After Czech Republic President Milos Zeman made a bold pronouncement some months back warning of a "super Holocaust" to be carried out by Islamic terrorists and urging citizens to arm themselves, now comes an even more provocative proposed measure as strong follow up to the call to bear arms.
The country's interior ministry is pushing for constitutional amendments to allow its citizens to use guns themselves to shoot against terrorists- should they face imminent threats from extremists. Proponents are arguing that this measure can be crucial in saving lives in the face of terrorists attacks and in instances when police forces get delayed in their response or are unable to swiftly make their way to the scene of the attack.
But for the proposal to become a reality, the Parliament must first approve it and the vote will be held in the next few months.
Zeman appears to be enjoying popular support at home for his strong rhetorics against Islamic terrorists or extremists, if the increased gun sales is any indication after he sounded the alarm on wild attacks. Local papers have reported on citizens' expressing their fears of a "wave of Islamists" for their motivation in purchasing guns.
There are less than 4,000 Muslims in the 10-million strong population of Czech Republic but for its leaders, the numbers don't matter compared to what they feel is the real prospect of danger posed by radical Islamists.
The Czech Republic has a more permissive gun policies than the rest of most of Europe. There are 800,000 registered firearms and 300,000 people have gun licenses. It's also comparatively easy and fast to obtain a weapon in the country as residents only need to be at least 21 years old, pass a gun knowledge test and possess no criminal record. Under the law, Czechs are also allowed to use their weapons to protect their property or when faced with danger. They are required to prove, however, that they faced a real threat.
The Czech Republic has been at odds with much of Europe with their contrasting views on gun control as Europe is supporting more stringent gun control measures following the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, France. The dilemma now for the country is that no matter how determined it is to protect its citizens and allow them to defend themselves should they be faced with terrorism threats, they will still have their hands tied with the stricter gun measures EU is poised to formalize and implement in the next 15 months.<<Back