Attack still continues in intensity that threatens your health and life? Now, there is your justification for a double tap into torso.

        May not be the most tactically sound strategy, obviously may not be always possible, but will definitely keep you out of the Czech jail.

        • Uggghh.

          There’s a couple of good things in there but most of it is beyond tactically unsound at best.

          I’d call kneecap shots “shooting to maim” and if you have time to do that, then you were not in fear for your life and probably aren’t justified in shooting in the first place. Torso shots are often followed by a full recovery by the person at the hot end of the shooting. A knee? That’s a lifetime of crippled mobility. All gunshot wounds are potentially lethal, even ones to extremities.

          As far as disparity of force, that goes out the window when you’re armed, because if you get knocked out cold by an unarmed blow (and that can happen at pretty much any time) your attacker then has access to your weapon and he just might be the kind of asshole to finish you off while you’re down.

        • @Sian: I didn’t compare knee-cap with torso, I wrote “Like going for a head-shot instead of kneecap.” Anywhere else I wrote about general area of leg(s).

          I agree with you on the difference between shooting into general area of torso and aiming at legs and as regards the possibility to be knocked out cold. The two of us may be on the same line of understanding, however you need to explain that also to the police, and in worse case to state attorney and at court. And what I wrote makes the explaining process easier, next to bullet-proof, despite its evident tactical disadvantages.

        • I agree with Bungameng – I live Poland and here gun laws are even more strict then in CZ and courts are against people with legal guns defending themselves even if attacker has some other deadly weapon like knife. Also probability of being attacked with gun is lower due to low firearms accessibility (somehow for criminals also), violent crime rate is lower than in US too.
          That is why we need to think differently and while I was developing my firearms self-defence methodology – my first thought were: I need not only be able to survive, but also keep myself out of jail (and maybe keep my permit – low chances as I have sport license with ability to carry hot, you can’t get self-defence CCL in Poland if you are alive, but is ok to carry sport issued firearm on you loaded). So when I come back late evening from shooting range I have my .22 Beretta loaded IWB. Even though I could wear my other pistols (9mm and 9×18 makarov) – I need to make as low damage as possible and I practice leg shooting more often than Mozambique drill.

        • Greg, what is a sport license with ability to carry hot? What is the difference between that and CC license then?

          If your country doesn’t have accessible CC license, don’t the courts automatically interpret carrying a hot firearm as ill intent?

          BTW, you are probably aware of the fact the .22 is useless, unless you want to play Mosad and shoot people in the back of the head from arm’s length.

          Having lived in Silesia (Zaolzie), my experience is that bad Poles always carry knives. Of course, one always needs to expect the worst from an attacker, but if someone was about to attack me and spoke Polish to me, I would take it automatically as an armed assault. Anyways, good luck to you.

          Have you considered moving? It seems we already have all the Polish gays in the Czech Republic, we surely can take some freedom/gun loving Poles in too.

        • Hi Bungameng! So technically there is no difference between sport license and CC – in terms of bearing arms in Poland In my opinion it is even better to have sport – as you can use .22 rim-fire handgun and CC license is for center-fire only. Also you do not need to do medical evaluation every 5yr. This ability in carry hot with sport license is new thing in Poland, we have it from 30 Sept 2014 – and no one really knows how it happened: there was few attacks before on people coming back from range and they were defenseless, so this might be reason. On the other hand this might be pure legislation slip as it often happens in Polish law and this time it was good for us. Last big change in Polish guns law was in 2011 when they changed sport license to shall we – before that you need to have national level results to get rim-fire pistol. Now it is not that heaven wither – it took me almost one year to get guns (medical check, background check, exam, sport club member, sport license – same like for pro competition shooters and I need to participate in at least 6 competitions per year to keep my license valid – of course results doesn’t matter. Parallel to this in 2011 they opened gun collector license (medical check, background check, exam, collector club member) – at first they could not buy ammo, but that changed – they cannot bear their firearms loaded.

          As I wrote getting CC license is almost impossible for average Kowalski – he need to be in permanent, real, persisting, extraordinary threat of life and police decides if he is. Of course if you have excellent connections this may be possible (big number of our parliament and government members has such license, beside they use secret service protection) – in one famous case for former external relations minister it was enough that he has his home near state prison…

          I don’t know how court will relate to use sport issued handgun in case of selfdefence in Poland, because it is new thing (as I wrote above) and there was no such accidents. But theoretically you can use whatever you can – theoretically… Most of my shooting range friends doesn’t execute new law either, I am one amongst few and only when I go to shooting range by bicycle.
          I will stand my ground for .22 lr and this might be part of court strategy (use of lowest body harm risk gun possible).

          We always refer to examples from our southern border neighbors of how firearms laws should be organized in Poland. We were deeply concerned about Uhersky Brood massacre and even there was some hot discussion on our firearms forums if Czech’s will change their guns law after that, but from what I read it should not happen.

          I don’t consider moving to some more liberal gun laws country, as things change slooowly even here. We have at least three quite active firearm owners organizations: ROMB and Firearms United being most seen. Now we try to change CC license form may issue to shall issue, we try to make new firearms category home defense shotgun (every home owner could buy after mental and criminal check such firearm). We try to make special private firearms category for regular policeman and other force resort members (military, border protection etc.). Most of them cannot have private handgun and needs to go procedure for CC like civilian. There is special billboard action now in Poland – GUN SAVE LIFES with quite positive effect (gun ownership in Poland is 1.3 per 100 citizens) almost worst in EU.

  15. First of all, it should be noted that the linked decision of the Czech Constitutional Court deals with an appeal of a convicted felon. His case was that he wasn’t convicted to imprisonment, but received a mere fine, so the Fiream Act’s 10 year period of firearm prohibition after the conviction should not apply to him.

    The court held that the Czech constitution indeed doesn’t have any part that would be on par with the second amendment. The right to be armed is instead in the Firearms Act, which is a simple enactment (as opposed to constitutional enactment) and the Act’s curbing of convicts’ gun rights was uphold, notwithstanding that the men wasn’t imprisoned (the length of the curbing depends on the maximum penalty possible for the given crime for which the person is convicted, not on the actual prison term/fine height given).

    The CC license is shall issue. You need a license not only to carry, but also to own a firearm. Other non-carry licenses include sport and hunting. CC is by far most common. Hunting is useful for hunters, and sport is useful if you are under 21, since it is available from 15 (15-18 subject to obligatory shooting club membership).

    Other fact is that this being Uherský Brod, where CZ is the largest employer, it is very likely that one or more of the people inside do own guns and do have CC license. There are a few areas in the Czech Republic with relatively high crime rates (Pragues has the highest, yet it is much lower than in any EU15 city), but in most of the country, there is next to no violent crime. In those viloent crime free areas, most gun owners usually don’t carry (unless they travel out of their “comfort zone”).

    In the given situation, the perpetrator didn’t give any warning, no US movie style bad guy long speach. He opened the door, and started immediately firing, aiming mostly at heads. One customer threw a chair at him during reloading, which allowed 3 people remaining alive to run out. Unfortuantely, there was very little any CCer could change in this situation.

    More information:

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