Czech Constitution Soon to Include the Right to Bear Arms

The word "pistol," it turns out, is borrowed indirectly from Czech.

| reported Friday:

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms will now contain a provision stating that "the right to defend one's own life or the life of another person with a weapon is guaranteed under the conditions laid down by law."

According to the submitters, the constitutional change will prevent this right from being restricted by ordinary law. It will also strengthen the position of the Czech Republic in discussing other EU regulations.

Can't tell you what that will mean as a practical matter, but I thought it was worth reporting. Czech is the language from which we indirectly borrow the words "pistol"—according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "spec. 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)"—as well as "howitzer" and "semtex." Also "robot," but I hope they won't be the ones who are armed.

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  1. Somehow, I’m thinking that there are people there who have neither forgotten Stalin nor the Soviet Union.

    They’ve only been free for what — 30 years?

    And I’m guessing that there are people who still remember the Prague Spring of 1968….

    Sad thing is that damn few people in American higher ed even know what it was….

    1. Yes, and if only they’d have guns they could have fought off the Soviet Union…

      1. Yea, almost as ridiculous as thinking the American revolutionary colonists could fight off the British Empire!

        1. Better to fight and die than live and cower.

          The conspiracy of ignorance MASQUErades as common sense.

          Remember George Santayana. “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

          1. The Volokh Conspiracy and its comments indicate that conservatives are mostly scars, bruises, perceived grievances, and ‘own the libs’ resentment, retreating into increasingly small corners of modern America and hoping to carve out special safe spaces for bigotry, superstition, and backwardness against generally applicable law and a tide of progress they disdain — while fondling guns and talking tough, of course.

            1. The ever more frustrated Artie as more people mute him and he retreats into retreads of former posts. 7-2

              1. I am the American mainstream, and increasingly so.

                You are the disaffected, inconsequential, downscale fringe.

                Volokh Conspiracy commenters muting me resembles Orioles fans turning off the game broadcast in the seventh inning because the Rays are leading, 9-1, the Orioles committed three errors in the sixth, and the fan just doesn’t want to hear that score any more.

                Enjoy the remainder of the culture war, clingers, if you can. I know I will.

                1. You are no more ‘mainstream’ than the man in the moon. You’re no more than a troll who spouts hot air.
                  Unless you post under another pseudonym, this is the only venue you pollute with your BS.
                  You’re a pipsqueak of a pissant.

          2. Remember George Santayana?


            Total grandeur of a total edifice,
            Chosen by an inquisitor of structures
            For himself. He stops upon this threshold,
            As if the design of all his words takes form
            And frame from thinking and is realized.

        2. Even that was more by accident, and that’s before the invention of machine guns, tanks, and rocket launchers.

          1. Afghanistan would like to say a word or two about your hypothesis.

              1. These discussions inevitably go off the rails and suddenly we’re in a re-make of Red Dawn.


                1. These discussions inevitably go off the rails…

                  And by “go off the rails” you mean “have real-world history and the lessons that should have been learned by it injected into the discussion”, right?

                  1. WuzYoungOnceToo : “…real-world history and the lessons that should have been learned…”

                    Certainly. Even if you discount all danger of zombies & ignore the possibility society disintegrates from a pandemic-induced Toilet Paper Shortage, there’s still the risk Cubans and Nicaraguans invade the U.S.A. (in a pincer movement).

                    There are so very many things to be afraid of.
                    I really wonder why I never find the time……

              2. In both Vietnam and Afghanistan they had a heck of a lot heavier weaponry to fight off the Americans than anything that’s permitted under any peacetime law known to man.

                1. And you’re under some delusion that – if necessary – such ‘heavier weaponry’ can’t be sourced and fielded? (see Cartels, Mexican)

                  I won’t go into how asymmetry works, mainly because I doubt you can understand the concept.

          2. “Even that was more by accident, ….”

            So, Washington,, won the American Revolution by accident? Got it.

            1. Yes, and then a couple of years later they got cocky, and started another war with the Brits while the British were busy with Napoleon, and got the White House burned down for their troubles. After that, the relative power of the US and the UK were clear.

              1. Yeah, right up to the point where the British got cocky, thinking that the end of Napoleon meant they could thrash those colonials.

                Shall we review the casualty totals at the Battle of New Orleans?

              2. couple of years = 36

                “The United States won the sovereignty of the Northwest Territory previously ceded by treaty in 1783, British recognition of international immunity for its citizens, and freedom of the seas for its merchant ships.”

