Gun sales in the country reportedly skyrocketed following the president’s speech. A local newspaper reported one East Bohemia shop-owner claiming that citizens of the Czech Republic feared a “wave of Islamists.”
The country has a population of 10 million, of which roughly 4,000 are Muslim. Prague’s Interior Ministry is supporting an amendment to the Constitution that would allow Czech citizens to be armed.
Those who support the change feel that a new law could come in handy if a terrorist situation unfolds and police are unable to respond in a timely manner. Parliament must pass an Interior Ministry resolution for it to become law.
Parliament will vote on the formulation of the law in the coming months, according to reports.
The Czech ministry suggested that, “The possibilities of state bodies to quickly and efficiently prevent casualties and other damage are limited during such attacks,” according to the CTK news agency.
The Czech Republic seeks to relax gun laws at a time when most of Europe is doing the opposite. Prague has some of the most lax gun laws on the continent, with an estimated 3,000,000 people holding gun licenses, and about 8,000,000 registered weapons. Applicants for gun licenses in the Republic must be 21 years old, pass a gun-knowledge test, and have no prior criminal record.
The EU seeks to institute psychological testing to those who apply to carry a firearm, a measure Prague has deemed “too severe,” according to the International Business Times.
Czech politician Milan Chovanec said, “The terrorist attacks we have seen in Western Europe and elsewhere have increased security concerns among the public. More Czechs are getting firearms licenses and I think that if the situation does not improve in the coming months, then the number of firearms holders will grow,” according to Radio Praha.
France entreated the European Union to make firearms more difficult to obtain, following the November 15 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 and injured hundreds more. Initially the European Commission suggested a complete ban on the sale of military-grade weapons, including AR-15s and Kalashnikovs, guns that are commonly used in mass shootings in the US.
Ammunition magazines would also be limited to 20 rounds or less under the proposal, but the move was met with disapproval by Czech officials, who fear that passing such a directive could limit the country’s “internal security system.”