New Czech gun legislation planned for 2026 – but no compulsory mental tests

The recent mass shooting incident at Prague’s Charles University has raised questions about access to firearms in Czechia. New legislation already on the way before the shooting happened should deliver some changes, though compulsory psychological evaluations are not planned.

Czechia was left reeling after a student at the Faculty of Arts at Prague’s Charles University went on a killing spree there on Thursday last week.

The Faculty of Arts building at Jan Palach square | Photo: René Volfík,

Police said the lone gunman had brought an arsenal of weapons and ammunition to the school.

It soon emerged that the 24-year-old was a gun permit holder with no criminal record, while it was reported that he had bought a number of firearms earlier this year without attracting attention.

Last week’s attack was the third such mass shooting in Czechia in nine years, but, with a death toll of 14, was the worst incident of this kind in the country’s modern history.

The gunman had earlier shot dead a father and his two-month-old baby girl in a forest near Prague.

Czech leaders have largely presented the perpetrator as a deranged individual, while the minister of the interior, Vít Rakušan, said that no legislation could ever completely rule out mass shootings taking place.

Nevertheless, some attention has turned to the issue of access to guns in Czechia.

As it happened, new legislation in this area had already made it through two readings in Parliament prior to last week’s attack.

Minister Rakušan highlighted some of its provisions:

Vít Rakušan | Photo: René Volfík,

“It will improve the sharing of information between healthcare institutions and the Czech police, so that the police can – in clearly defined cases – actively work with doctors and ascertain whether people in psychiatric care are gun owners.”

At present the police can already remove firearms from people known to be mentally ill.

The requirements for obtaining a gun licence in Czechia are a clean criminal record, attendance at a course on handling guns and a note from a GP saying that the applicant is fit to bear arms.

However, it is at doctors’ own discretion whether an applicant must undergo a psychological evaluation.

Photo illustrative: ČT24

The new legislation referred to by Mr. Rakušan is due to take effect in just over two years’ time.

As well as permitting the removal of weapons from a person whose mental state has deteriorated it will also allow police to seize weapons from people linked to extremist groups or behind online threats of violence.

Vendors will be obliged to report suspicious gun purchases or inordinately large ammunitions sales.

Photo illustrative: Skitterphoto,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

The new legislation does not, however, envisage compulsory psychological tests that some believe could help prevent violent incidents.

Czechia is one of the most liberal countries in Europe when it comes to access to firearms.

What’s more, following legislative change in 2021, it is the only state in Europe where the right to bear arms in self-defence is enshrined in the Constitution.

Last year there were almost a million legally held guns in Czechia, a country with a population of 10.5 million. Over 314,000 individuals had gun licences.