czech-republic

A Czech minister is working to guarantee the right to keep and bear arms for his fellow citizens.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who drafted the proposal, is optimistic it will be passed by the Czech Parliament, EURACTIV reported.

“I think that we have very good negotiating position to get 120 votes needed to pass in Chamber of Deputies,” Chovanec said.

Martin Plíšek, from the opposition TOP 09 party, balked at the idea of the measure, saying it was keyed to October elections.

“It is pure pre-election populism, because there is no need to set the right to possession of weapon by a constitutional law,” he was quoted as saying by EURACTIV.

“There are still some provisions full of contradiction in the proposal such as restricting the rights of legal owners, groundless limits for magazines capacity and also some sanctions and obligations for sport-shooters,” EURACTIV.cz was told by Czech MEP Dita Charanzová (ALDE) who is the vice-president of IMCO.

The Czech debate comes ahead of a vote by the European Parliament this month on restricting gun rights. Czechs who want the gun ownership amendment in their constitution see the proposal as a pre-emptive strike against possible EU gun ownership restrictions.

Supporters of the Czech measure say that it will help make the country more secure. They describe it as a step they want to take before the European Parliament moves to tighten gun ownership rules, according to Intellinews.com. Chovanec maintains that the possible EU gun control move could take thousands of guns from Czechs, Intellinews.com reported.

“We will do our best to protect their rights,” Chovanec said. “In the beginning Europe had good intentions, but the realization could be given an F-.”

As of 2013, there were approximately 306,815 firearm-owner licenses and 728,476 registered guns in the Czech Republic, which boasts a population of 10.5 million. Overall private ownership rate is about 16.3 percent. In order for the measure ensuring the protection of their rights to pass, three-fifths of the Parliament’s deputies and three-fifths of its senators must vote in favor of the legislation.

“No directive will stop terrorist attacks. But it sets clear rights to possess weapons for whole Union, where people and guns can move quite easily,” said Luděk Niedermayer, a member of the European Parliament who supports the new directive.