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Czechs are against new EU firearms control directive

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Prague, March 14 (CTK) – The Czech Defence Ministry will start drafting a bill enabling some shooters to keep some arms banned by the European directive stiffening the control of firearms, passed by the European Parliament on Tuesday, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) has told journalists.

The Interior Ministry will analyse the directive and decide whether to file a complaint, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies defence committee, Roman Vana (Social Democrats, CSSD), said.

Other parties, too, are opposed to the legislation.

Stropnicky said it was a good thing that some “nonsense” such as the measures controlling paintball arms had been deleted from the legislation.

Despite this, a working team will be established at the ministry to deal with the reaction, he added.

“Our position will be based on our national tradition of shooting and similar associations. We will start working on a bill that may be called the law on defence associations,” Stropnicky said.

The legislation is to make it possible to keep some arms that are within the category of “so-called banned,” Stropnicky said.

“We have to come up with a measure that will not constrain people,” he added.

Vana said the defence associations were one of the possible solutions.

“At the same time, the Interior Ministry is preparing the ,emergency reserves’ with civilians who do not want to serve in the military, but are ready to join the Czech Republic’s security,” he added.

He said both proposals were going in the right direction, complementing one another.

The Interior Minister will draft a detailed analysis of the directive in order to assess whether this inadmissibly interferes in the affairs of an EU member, Vana said.

Depending on this, it will consider filing a legal complaint, he added.

“We will do our utmost to prevent the erroneous directives from affecting the holders of legal firearms,” Vana said.

Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said as a holder of the gun licence he believed that the Czech internal legislation was sufficient.

“However, the directive is sometimes demonised. There are also things that are not being mentioned,” Belobradek said, citing the exceptions for collectors and marksmen.

The opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) considers the directive unacceptable, Jana Cernochova (ODS) said.

“We do not think that terrorism and crime can be fought by tougher rules for the decent ones,” she added.

The ODS wants to prevent the implementation of the directive even at the cost of sanctions, Cernochova said.

A similar position was adopted by opposition Dawn deputy Martin Lank.

“It would be counter-productive if you limited the arms possession to decent people. Logically, they will only be kept by the indecent ones who do not give a damn for any laws,” Lank said.

The chairman of the Bohemian and Moravian Hunter Unity (CMMJ), Jiri Janota, said he hoped a national exception from the European directive would be negotiated.

In the first stage, the directive will not affect Czech hunters, Janota said, adding that he was afraid of even tougher rules to follow.

Hunter Bohumil Straka said a protest would be held in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Wednesday at which he would carry a coffin full of Olympic medals from shooting disciplines to the representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.


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