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The Swiss have always had a lot of guns and significant freedom. As Machiavelli noted in “The Prince” in 1517:

“Moreover, a Republic trusting to her own forces, is with greater difficulty than one which relies on foreign arms brought to yield obedience to a single citizen. Rome and Sparta remained for ages armed and free. The Swiss are at once the best armed and the freest people in the world.”

The Swiss have remained one of the best armed countries in the world since then. Many claim they escaped most of the ravages of WWII because of their citizen army.

Switzerland is said not to “have an army” but “be an army.” Because of their universal training and weaponry, Switzerland has the largest potential army in Europe: 1.5 million men capable of bearing arms, who have the arms and ammunition and training.

After the current spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, the Swiss are buying even more guns. From usatoday.com:

GENEVA — Business at Daniel Wyss’ gun shop has been brisk lately in the village of Burgdorf near Switzerland’s capital of Bern.

He said the increased demand for firearms is triggered by a growing fear among the Swiss public that terrorists could attack their tranquil land at any time.

As nations around Europe tighten their gun laws after a series of terror attacks in several countries since 2015, the Swiss are bucking this trend by turning to firearms for protection.

Official statistics show that gun sales in some parts of Switzerland soared nearly 50% after last year’s attacks in Paris and the March bombings in Brussels. And gun sales continue to grow since the killings in France and Germany in the past two weeks.

In Wyss’ shop, “the demand for pistols, revolvers and pump-action guns rose by 30% to 50% after this month’s attacks in Nice and Munich,” he told USA TODAY.

USA Today cannot help but throw in some anti-Second Amendment propaganda, which is blatantly misleading:

Even though guns are prevalent, the violent crime rate is relatively low: about 7.7 firearm homicides a year per 1 million people, according to Human Development Index. In the United States, that number is nearly 30, one of the highest in the world.

First, the mind trick is to only look at “gun deaths.” That is insane. If reducing the number of guns increases other deaths, or makes no difference, what is the point of the policy of reducing guns?

Second, even using the biased, silly comparison of “gun deaths,” many countries have rates that are much higher than the United States, such as Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Albania, Thailand, the Philippines. Many countries do not separate out “gun homicides” such as Russia. If you take out gun violence generated by gang violence, the United States would be removed from the list.

The Swiss went through a dangerous period over the last 20 years. Socialists and pacifists worked hard to disarm the country. They didn’t succeed, but they pushed through much more restrictive laws than had existed prior to 1998. Military reservists no longer keep their ammunition at home. Full auto rifles require a permit.
 
It appears the Swiss are re-discovering the advantages of an armed society. They always had them. Events are sharpening their appreciation. As it is here, too. 
 
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

70 Responses to Are You European and Want a Gun? Be Swiss!

  1. Full-auto rifles require a permit? From what I remember, the only way to get your hands on a giggle switch equipped gun in Switzerland was to be issued it. (and god help your if you turn your army issued 550/552 to “fun” mode outside of approved training exercises) I believe you’re referring to semi-auto rifles.

    • Yes FA rifles require a permit. For that permit you require safe storage etc and that the police can control your storage. The ease of acquiring a permit varies between cantons. Generally though, no one gives a shit.

      • Ok… I now know where I am going to retire… Going to have to speak to my uncle about how to apply for dual citizenship…

  2. The Swiss have a gun murder rate lower than the U.S. How many cities overwhelmed by gang banger violence do the Swiss suffer from?

        • You mean people being free, safe, prosperous, and secure in their nation, culture, and future? The horror….

          Just remember we could have had this had we secured the border, and reduce legal immigration, and we can have it yet if we act now…

  3. Personally, I think the black market for guns in Europe will pick up rather extensively soon. The interesting thing about humans is that they will do whatever it takes to survive even if it means violating the law. I bet that some people throughout Europe are already weighing out risks — risk of jail versus death.

    Many years ago, I was a military cop stationed in Europe. I remember working an airshow where we searched everyone entering the base. We caught hundreds of people with switchblades entering the base. In that area of Germany, switchblades were illegal. Most of these people were generally good, average people, so we slapped evidence tags on them, held the knives while on base, and returned them as they left the base. Hmm, so much for that utopia the Progressives claim exist in Europe.

    Another story. I went to Switzerland back in 1988, and I visited one of their gun stores. It was probably the most stocked gun store I had seen in my life. Everywhere I went, I saw soldiers in uniform. I learned later that they had nearly 18 soldiers for every square kilometer, where in the US, we had something like 0.04. If I recall correctly, every man between 18 and 60 was in their military, and they stored their duty firearm at home. Oh, and the clincher, they had the lowest murder rate in Europe. At the time, I thought it was an amazing place.

