Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gun laws in Slovakia

Today we will be in Bratislava, Slovakia. This, of all of the cities on our visit, is the most unknown to me. It looks like a fascinating city with lots of interesting history, as all of the cities we are visiting on our trip. From this article:
"The history of the city has been strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely by Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, and Jews.[4] The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of the larger Habsburg Monarchy territories,[5] from 1536 to 1783 and has been home to many Slovak, Hungarian, and German historical figures."
Bratislava is an ancient city with lots of interesting history:
The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, around 5000 BC in the Neolithic era. About 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the first significant settlement, a fortified town known as an oppidum, and also established a mint, which produced silver coins known as biatecs.[9] The area fell under Roman influence from the 1st to the 4th century AD and was made part of the Limes Romanus, a border defence system.[10] The Romans introduced grape growing to the area and began a tradition of winemaking, which survives to the present.
Wine tasting is on the agenda. Also on the agenda will be some tours of areas that were affected by World War II and the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia:
Bratislava was bombarded by the Allies, occupied by German troops in 1944 and eventually taken by the Soviet Red Army on April 4, 1945.[48][52] At the end of World War II, most Bratislava ethnic Germans were evacuated by German authorities. A few returned after the war, but were expelled without their properties under the Beneš decrees.[53]
Slavín war memorial commemorates fallen soldiers during the liberation of Slovakia in World War II
After the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city became part of the Eastern Bloc. The city annexed new land, and the population rose significantly, becoming 90% Slovak. Large residential areas consisting of high-rise prefabricated panel buildings, such as those in the Petržalka borough, were built. The Communist government also built several new grandiose buildings, such as the Most Slovenského národného povstania bridge and the Slovak Radio headquarters.
In 1968, after the unsuccessful Czechoslovak attempt to liberalise the Communist regime, the city was occupied by Warsaw Pact troops. Shortly thereafter, it became capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic, one of the two states of the federalized Czechoslovakia.
Bratislava's dissidents anticipated the fall of Communism with the Bratislava candle demonstration in 1988, and the city became one of the foremost centres of the anti-Communist Velvet Revolution in 1989.[54]
In 1993, the city became the capital of the newly formed Slovak Republic following the Velvet Divorce.[55] In the 1990s and the early 21st century, its economy boomed due to foreign investment. The flourishing city also hosted several important cultural and political events, including the Slovakia Summit 2005 between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin.[56]
So what are the gun laws in Slovakia? Much the same as Austria, the rate of gun homicides in 2010 was .18/100,000. Gun suicides were .94/100,000 in 2010. Also like Austria, licensing and registration is required and only special authorization allows citizens to own semi-automatic weapons. I'm happy to know that all of the countries we are visiting on our trip are mostly free from gun violence. Once again, the lawmakers in these countries have common sense. We should wish for the same in the U.S. It's clear that gun laws make a difference and that there are not daily incidents of shootings in the news. I will be checking for that, however, to see if it's true. Meanwhile, back at home, the carnage will continue at 32 gun homicides a day and 80 Americans a day in total who will die from bullet wounds.

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