Czech Republic deputies have reportedly voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that grants citizens the right to carry guns and use them as a means of defense during terror attacks.
According to Sputnik News, yesterday, 139 out of 168 deputies voted in favor of the amendment, “which was proposed by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec of the Czech Social Democratic Party.”
“We do not want to disarm our own people at a time when the security situation is deteriorating,” Chovanec reportedly said during yesterday’s parliamentary debate on the matter.
In response to claims that more guns might lead to more attacks, Chovanec reportedly added, “show me a single terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated using a legally-owned weapon.”
According to Sputnik, Chovanec’s amendment proposal comes following an EU directive, created following the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels and passed in April, to clamp down on firearm usage.
Consilium.Europa.eu quotes Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela as stating, “the new Firearms Directive provides for more rigorous controls on the acquisition and possession of firearms, in particular so that legitimate channels and regulatory set-ups for the acquisition and possession of firearms are not abused by criminal groups or terrorists.”
According to Sputnik, “the directive was criticized by politicians, gun owners and hunters in the Czech Republic, who argue the directive is an infringement of national sovereignty and their right to bear arms.”
Should the Czech Republic’s amendment be passed by the Senate and President, it will push back against the EU’s directive, allowing the roughly 360,000 licensed gun owners in the country – a figure shared by Sputnik – “to carry their weapons in public and use them in case of a public order emergency, such as terrorism.”
The Czech government has also vowed to file a formal complaint over the EU’s directive by August 17.
The Czech Republic’s President, Miloš Zeman, has traditionally displayed extreme caution in regards to the threat of terror.
According to The Guardian, he recently warned citizens that the Czech Republic could be subject to a jihadi terror attack, urging them to arm themselves against a potential “super-Holocaust.”
“The concern is believed to have prompted the unprecedented introduction of metal detectors to screen the crowds of foreign tourists that visit Prague castle each day,” the outlet states.