People around the world are looking for better ways to defend themselves against violent criminals and terrorists since a man shot about 100 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12.
Below are comments about the civilian right to carry firearms by Libor Lochman, chief of the Czech Republic’s elite anti-terrorism unit, URN, from an interview published by Aktualne.cz on June 14. This excerpt was compiled from several online translating tools and its accuracy couldn’t be verified. (Version française via Arpac.eu.)
Unlike Canada, the Czech Republic allows citizens and foreign residents to carry concealed firearms for self-defence after they show a clean criminal record and pass tests for knowledge, proficiency and health. Canadian law allows for Authorizations To Carry guns for self-defence, but in practice the police rarely grant the authorizations.
Aktualne.cz: You send your men against the toughest mobsters and criminals. You train in anti-terrorist action. Should people armed with legally held firearms be able to defend themselves if their life is in danger?
Libor Lochman: The problem is that the police can’t be everywhere, and never will be. Let alone the anti-terrorism units. So it can’t stand up to terrorists when people are in mortal danger. That kind of a requirement is totally unrealistic. That’s why, as a police officer, I say that citizens have the right to defend themselves in case of attack.
If the necessary conditions are satisfied — in the Czech republic, by the way, they are pretty strict — to obtain a firearms license, people should have the right to carry a firearm for protection.
Would it have helped if someone had a gun in the Orlando nightclub?
If any of the guests had, the loss of life might not have been so high. We see this, for example, in Israel, where massacres similar to Orlando are prevented in many cases by a random passerby who was armed.
The European Commission is proposing significantly restricted conditions for firearm sales (banning the sale of semi-automatics). It doesn’t want terrorists or homicidal maniacs to get guns so easily.
The statistics speak clearly: only a minimal number of crimes are committed with legally held firearms. People involved in organized crime, and also terrorists get their weapons on the black market. Or maybe just from crime. Why should they get a firearm licence? They don’t need one.
If we take semi-automatic (or auto-loading) guns from citizens who have been through rigorous controls, we’ll have ordinary sheep. Citizens have the right to a self-defence firearm. If someone proposes a law or rule against that, it’s pure nonsense.
How then, as the head of an elite anti-terrorist police unit, do you explain the efforts of the European Commission to significantly restrict the sale of arms and ban semi-automatics?
How do you explain this immense stupidity? I just can’t explain it. Either this is some — to me incomprehensible — intention, or it’s flagrant ignorance and stupidity by EU officials. I’m going to repeat it over and over: citizens have a right to self-defence if attacked …
And what happens if the Commission’s plan is enforced?
Could it lead to some sort of security problem?
I still hope that it’s just not going to happen. I mean, why punish citizens if terrorists attack somewhere? On the contrary, we should fight against the illegal arms market and many other problems that are associated with terrorists. Terrorists reinforce the fact that citizens should be allowed to legally possess firearms.