The lower house of the Czech Parliament has approved a constitutional amendment that gives legal gun owners a right to participate in the country’s defense.
The constitutional amendment would give owners of legally held weapons the right to intervene when necessary to ensure the security of the Czech Republic. It expressly acknowledges that the possession and carrying of weapons under the law is part of national security.
An overwhelming 139-9 majority approved the amendment proposed by a group of lawmakers from several parties. For the amendment to pass the Chamber of Deputies, it needed 120 votes, or three-fifths of the 200 parliamentary deputies.
The move is intended to get round a new European Union directive that bans some kinds of semi-automatic weapons that are popular among the 300,000 holders of a gun license in the Czech Republic, a country of 10 million. The EU law might not apply if gun-holders are considered to be state officials.
The Czech government has already said it will file a legal complaint against the directive – approved as a reaction to extremist attacks – claiming it is too restrictive.
Wednesday’s move still needs approval from Parliament’s upper house.