  4. A very enjoyable and informative book on the Swiss Army and Swiss gun culture is “La Place de la Concorde Suisse” by John McPhee published in 1984. A little dated but still relevant and a mighty good read.

  5. The Czechs also have firearm freedom close to American standards. They even have shall issue conceal carry which I believe is the only place other than The US to offer it.

    • Isn’t Slovakia moving in that direction?

      (My only comment on the pic – “Thank goodness, for little girls… For little girls get bigger every day…”)

    • You do have to pass a written exam, and if you’re an expratriate you are SOL, as the exam must be taken in Czech.

      It’s quite a bit more stringent than here…but much better than most places.

      • Czech is actually not that difficult a language to become literate in. If you are literate in English and can speak Czech, you can get by fairly easily. You’re not going to be writing any epic literature, but you can probably learn to read and write in a few weeks. More traditionally slavic languages are far more problematic. For example, my Russian and Ukrainian are perfectly serviceable, but my ability to write in either language is extremely limited due to an unfamiliarity with the alphabet. Ironically enough, I can almost read Polish better than I can read Ukrainian (despite not really knowing Polish) due to the more familiar alphabet.

      • Wouldn’t it be great if all tests could be taken in any language you happen to know or like? I would love to take American driver’s license and CCW tests in Czech. Not today, but some 18 years ago.

        I know a guy who lives in USA over 20 years on green card, waiting to get old enough to be alowed to take his US citizenship test in Czech.

  6. “Military reservists no longer keep their ammunition at home.” My understanding is that they are no longer allowed to keep issued ammunition at home. They can, however, buy personal ammo at gun stores for their service weapons and keep that at home and many of them do.

    • I’m pretty sure you are correct. I read an article not too long ago within a year or two that stated they could purchase and keep personal ammo at home that could be used in their issued weapon. There may have been a limit on the amount they could stash tho.

  7. Also check out “Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality In World War II” by Stephen Halbrook, which I was originally referred to from TTAG [his other books rock, too…] for more on armed Switzerland.

  8. Many claim they escaped most of the ravages of WWII because of their citizen army.

    Actually, they escaped most of the ravages of WWII because they were Hitler’s bankers.

    • Academics differ on this. Of course, it could also be a combination. I believe it was Halbrook who found documents showing that German generals were given orders to invade Switzerland several times, but always found excellent reasons why they could not do so.

      As it turned out, the NAZI German military had plenty of other things on their hands, so Switzerland was saved for “later”. Later came too late for the Germans.

    • Yep.. and it was more trouble than it was possibly worth to conquer the Swiss. I wouldn’t pat them on the back too much. Also they have a largely homogeneous society (but even that is changing). I guarantee they won’t be overrun with aloha snack bars…

    • I think that is partly the reason.

      If you are looking at an armed country that will be costly to invade, the better thing to do might be to use that “neutral” country to hide most of your stolen money.

      I respect the fact that Switzerland is armed and peaceful. They should be ashamed they didn’t stomp Nazi ass during WWII.

      The rest of Europe got what they should have expected after letting Germany take the Saar and Sudetenland (US Signed too). You can’t buy peace with other countries.

      History will repeat itself once again. Different countries, same goals. Domination.

    • Oh yeah, that too. Move along, nothing to see here. When confronted with an existential threat one does what one has to do. Not exactly their proudest moment.

    • Yeah… That’s not exactly… True.

      Go read a history book about life in Switzerland between 1939 and 1945. They weren’t in any condition to be fighting any offensive wars.

      The banking thing was a minor footnote that resulted from all sides grudgingly accepting Swiss neutrality.

    • Banking in Switzerland during WWII was a murky business. Throughout, WWII GM (which maintained ownership of the Opel factories in Germany) received regular royalty payments for the German military vehicles produced during the war. GM maintained a commercial office in Switzerland and reportedly, once a month, a Nazi representative made a royalty payment to GM.

  9. What a load of bullshit.

    Switzerland is one of the most dangerous places with in europe along with austria and the czech republic.

    New Zealand is even dangerous due to it’s lax gun laws.

    Any guns criminals try to smuggle have been coming from these very same places.

    Australia, Japan and UK are much safer than these violent shiteholes.

    • American, I’m not so sure about the UK in your list. My visit there included some dicey places which were a little surprising given the impression that the unarmed Bobby kept things in order.

      The other thing I noticed was level of concern for “knife crime”, which was a staple in the media. I also recall the drop boxes near the tube entrances and parks where edged weapons could be safely surrendered.

