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Charles University shooting ignites international dialogue on gun control

2024.01.06 10:00:27 Dongha Kim

[Police Line. Photo Credit to Pixabay]

On the night of December 21, 2023, a student shooter opened fire on the philosophy department building at Charles University in Prague.

More than 14 people were killed, and about 20 were injured in this incident.


The shooter turned out to be a student at Charles University.


What was more surprising was that the student was an excellent student at the university, making the shooter’s motive for the crime even more mysterious.


Although the student didn’t have a criminal record, after searching his house, the officers suspected that he had killed 3 more people.


The police believed the shooter had killed his father earlier the day he committed the crime for shooting in school.


He was also suspected for killing one man and his daughter a few days before the shooting.


By the time the shooter was detected, he was already dead, with severe injuries.


After the inspection of his house, the police have assumed that he had been planning to kill himself.


Therefore, the main cause of his death remained cryptic: whether he died from injuries or from commiting suicide after opening fire.


Because this shooting incident was the deadliest in modern Czech history, the gun ownership of Czechs is being discussed with concern for rising gun fires.


According to local police officers, the student legally owned several guns and had carried ammunition on the day he went to shoot people in the university.


Since gun ownership is legal in the Czech Republic, civilians could possibly get their own guns, even though there are some complicated processes to go through to carry a gun.


Although the main purpose of the Czech Republic allowing gun ownership is for self-defense, there were a total of 195 gun deaths in Czechia in 2019.


Contrary to U.S. gun deaths, which recorded a total of 1500 deaths only in 2019.


However, having a shooting incident itself is a huge downside of legal gun ownership.


Moreover, the concern of gunfire is rising in the Czech Republic since it has been continuously rising.


Legal gun ownership may be very effective for those who genuinely need self-defense tools, but it has the potential for gun shooting incidents, resulting in an increase in victims.


Prague Police Chief Martin Vondrazek said that the student’s crime was “Well thought out, a horrible act.”


Recently, on December 27, 2023, in Lynn, Massachusetts, Essex, two teens were shot and killed, and there haven't been any arrests, meaning the criminal wasn’t detected.


Because of the increase of gun shootings and victims, the U.S. even came up with a few policies to reduce gun violence.


President Biden of the U.S. has addressed the issue of gun violence and came up with some policies that could reduce it.


The new policy suggests increasing background checks before the gun purchase, improving public awareness with appropriate use of extreme risk protection, providing policymakers more information about the gunman violating the law, and more.


Czechia and other countries with legal gun ownership have concerns relating to increasing gun- firing incidents, and many policymakers are now discussing how to implement policies to reduce more victims.

Dongha Kim / Grade 11
Branksome Hall Asia