              3. Two great fallacies oft dealt by those opposed to private ownership of firearms are that, as safeguards against tyrannical governments, individual weapons are useless, and that promotion of firearms freedom is principally the work of arms merchants’ lobbyists. Neither could be farther from the truth.

                A government, and army, can certainly destroy cities and exterminate citizens, but it cannot take over and rule an armed populace in opposition. And, an armed populace, armed with individual weapons and makeshift larger ordinances, e.g., bombs, can certainly disrupt and topple tyrannical regimes, regimes with armies, as has been demonstrated countless times in history.

                As for “the gun lobby,” there is simply no need to lobby to increase sales: the demand is there. If there was such a lobby, it would have supported Obama and Biden, two of the most successful gun salesmen in history. The NRA directly spends less than $1M/ annum on lobbying, and directs or influences the expenditure of maybe 10 or 20 times that. That is a pittance in the modern lobbying theater.

                1. Gun nuttery is the only fetish where the fetishists need to feel their obsession is “important”. Get two or three nuts in a room together and inevitably they’re nattering away with Walter-Mitty scenarios of fighting back totalitarianism or repelling foreign invaders.

                  It’s an obsession forever chasing its own tail. Very often the guns come first and then the nutters go off looking for fears to justify them. Don’t like the election results? Buy guns! Pandemic? Buy guns! You really get the sense there’s a lot of Americans who don’t understand the difference between a gun and a pacifier.

                  The result is a U.S. buried in guns unlike anywhere else in the world – an estimated 120 civilian guns per 100 people. Someone below suggested Switzerland is armed to the teeth? Sorry, their number is only 28. In fact, the second place finisher is barely half our total, and that’s the tiny little Falkland Islands at 62.

                  Now eventually this country will grow-up. Owning a gun will become a decision of simple common sense, not dreamy fantasy. God knows where ThePublius will get get his superhero daydreams then.


                  1. Many folks like you like to pretend that the days of citizens protecting themselves from criminals and from totalitarian governments are long, long past, and the stuff of long lost legend. May I remind you that the 20th century is replete with examples of civilian populations arming themselves to repel tyrants or invasion. One of the most stunning example is of England, who had eliminated private ownership of military rifles prior to WWII, and begged for such rifles from the U.S. Private citizens of the U.S. donated arms in anticipation of a German invasion.

                  2. You simply don’t like that all those people you despise, possess all those guns; which makes it simply impossible for your febrile fantasies to become reality.

              4. The Brits captured an undefended cluster of government buildings that sat on the coast, and burned a few. Wow! What martial prowess!

                Then they sailed up the coast a few miles to Baltimore and got their asses kicked by the locals.

                That’s… not exactly the insult you seem to think it is.

      2. They had a better chance against the Nazis in ’38, which of course led to them being disarmed and their army dismembered.

        Before 38 the Czechs had one of the highest standards of living in Europe, then 6 years of Nazi rule, then no sooner than the Nazis were defeated they have thrown into the Soviet grip for about 40 by a pro-soviet coup. All that after over 200 years of Hapsburg domination.

        It’s pretty rich sniping at the Czechs for trying to enhance their self reliance because they couldn’t single handedly fight off the Red Army after the Western powers made it pretty clear in ’38 that no matter what the treaties said nobody was going to come and help the Czechs when they needed it.

        Kind of like relying on the Dutch at Srebrenica.

    2. I don’t think the Cold War, or eastern Europe and southwest Asia in general, gets a lot of attention in schools. Based on an informal survey of a 14 year old. Maybe in high school they teach more these days. I don’t think I learned about oppression in eastern Europe in high school. Could have been an accident of the curriculum, like teaching to the AP History test, or a consequence of the teachers at the school being liberal at a time when the Soviet Union was the subject of a conservative-liberal divide.

  2. If this is true, it is a new development, one guesses from lobbying from gun manufacturers.

    The fact is: Czechs won their freedom from Communism without anyone bearing arms. What this new right means to mass shootings, and gun violence, is an entirely different question.

    1. According to wikipedia, gun laws were already fairly liberal in the Czech Republic:

      “Throughout its 600-year history, Czech firearms legislation remained permissive, with the exception of periods of German Nazi occupation and Communist dictatorship. Today, ability to be legally armed is considered a symbol of liberty in the country, alongside freedom of speech and free elections.”

      1. Did they use guns to throw off Communist oppression? No.

        Next question?

        1. Did the Communists use guns to oppress them?


          Next question?

