Vit Rakusan. Credit: Vit Rakusan, via Facebook.

Interior Minister Rakusan Calls For Compulsory Reporting By Arms Dealers of Suspicious Customers

The future Czech law on the possession of firearms, which takes effect in 2026, could still be amended to change the current voluntary recommendation for arms and ammunition dealers to report suspicious transactions into an obligation, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said yesterday.

Speaking at a debate of MPs on changes to firearms possession laws, in response to the 21 December shooting at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts, Rakusan (STAN) said it would not be necessary to wait for the new law, which is not due to come into force until the beginning of 2026 due to the digitization of the central arms register. 

The attack on the faculty in central Prague saw a student kill 14 people and then himself. He is also suspected to have killed three further people in the preceding hours and days.

Rakusan also said he wants to introduce mandatory specialised psychological examinations for new applicants for firearms licences. He said the “mandatory specialised psychological examination for first-time applicants for a firearms licence” could be established by the government on the basis of a mandate given by law.

Neither the existing law nor its amended form would require a psychological assessment; only proof of the applicant’s medical fitness is required. The general practitioner who issues the report may request a psychological report as well.

Vaclav Snorek, chairman of the Psychologists’ Association, said that blanket testing is unfeasible, as there are only about 1,200 clinical psychologists in the Czech Republic. He said it was more appropriate to optimise the existing system, and to provide GPs with a clear methodology on who to send for psychological examinations.

“The vast majority of mentally ill people do not commit aggression. Screening examinations in the form of a questionnaire make no sense, they would have to be very detailed,” Snorek said.

David Vanek of the Psychiatric Society agreed, saying that blanket testing was “neither realistic nor effective.”

Defence Minister Jana Cernochova (ODS) recommended improving communication between GPs and security forces about the identity of people being treated for psychological problems. She said the specialist police department should be able to send the holder of a firearms licence who is under treatment for psychological problems for a review.

Vanek said GPs could find out from the records whether their patient was taking antipsychotic drugs.

Radek Policar, the Health Ministry’s director for legislation, said specialists should send electronic reports of their patients’ examinations to the respective GPs.

The new law will reduce the time limit for the periodic review of the medical fitness of gun owners from ten to five years, noted Rakusan, as well as allowing the police to order such a review at any time.

In the future, doctors will be given access to the central gun registry to verify whether their patient holds a firearms licence. A doctor who discovers that their patient suffers from a medical condition that limits their medical capacity will be obliged to report this to the police without undue delay, under the planned new law.

The law would also empower the police to seize weapons if their owners are identified as a safety risk. It should also extend the range of weapons subject to regulation.

The law should also tighten up the handling of some weapon components, including large-capacity magazines and semi-finished products that can be used for the production of illegal weapons.

The new rules will only apply from 2026 due to the planned modernization of the central arms register and its harmonisation with other units. Paper firearms licences will then be replaced by electronic authorizations to use weapons in the central arms register.

According to the Interior Ministry, 316,564 people in the Czech Republic had a gun licence as of last November, an increase of about 2,500 people year-on-year. The number of registered weapons exceeded 1 million. The year before last, there were 308,990 gun licence holders and 933,432 registered weapons in the Czech Republic.

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