Prague, Feb 3 (CTK) – Over 292,000 people had a firearms licence in the Czech Republic and they legally owned about 807,000 guns at the end of 2015, according to the data that the Police Presidium released to CTK Wednesday.
The number of firearms licence holders has been decreasing since 2011 when 311,667 people had the licence to own guns in the country with a population of 10.5 million.
Police Presidium spokesman Jozef Bocan said the decrease seems to be caused by the fact that some gun holders did not meet all the demands that the law set for them.
The number of gun licence holders fell by several thousand a year in 2011-2013, while in the past two years it decreased by only several hundred.
However, the number of the registered guns has increased by 100,000 since 2011. The increase was the steepest in the past year when the number of legally possessed guns rose by 54,500.
Bocan said new guns got registered, but people applied for the deletion of only a low number of their old guns from the database.
Guns and gun licences were widely discussed after a “mad shooter” attack in which an elderly local man killed eight people in a pub and then committed suicide in Uhersky Brod, south Moravia on February 24, 2015. The shooting has been the deadliest mass murder in the country, along with a case of a young woman who also killed eight people when she deliberately drove a truck into a crowd waiting at a Prague tram stop in 1973.
Mass murders involving shooting are exceptional in the country. In 2009, a man shot dead four people at a family celebration in Petrvald, north Moravia. In 2003, a father and son killed three men in Litvinovice, allegedly in revenge. In 2011, three people died in a shooting incident in an aviation plant in Kunovice, south Moravia.
In reaction to the Uhersky Brod shooting, the Czech government has worked out a stricter version of the law on guns, according to which a gun licence will be issued for five years instead of the current ten years, doctors will have the right to access the gun database and the gun holders will be tested more thoroughly. The amendment to the gun law is now discussed by parliament.