czech senate approves tighter gun laws after nation’s deadliest mass shooting

Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Parliament’s upper house, the Senate, has joined the lower house in approving a new gun law aimed at tightening regulations on firearm ownership in the aftermath of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. The legislation, which now awaits President Petr Pavel’s signature for final approval, is expected to become law soon.

The push for stricter gun laws comes in response to a tragic incident on December 22, when a lone shooter claimed the lives of 14 individuals and injured many more before taking his own life inside a Charles University building in downtown Prague. The perpetrator, a 24-year-old student with a license to possess eight firearms, including two long guns, had no prior criminal record, thus evading suspicion from authorities.

Under the proposed law, gun owners would be required to undergo a medical evaluation every five years, a more frequent requirement compared to the current 10-year interval. Additionally, businesses would need to report any concerning gun or ammunition purchases to the police, and doctors would have access to databases to identify patients who are gun owners.

The legislative process had already commenced prior to the tragic shooting, with Interior Minister Vit Rakusan acknowledging the uncertainty of whether these new regulations could have prevented the incident had they been implemented earlier. In a decisive 66-1 vote, the Senate, comprised of 81 seats, backed the new law, which would grant authorities the power to confiscate firearms from private owners as a preventive measure.

As of the end of 2022, in a nation of 10.9 million residents, approximately 314,000 individuals possessed a gun license, collectively owning nearly a million weapons of various types. The impending law seeks to address loopholes in existing regulations and bolster oversight to prevent future tragedies like the recent mass shooting that shook the nation.

With bipartisan support, the Czech Republic is taking proactive steps to enhance gun safety measures and prioritize public safety, marking a pivotal moment in addressing the pressing issue of gun violence within the country.