The Constitution’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms is unique on the world stage. And while courts and legislators routinely ignore or warp the words of the Second Amendment, it’s stood as a bulwark against the worst kinds of anti-gun policies in places like Canada, Australia, and Europe.
This year, one of those European counties may be taking a step towards what Americans have enjoyed since 1776.
For several years, conservatives in the Czech Republic’s parliament have been pushing to add the right to armed self-defense as one of the “fundamental human rights and freedoms,” according to David Harsanyi writing in National Review.
“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,” the proposed amendment reads.
Conservatives passed the amendment through the lower house of parliament, but it failed in the upper house. But now they’ve earned a majority in the senate, and the Czech government unexpectedly announced it would endorse the plan to add the language.
The Czech Republic was the only European country to challenge the draconian European Firearms Directive passed by the European Union in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in 2015. As GunsAmerica reported at the time, the Directive banned most types of semi-automatic firearms even in countries with high rates of firearm ownership and low rates of crime.
The Czech Republic lost its challenge to the directive in the European Court of Justice, but the Czech Senate first proposed a right to firearms several years ago after it had received a petition with more than 100,000 signatures.
It’s unclear whether the pro-gun amendment will pass or if it will be able to override the EU’s Firearm Directive if it does. The amendment requires a 60 percent majority of both chambers of parliament to join the country’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, but the center-right Civic Democratic Party may not be able to reach that threshold.
The Czech Republic ranks in the middle of the pack on the rankings of firearm ownership among European countries, but the country has a long history of firearm use and manufacturing. Rates of ownership have been increasing, and of course, the Czech Republic is also the home of the legendary firearms maker CZ.
The Republic remains one of the safest countries in Europe and Prague remains one of the safest cities in the world. No doubt it would become even safer if every law-abiding citizen had protected right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.