Although the U.S is commonly seen as the worldwide leader when it comes to gun rights, some countries such as the Czech Republic have followed in its footsteps by passing legislation that allows people to arm themselves.
On July 13, 2020, the Czech government revealed that it supported a plan to consecrate the right of individuals using a firearm in self-defense and protect others in its constitution. This latest move comes three years after a previous pro-gun constitutional amendment was approved in the Czech Chamber of Deputies but failed to get a final ratification.
In September of 2019, 35 members of the Czech Senate put forward a bill to change the Czech Constitution’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
The NRA-ILA highlighted what this proposal entailed:
The proposal would alter the charter to include language that roughly translates to the following, ‘The right to defend one’s life or another’s life and weapons is guaranteed under the conditions laid down by law.’
In a document explaining the forwarded change, the senators noted, ‘The current proposal… strengthens the fundamental rights of individuals. The proposal itself introduces a constitutional enshrinement of the right to defense with arms.’ The item goes on to explain, ‘Given the importance of the right to life, which is the most basic right, because without life other human rights cannot be fulfilled, the proposal considers it appropriate to symbolically elevate this right to the constitutional level.’
European news outlet Euractiv reported that the Senate proposal came into existence largely due to a grassroots gun rights effort.
Czech pro-gun activists gathered 100,000 signatures for a petition in favor of stronger gun rights protections and presented it to Senators.
Czech News Agency (CTK) reported that the Czech government was expected to stay neutral on the self-defense amendment, but ended up changing its stance after “an intense debate.” The Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar supported this initiative. He alluded to “security developments” as a reason to back the measure.
This entire amendment was brought about by the European Union’s current efforts to restrict civilian firearm ownership. After Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, the European Union fast-tracked its plans to revamp the Firearms Directive, which establishes a baseline of gun control that each member country must implement.
The final draft of the revamped European Firearms Directive enacted rules on virtually all aspects of gun ownership. These ranged from draconian restrictions on the types of semi-automatic firearms a civilian may own to additional licensing requirements for gun owners. EU members were expected to have their laws match with the Firearm Directive’s provisions by December 2019.
The Civic Democrats party were the main boosters of the amendment. According to CTK, the Civic Democrats asserted that the amendment “should help the country oppose the de-armament tendencies of the European Union and prevent [gun rights] from being limited by regular legislation.”
The Czech Republic has offered an example for international figures on the Right to emulate.
In times when most of the West is drifting to Left, Central Europe and Eastern Europe offer viable alternatives to the managerial status quo.