The European Court of Justice has started dealing with a Czech complaint
against a new European Union directive restricting possession of firearms.
The Czech Republic was vehemently against the directive saying it would damage responsible gun-holders, hunters associations and result in a large number of firearms being sold on the black market.
The Czech government would like to see the directive abolished. The Czech delegation at the hearings is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek.
There are more than 800,000 firearms of all categories registered among 300,000 gun permit holders in the Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.6 million.
The German government said in a parliamentary session that members of
domestic far-right groups have in recent years been traveling to Central
and Eastern Europe to train with firearms.
MPs spoke about two countries in particular, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
According to Berlin, several members of a German neo-Nazi group were arrested in September following a trip to Czechia, and on that occasion “a large quantity of ammunition” had been seized.
The regional court in Plzen on Monday heard the testimony of a 42-year-old
man who is on trial for holding unregistered weapons and trading in weapons
without a license.
According to the state attorney in the years between 2010 and 2015 the man bought and resold 225 weapons, mostly machine guns and a few dozen pistols, which were slated to be destroyed or modified for use with blank cartridges only.
In Slovakia these guns do not require registration, but in the Czech Republic, which has tougher norms they do, since according to experts the modification process can easily be reversed.
If convicted, the man could face up to 8 years in prison.
Czech politicians have missed Friday’s deadline on passing a controversial EU amendment to its directive on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The unpopular amendment has met with wide criticism from gun owners across Europe, many of whom see it as too restrictive and even counterproductive.
The Czech Republic will not manage to introduce a European Union directive
tightening gun controls by the deadline of 14 September, the speaker of the
lower house, Radek Vondráček, said on Thursday. A number of Czech
agencies had objections to a draft government decree meant to implement the
directive into Czech law. These must now be dealt with by Ministry of the
The European Parliament passed the directive, aimed at preventing terrorists getting their hands on arms, in spring last year. A number of Czech politicians objected to the provision as it would affect around 300,000 holders of gun licenses in this country.
Scilla Elworthy is a lifelong campaigner against warfare and conflict and was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Oxford Research Group, which fostered dialogue between the UK government and nuclear disarmament activists. More recently she has been the author of The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War. We spoke after a talk she gave at the Melting Pot forum at the Colours of Ostrava music festival.
The Czech Senate on Wednesday rejected a draft amendment to the
constitutional bill on security that was aimed at allowing legal gun owners
to use their weapons if called onto act in cases where members of the
public were at risk.It said such a change was unnecessary and could be
The draft amendment was submitted to the Senate by the previous chamber of deputies before October's general elections in reaction to the EU directive clamping down on firearms possession.
Czech-made military hardware has appeared in a promotional video for the
Azerbaijani army, despite the fact that the Czech Republic has an official
embargo against supplying such products to the country, Hospodářské
noviny reported on Tuesday. The items in question are the DANA artillery
piece and the RM-70 rocket launcher.
A spokesperson for the Azerbaijani army said it had acquired the equipment from the Czech Republic. Its producer, Czechoslovak Group, says it adhered to all laws and regulations regarding sales. The Czech authorities and secret services are looking into the matter, Hospodářské noviny said.
The international watchdog Social Watch has criticised the Czech Republic
for failing to clamp down on arms exports to authoritarian regimes such as
Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
In a press conference Thursday in Prague, the organisation said that the sales helped bolster regimes which oppressed their citizens and did not respect human rights. It also fuelled conflicts which fuelled emigration from such countries. The NGO observed that there are currently around 20 conflicts around the world with easy access to arms one of the fundamental factors in fuelling.