With a recent history that includes two draconian foreign occupations and mandatory Communism in the rearview, the Czech Republic is moving to protect the right to keep and bear arms. 

English-language Radio Prague International, as well as a wide variety of Czech-based news outlets, reports that the Czech Senate this week has voted to incorporate the right of individual armed defense to the country's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. 

Such proposals require a three-fifths majority of the chamber, or 45 votes, to pass and cannot be vetoed by the country's president. The measure proved popular, earning the vote of 54 out of 74 lawmakers. It was brought to the body by a petition from over 100,000 gun owners and hunters as a direct response to civilian disarmament trends within the increasingly progressive European Union. 

The move will add an amendment stating that “the right to defend one’s life or the life of another person, even with a weapon, is guaranteed under the conditions laid down by law." 

"The proposal is not only symbolic in nature, but can also serve as insurance for the future," said Martin Červíček, a Czech senator and former police general who voted for the amendment.

The Czech Republic arose from the 1993 dissolution of Czechoslovakia, a country that gained independence from the faltering Austro-Hungarian Empire in the last days of World War I. During Czechoslovakia's 75-year history, it was occupied by Nazi Germany for eight years and then by Soviet troops for almost a quarter-century. The German occupation saw over a quarter-million Czechoslovaks perish while the Soviets, who invaded the country in 1968 in response to open revolt against Communist policies, only withdrew in 1991, leaving former garrison areas requiring years of cleanup and reconstruction work.

During each occupation, resistance groups to both the Germans and Soviets were widespread, and off-the-books arms caches became almost a national pastime. In a recent weapons amnesty, police cataloged a 47mm Škoda anti-tank gun, a T-34 tank, SU-100 Soviet tank destroyer, and a 23mm anti-aircraft gun from private hands.

Now a NATO ally, the country has repeatedly attempted to ban Communist symbols and pushed back against EU gun control guidance for years.

Home to both gunmaker CZ and ammo supplier Sellier & Bellot, the country has a long firearms tradition. In 2017, when Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš presented President Trump with a specially-made CZ 75 Republika as a token of friendship from the country. Babiš said he was proud of the Czech people, who invented and produced the iconic 9mm handgun, and that the firearm “reminds us that we won our freedom.”

Banner image: CZ Shadow Orange (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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