Killing spree in Ostrava: time for new gun laws?
A Czech man with a history of mental illness killed six people and wounded others in a shooting spree at a hospital in the city of Ostrava on Tuesday. The motives of the attacker, who killed himself after the attack, remain unclear. The country is in shock and discusses whether its gun laws should be tightened.
Right-wing extremists trying to exploit fear
Following the attack, members of the right-wing extremist party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) demanded that citizens be armed. A cynical strategy, Dennik N writes:
“There is no other party in the Czech Republic that is so cold-bloodedly working to fuel hatred, fear, frustration and mutual distrust. For the SPD, this is a clear strategy: the more threatened people feel, the more likely they are to vote for us, is their logic. The attempt to liberalise weapons and use the bogeyman of Muslim terrorists as an argument is not a move aimed at increasing security. In both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, domestic attackers were and are a far greater threat. What's more, not a few of them are supporters of the SPD.”
Banning guns won't help
The Czech Republic opposes the initiative to tighten EU gun laws, and even after the Ostrava attack this shouldn't change, Echo24 argues:
“The European Union has exerted pressure because its Western European members felt the need to respond to a wave of terrorist attacks. And because it seemed politically impossible to name the true source of the problem - the Islamists - they turned to an ersatz problem - guns. ... Our gun laws are good. There's no reason why our gun lovers should pay for Western Europe's political problems.”