      Maybe you know something that I don’t?

      • Nah- he/she/it is clueless. Switzerland is safe because GUNS. Change that moniker to “cluelessamerican”:)

    • Of the places you’ve listed, only Japan has a better homicide rate than Switzerland. Both Australia and the UK have almost double the rate (0.9 and 1.0, respectively vs 0.5 for Switzerland). Like I mentioned, Japan is better at 0.3, but it’s an absurd stretch to call Switzerland unsafe, even in comparison.

    • The UK is ranked as the most dangerous place in Europe–violent crime in Australia is horrendous; young, handicapped & elderly a primary targets–in all of the utopia (sarcastic) shit holes you mention crime is out of control, but the government controls what you hear(just like here)–I truly believe that you a delusional person that has been utterly brainwashed by liberalism

    • I’m happy your first line was indicative of the content typically found in your posts. — I didn’t read it.

    • At this point, I’d suggest we make a deal.

      I’ll give up all my guns, and tell everyone not to get guns;

      You’ll cut off your tongue, hands and feet, just so you’ll no longer talk, write or type.

      Deal?

    • “Switzerland is one of the most dangerous places with in europe along with austria and the czech republic.”

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

      Your credibility is now Zero point ZERO…

      • I’d say oblivious, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s fully aware that he spews falsehoods. Especially when he makes up ‘facts’ on the spot instead of relying on existing lies made up by others in the anti civil rights movement.

    • Does your mommy know you use bad words phoneyconcernedamerican.

      I hear Soros is paying $10/crazy libtard post at targeted forum. Is that what you rcv? I think we could take a collection that would at least pay to renewing your medications.

    • You idiots don’t recognize sarcasm? Is that because you don’t know the details about those countries, or… what exactly?

  10. The last time I spoke with a Swiss national, many years ago regarding citizenship it was not a simple process to “naturalize”. Perhaps this has changed?

    • Yeah… Getting Swiss citizenship is actually REALLY hard. You can’t even marry into it. Fun fact #2, Switzerland is one of the sane countries that does not practice birthright citizenship. If you’re born in Switzerland to non-Swiss citizens, so sorry, your ass is not Swiss. I think the US is long overdue to adopt the same policy. Make the citizenship available only be heredity or a very difficult naturalization process.

      • On this subject, I believe it was Vox Day that has posited that one does not become ‘naturalized’ into any population until AT LEAST the third generation, regardless what fiat laws say on the subject.

        First Gen immigrants: Still strongly identify with culture they left
        Second Gen: Strongly aculturated into new nation, but with remaining strong influences
        Third Gen: “Old ways” starting to fade, to lose influence on behavior, values and norms.

        Whether it’s Second Gen or Fifth Gen is immaterial, the gist/punchline is ‘naturalization’ is a process that takes time. Pretending one can just move into a country become a ‘citizen’ of that CULTURE is absurd.

  11. Compare Switzerland to one of our states that is demographically similar and the crime rates will be too. Comparing the US as a whole to Switzerland is comparing apples to oranges. Only people that want to deceive would be that foolish.

      • But pointing out that scientific fact is considered racist.

        It’s much akin to pointing out that 100% of Muslim-run countries are primitive shit-holes. Having some tall shiny buildings doesn’t make them first world, when they still stone to death the female victims of rape. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to pretend these animals are somehow morally equivalent to Westerners, and that we should ‘honor and respect’ their disgusting culture. Which will do whatever it must to destroy us, the Infidels, because that’s what some crazy pedophile warlord had some minion scribble down, so he could get laid.

        They’re free to their 9th century pathetic “lives”, and we’re free to keep them from destroying the civilized world, so that they can quit screwing young boys and goats, and get to those 72 virgins.

  12. Does anyone know the origins of this photo? I once saw people on an anti-freedom site try to dissect it and basically call B.S. on it. This pic pops up often when Switzerland’s gun culture is mentioned. It would be great to be able to authenticate it and know its back story.

    • Yeah, nothing but a bunch of Alps Ninga-ettes OC-ing long guns…

      How DARE they show their firearms in public. Right?

      {/sarc, not aimed at samuraichatter but the anti-OC dingles that spew their feces here}

    • You can try an image search on Google whenever you want to find out where a photo came from. Right click on the photo, and save it to your computer, on your desktop ideally. Then open Google homepage, click on the Images link at the top right, and when the image search page comes up, just use your mouse and left button to drag that photo from your desktop into the search bar for Google. It will scan the web for everywhere the same photo appears, and you can check those sites for photo info.

