In the wake of the Bratislava shootings at the beginning of this week, which cost 8 lives and 15 injured, the interior minister Daniel Lipsic has prepared a proposal to tighten gun control and the issue of gun permits. He also plans to equip the police better, by making a scorpion automatic firearm standard issue.
There is no need to undergo any kind of psychological test in Slovakia if you want to hold a gun permit. it used to be compulsory back in 1994 and 1995, but was cancelled possibly due to lobbying of hunting groups, gun clubs and the like, feels the interior minister.
The considerations now being given to the re-introduction of psychological tests have been invoked by the carnage that took place in the Devinska Nova Ves district of Bratislava on Monday of this week. The interior minister tried to reintroduce the tests back in 2002, but it was swept off the table because of pressure chiefly from hunting associations.
Now Lipsic is proposing that possession of a firearm be conditioned to passing a psychological test, which would have to be repeated every five years. At present the only requirement is a doctor’s certificate from your local GP.
Would such a step help prevent the kind of massacre witnessed in the Slovak capital this week? Many argue that it wouldn’t because even the killer, Lubomir Harman, had passed such psychological tests twice voluntarily in 1997 and 2006. Other arguments against the proposal include the fact that most killings are executed with illegal weapons.
Shooting sport associations are saying the move is too rushed, and several MPs are backing them, calling for more intense discussion of the issue before a decision is taken. There are over 57,000 hunters in Slovakia, for example, and minister Lipsic also wants to deprive them of the right to hold automatic weapons. This would affect also collectors, who would have to hand in their weapons or at the very least, have them modified.
The debate will go on, and although psychological tests might reduce the possibility of Monday’s tragedy being repeated, they certainly won’t prevent it altogether.