Surge in Firearm Purchases in the Czech Republic: War in Ukraine and Self-Defense Driving Demand

In the first half of this year alone, people in the Czech Republic bought more pistols and rifles than in the whole of last year, when the war in Ukraine started. Women have also become more interested in gun licenses. However, the trend is to buy guns that do not require a license. For example, people are buying gas pistols, revolvers for Flaubert cartridges, which look like ordinary pistols.

To purchase such a pistol or rifle used for self-defense and sport, an ID card is sufficient.

In the first half of this year, the Interior Ministry registered almost 12,500 units of such guns, which do not require a firearms passport for purchase. In six months, this is 3,500 more than in the whole of last year.

These weapons fall into the C-I category. In order to purchase, store, and carry it, one must be at least 18 years old, have a place of residence in the Czech Republic, and be in good standing. In addition, the weapon must be registered with the relevant police department. Even someone who has not undergone a medical examination can purchase a firearm for home use.

The conflict in Ukraine has also increased interest in gun licenses. Last year, more than 5,000 new owners were added to the 314,000. “Between 1000 and 2,500 owners are added regularly,” Milena Baczkowska of the Interior Ministry’s Security Policy Department confirmed in an interview with Právo.

“We clearly interpret this as a reaction to the war in Ukraine. People just want to be prepared,” Bačkovska said.

Another new phenomenon is that women are increasingly acquiring firearms licenses. In the first half of the year, 1,592 new owners were registered, 439 of them women. “It’s amazing. Stably we have about 10 percent of applicants are women, and this year it’s a quarter of them,” Bachkovskaya said.

Interest is also growing in category B weapons, such as CZ pistols and Glock pistols in 9 mm caliber. While last year Czechs bought about 480,000 such pistols, only by June this year the number had already exceeded 490,000. However, only the holder of a firearms license can buy a category B weapon.

“Whoever could buy a gun did. For some time, the most popular brands on the market, such as the Austrian Glock or AR 15 rifles, have been sold out, and in recent years they have surpassed even the Czech Model 58 submachine guns. Even old used pistols were sold if they were even slightly suitable for self-defense,” confirmed Petr Steiner from the Armed gun store.

What is important for the Ministry of the Interior is that all these weapons are with legal owners who fulfill the conditions. According to experts, this trend is not only related to the conflict in Ukraine, but also to the enrichment of society. “People can afford more weapons; they buy more expensive specimens, and to some extent, it is also property that does not lose its value,” said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Baczkowska.

Article by Prague Forum

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