      I did this, and found one with a caption and photographer credit for the photo in question that looks legit:

      http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-tradition_gun-loving-folk/29123560

      And used that to get me to the original photographer’s portfolio with the picture:

      http://www.keystone.ch/bild-disp/search/specialsLB!doPaging.action?_botValid=1&model.pageNumber=3&searchID=

      The caption, translated from German by Google, reads:

      “Sybille Dittli, front, and Tabea Kueffer from Emmenbruecke are on Saturday 24 May 2003 on the way to federal field target shooting at the shooting range in Hueslenmoos Emmenbruecke LU. (Near Lucern, Switzerland) The young Citizens from Emmenbruecke were invited for the occasion and equipped with guns and came in large numbers. (KEYSTONE / Sigi Tischler)”

  13. As others have said, Switzerland has a basically homigenous population
    It does does not have inner city ghettos filled with minorities and gangs
    It does have a good gun culture !

    • So… Basically most of the advantages of living in the US with few of the downsides. Gee… I think I found my answer to the next lefty who screams about wanting to be more like Europe.

      Step 1: Draft everyone into the militia.
      Step 2: Deport anybody who does not assimilate into traditional American society.

      • Step 2 is the important part – one which immigrants formerly had very little choice not to choose. If one wanted to eat, one assimilated. If one wanted a roof over one’s head, one got with the program. Sadly, there is now another option, and that’s free money, housing, medical care. Stuff that the people who have been here for dozens of generations building the country, and paying taxes, aren’t apparently entitled to.

        I know lots of recent immigrants – they’re all legal. They all want to be here. They still believe in the American ideal (more than some of us who have been here since well before this was an independent nation). They want to be friends with the natives, they want to do what we do. In return, we’re cool with their food, odd to us customs, whatever. They’re Americans, they followed the rules, and get the same respect as any other citizen.

        They know right from wrong, and that’s why many are here. They are now mostly STEM employees, and make in the 6-figure range, starting from nothing 10+ years ago. They pay their taxes, and wonder to me why we let the illegals stay. Especially the illegals who think that there is some divorcing of culture from quality of life.

      • “Deport anybody who does not assimilate into traditional American society.”
        Your fascism game on point today Serge.

        • I’m sorry, the US is a melting pot, not a salad bowl. Assimilate or get the fuck out.

          There is nothing “fascist” about protecting your culture, your values, and your way of life within the territory of your own nation.

        • Sergei, Thanks for wanting to be here, thanks for being a part of our culture, thanks for understanding the “old culture” was what made your previous place of residence, why you left it for something better.

          Those like you, and a majority of the former Russian/Ukrainian immigrants in my current circle of friends (in my neck of the woods anyway). You have seen oppression first-hand, and understand the ultimate ramifications in recent history. You are more ‘American’ than many who have been here a few generations. Let alone the illegals….

  14. Aftet reading some of the comments, I wish people would stop using “UK” and use Great Britain or GB.

    Northern Ireland is not under many of the gun laws that GB is… And they have a much lower violent crime rate than GB and even Ireland.

    • I always heard Northern Ireland petty crime was lower than the rest of Ireland and the UK because it could get you kneecapped or severely beaten by the paramilitaries there (both Republican and Loyalist) who acted as de facto police in their communities. Get caught stealing and you could end up a cripple for life.

  15. Dennis Prager often mentions that one way to determine if some action is morally correct is to extrapolate what would happen to society if everybody else did the same thing.

    Now, about the issue of Swiss neutrality….

    • Wouldn’t that extrapolation include Germany remaining neutral and not invading anyone?

  16. Regarding their low rates of gun crimes, here’s the thing to think about:

    How many Crips are there in Switzerland?
    How many Bloods are there in Switzerland?

    Is it zero?

    Why is that?
    Why do they have zero, and the U.S. has so many?

    Is it because they just don’t tolerate such behavior in the first place?
    Or is it because the U.S. has so many defective sub-cultures, that not only tolerate such behavior but actually promote it? generation to generation?

    People in the U.S. need to open their eyes, and see what the problem is. It isn’t guns, obviously. It is a sub-culture of violence… of a lack of morals…. of simply not ever being taught right from wrong.

    As to the solution?
    I don’t know what would be best.
    I know that continuing to tolerate it isn’t going to fix it thought. That will just contribute to making it worse… which is exactly what has been happening over the last few decades.

  17. Being a Czech that CCs daily, I can’t but correct your title:

    “Are You European and Want a Gun THAT YOU CAN KEEP AT HOME? Be Swiss!”

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