Germany has one of the strictest gun laws in the world. Nevertheless it is tightened on a regular basis, even if that does not bring any real safety gains. Our neighbouring Country, the Czech Republic, takes a different approach: The right to possess firearms was established as a constitutional right. We talked with the Czech MEP Dita Charanzová about these differences.
JAWINA: While in Germany many people and politicians regard owners of legal firearms as a kind of threat and danger, the Czech parliament just voted with a vast majority for a constitutional right to possess guns. How do you explain this difference? Does the difference lie in a specific Czech culture or tradition?
Dita Charanzová: I am not sure I can comment on the German situation, I am definitely not an expert. When it comes to the Czech context, yes, indeed, there is a long tradition of hunting as part of community life, but also sport shooting. You should consider as well the fact that private ownership of firearms was fully prohibited during the Communist era and it is now, therefore, considered as one the rights gained when the Czechs became a free and democratic society. I think that all these factors contribute to a certain difference between our two countries. On the other hand, I have to say that some of my German colleagues in the European Parliament were very critical to the proposal of the revised firearms Directive and voted, in the end, against it.