The Volokh Conspiracy

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Czech parliament's lower house passes right of citizens to keep and bear arms 'to participate in the security of the Czech Republic'


Czechpoint (Alfa Proj) 22wmr revolver, 6″; photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.

[Existing provision:] (2) State authorities, territorial self-governing bodies, and legal and natural persons are obliged to participate in the security of the Czech Republic. The scope of duties and other details are set by law.

[New provision:] (3) Citizens of the Czech Republic have the right to acquire, hold, and carry weapons and ammunition for the fulfillment of the tasks mentioned in paragraph 2. This right may be restricted by law, and other conditions for its exercise may be laid down by law if necessary for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, of public order and security, of life and health, or for the prevention of crime.

Die Presse reports that the provision passed by 139 to 9 in the lower house and now has to get a three-fifths vote in the Senate. The proposal seems to be pushback to European Union tightening of weapons controls: "We do not want to disarm our own people in a time in which the security situation is constantly deteriorating," said Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec.

Little-known fact: The word "pistol" comes to English indirectly from Czech; the Oxford English Dictionary reports that it is a special use of "píst'ala whistle, pipe, flute," "apparently first applied during the Hussite wars to a weapon with a barrel and a clear-sounding shot."

UPDATE: By popular demand, the generic gun photo has been changed to something more Czech-themed.