A Necessary Proposal

Paramilitary Groups in Central Europe

18 February 2020

The Czech Republic is testing an approach that deals with the potential threats posed by paramilitary groups through the issue of access to firearms rather than through that of extremism. Finding a reasonable balance to deal with ambiguous and multifaceted groups will not be an easy task.

The Czech Republic’s Ministry of the Interior recently proposed broad reforms to the legislation and regulations governing firearms that include a new law banning non-state paramilitary-type armed groups. This reportedly seeks to prevent potentially dangerous or radical individuals and groups from participating in a proposed new firearms training program that aims to keep firearms ownership as open as possible despite the 2015 EU Firearms Directive.

The training program would grant individuals that complete it successfully exemptions from restrictions on owning firearms, cartridges, and ammunition.

A formal or informal group would be banned and fined up to CZK 200,000 if the three following conditions are met: if it has a paramilitary character; if it seeks to fulfil its political, religious, social, or ideological goals through the use of arms; and if it or its members seek or possess firearms legally.

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Matej Kandrík

#DemocraCE Fellow. Director at think-tank STRATPOL - Strategic Policy Insitute

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