Earlier this year Czech President Milos Zeman made headlines for proposing an unorthodox solution to Islamist terrorism: gun ownership. It might seem particularly odd coming from a European country but the Czech Republic stands out as being one of the easiest countries in which to obtain firearms and permits. The entire country operates under a shall issue concealed carry permit system. As a result, there hasn’t been a successful Islamist terror attack in the country in recent history. Perhaps the rest of Europe has something to learn from the Czech Republic after all.
Milos Zeman encouraged Czech citizens to purchase more firearms for their self defense following multiple Islamist terrorist attacks in France. International media outlets attacked him for using the, admittedly inartful, term “super-holocaust” to describe the impending wave of Islamist terror but that had little effect within the Czech Republic. Many gun stores in the country reported record sales but official government figures on gun licenses haven’t been reported.
Because the Czech Republic operates under a unitary parliamentary system (as opposed to federalism) the entire country offers shall issue concealed carry permits. There are approximately 800,000 registered firearms and the 300,000 gun ownership licenses issued as of 2015. Of those licenses, 250,000 of them are for the concealed carry of up to two weapons; which is about 2.5% of their population. This is one of the highest rates in Europe and not far behind the United States where approximately 4.5% of citizens have concealed carry licenses; although it varies greatly by state.
This makes the Czech Republic quite different from other European countries like France and the United Kingdom where Islamist terrorists know they can find helpless victims that have been disarmed by the state for their convenience. The latest knife attacks in Britain are a perfect example of an attack that could be carried out in a country with widespread gun ownership.
That said, an armed citizenry is only the front line of defense against an Islamist terror attack in progress. President Zeman has another solution to avoid these situations from ever taking place. Unlike many other countries in Europe which have opened their doors to Muslim refugees, the Czech Republic hasn’t accepted any:
the leaders of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary – who together make up the Visegrad Group – said they would not be “blackmailed” into taking refugees by threats of financial sanctions by Brussels.
“Poland and the Visegrad Group will never agree to this blackmail or to such conditions being dictated,” said Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister.
It’s difficult to determine whether the President Zeman’s solutions to Islamist terror is a case of causation or correlation. That said, what the Czech Republic is doing has been working for them. Even the government of the United Kingdom has recognized their success stating on their travel information website that “there is no recent history of terrorism in the Czech Republic”. If they want the same to be true for their own country, it’s time to start learning from others like the Czech Republic which has been successful in preventing Islamist terror.