        2. Did they have enough guns to try?

          No, so they’re going to fix that deficiency.

          There is another small country less than a days drive away that was never occupied by the Nazis or Soviets. They require every able bodied young male to be in the militia and issue them automatic weapons to keep in the home.

          Having a citizenry armed and willing to fight has worked out pretty well for the Swiss for centuries.

    2. “The fact is: Czechs won their freedom from Communism without anyone bearing arms.”

      They lost their freedom in 1945 to communists with lots of guns. Regaining their freedom without violence is great but maybe they want to keep that freedom. And defend their lives from criminals, who actually exist outside the US.

      1. Um . . . they won their liberty without guns. What makes you think they need guns now?

        1. Similarly, they won their freedom without the right to free speech, what makes you (or they) think they need free speech now?

          Or… they won their freedom without freedom, why would they think they need freedom now?

          1. They already have freedom. The question isn’t whether they should have freedom, but whether they should have guns.

            1. Tell us why they shouldn’t

              1. Because people not getting shot is a good thing?

                1. People not being defamed and not being run over by cars are also good things.

                  1. Indeed, which is why both of those things are also illegal.

                    1. Oh but shooting people isn’t always ‘illegal’.. Sometimes it’s necessary.

                2. Guns don’t kill, people do. Compare the most gun-restrictive US cities and states with the least, and there is no correlation with deaths or crime.

                  For that matter, all EU countries have violent crime rates several times as high as the US. How can that be, when the EU has far more restrictions on guns? Could it be, just as it is in the US, that most violent crimes are committed without guns? But would that mean that having guns reduces crime?

                  You can’t have it both ways. If having guns increases murder, it decreases violent crime. Or it is not correlated at all. One or the other.

                  1. Compare the most gun-restrictive US cities and states with the least, and there is no correlation with deaths or crime.

                    Congratulations, you’ve just discovered why there is EU law about guns. Transporting guns from permissive jurisdictions to less permissive jurisdictions is a thing.

                    For that matter, all EU countries have violent crime rates several times as high as the US.

                    They really don’t.

                    1. They really do. Congratulations on living on a violent society.

                3. Are you really that stupid?

                  Pass a law against people having guns, and of course no one will have guns!

                  Yeah, and pass a law against murder, and no one will ever murder, again!

                  Magical thinking is so special

                4. ‘People not getting shot’ is not always a ‘good thing’ for both history and current events show that there ARE some people who DO need to get shot.
                  Your apparent inability to see that merely indicates a failure in your intellectual development.

            2. “They already have freedom. The question isn’t whether they should have freedom, but whether they should have guns.”

              They already have guns.

            3. They didn’t have freedom when they won freedom. If they didn’t need freedom to win freedom, why did they want it?

            4. The question isn’t whether they should have freedom

              *** WHOOOSH ***

            5. That’s the great thing about having a free country: The Czechs want to be able to have guns, so they can have them.

              But it makes me wonder, and maybe the Czechs too, why do the larger and more powerful counties that have oppressed the Czechs in the past want to keep them disarmed and defenseless?

            6. ” The question isn’t whether they should have freedom, but whether they should have guns.”

              If they really have their freedom, that may be a question, but it’s a question for individuals to answer, not the government.

    3. Gun control zealots must account for Israel and for Switzerland. Armed to the teeth. Low crime. Low suicide.

      1. Scientists have mapped curves of increasing violence adding more and more rats to a contained space. With big cities, it is inevitable.

        1. Americans are welcome to choose the can’t-keep-up backwaters, knowing they can benefit from better communities when requiring medical treatment; hoping to hire a good lawyer; needing someone to design something more complicated than a shed; or looking for something other than backwater religious schooling.

          1. Simply bigotry displayed for all eternity – except most have you on mute Artie, so it’s just me…

            1. Is it bigotry, in your judgment, to publish the list of “states ranked by educational attainment,” or a list of states that lack a leading hospital or medical research facility, or a list of states without a top 10 (or top 20, or top 50) teaching and research institution?

              There may be some charms associated with our southern, rural, and mountain communities, but an educated, skilled, advanced, reasoning, credentialed, economically competitive citizenry is not among them.

  3. Well, this definitely seems to strengthen the right to self defense and defense of others. But one can’t help noticing that the right to OWN a gun is absent from this language. (Czechs are not stupid, and are certainly aware of the language of our own 2nd Amendment, and obviously could have chosen language that made it clear that gun ownership was specifically being authorized.)

    Do you think this omission was due to the need for compromise language? Or something else???

    1. My suspicion, based on the limited information provided in the OP, is that some politicians wanted to do something populist but utterly meaningless. Must be a day ending in y…

  4. The Cz3ch arms industry was an important part or the Austro-Hungarian Empire and continued into the 8nter war years and after.

    I wonder what the Erocrats will make of this.

    1. The Czech Republic and Belgium are two of the most important small arms manufacturing countries in the world. Their manufacture and sale is already extensively regulated by EU law, so I don’t think this will keep anyone up at night.

      (More generally, the problem of illegal weapons sales is nothing new, due to historic conflicts on Europe’s borders in places like Northern Ireland and former Yugoslavia. European authorities have generally worked together effectively to prevent our streets from turning into the US. If the Czechs want to adopt something like this, that won’t change anything about anything, in the same way that Dutch marijuana laws never really caused big problems in surrounding countries.)

  5. Reminder. Do not bother taking on Soviet tanks. Do not bother killing national leaders. They are fungible employees. Identify and kill the oligarchs who really run the oppression to get richer, and their families, down to the last kitten. To deter.

    This must be the new warfare doctrine. Stop killing millions of peasants and working people. All they want is to home and take care of their families. Stop destroying entire civilizations. It achieves nothing. Kill the real enemy.

  6. Given that the Czech republic is in the EU, and in the border-free Schengen zone at that, I very much doubt that this is going to be possible.

    It took me 10 seconds of searching in Eur-Lex to find Directive 2021/555, which says:

    Article 5

    Without prejudice to Article 3, Member States shall allow the acquisition and possession of firearms only by persons who have been granted a licence or, with respect to firearms classified in category C, persons who are specifically permitted to acquire and possess such firearms in accordance with national law.</blockquote)

    …and much more.

    Now the Czech president doesn't mind occasionally picking a fight with the EU, and the prime minister is under permanent EU corruption investigations for pocketing various agricultural subsidies, so occasionally we hear some EU-skeptic sounds coming from Prague. But in the end the Czech republic is not Poland or Hungary. So my money would be on this to not get adopted, or get adopted in a form that makes it essentially dead letter.

      1. In what way would “persons who are specifically permitted to acquire and possess such firearms in accordance with national law” contradict this proposal?

        1. I have no idea, because the OP only gave me a single sentence. But it certainly contradicts the 2nd amendment as interpreted by most people on this blog.

          1. We know a number of people around here reject the notion your rights are inherent, and only granted to you by those with power, because they fancy themselves that power.

            Utilitarianism at its mass billions murdering historical nest.

          2. I have no idea

            As usual.

        2. At least according to the wiki I linked to above,

          “A gun in the Czech Republic is available to anybody subject to acquiring a shall issue firearms license. Gun licenses may be obtained in a way similar to a driving license – by passing a gun proficiency exam, medical examination and having a clean criminal record. Unlike in most other European countries, the Czech gun legislation also permits a citizen to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense – 250,342 out of 307,372 legal gun owners have a concealed carry permit.

        3. That only applies to category C firearms, which are bolt, pump, or lever action rifles and shotguns, and single shot pistols. Anything semiautomatic is a category B firearm, which requires a license (which is relatively easy to obtain in the Czech Republic)

          1. There is more. I didn’t want to copy/paste an entire statute into the VC comments section. Online etiquette and all that.

          2. Doesn’t C include semi-automatics, and that class B is where automatic small arms go (ignoring other weapons mentioned)?

    1. So how’s does Schengen work out with the Swiss, where semi-auto handguns are readily available, and automatic rifles are very common in homes.

      Are they going to close the Swiss border too? Or give the Swiss special privilege over the Czechs.

      Or maybe this is just part of a Czech strategy for Czexit from the EU.

  7. Seems we will get armed robots of the Czechs get back under communism or its ilk as the word refers to “forced laborers.” But as we have learned from this thread, the Czechs gained three freedom from being robots without guns before, so there is hope.

  8. In addition to the word “robot” Karel Čapek popularized the robot apocalypse.

  9. Czech Republic.
    Escaped communist dictatorship and separated from Slovakia both without war.
    Did not allow millions of moslem immigrants into the country.
    Allows concealed carry of firearms.
    A good place to flee to when America goes full Venezuela.

    1. Why wait?!

      Although these days the “Democrats are Venezuelan Socialists” crowd might find Hungary more to their liking.

  10. CZ: CZ USA makes/imports great firearms all around.

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