Switzerland has long been one of the safest and best-governed countries in the world. The landlocked country has historically very few firearms restrictions and high rates of gun ownership. Until 1996, the firearms laws in Switzerland were entirely up to the local cantons.
Gun laws in Switzerland were generally less restrictive than in much of the United States. Most firearms weren’t registered. It was easy to purchase handguns and automatic rifles. Cannons required a $5 registration which could be obtained at the local police office. If you owned a cannon, the breech blocks were required to be stored separately. Before 1998, pistols could be carried most places. Some cantons required an easily obtainable permit.
As the push for European Union gun control intensified, a push was made for more restrictions to bring Swiss laws in line with the highly restrictive laws in the rest of the EU.
In 1999 the Swiss passed a referendum that imposed severe firearm restrictions (by historical standards). Additional tightening of controls were imposed in 2007. Full auto firearms and cannons are now difficult to obtain. Semi-auto rifles of military caliber and semi-automatic pistols are required to be registered.
It doesn’t matter how low the crime rate is to those who wish to disarm civilian populations. Even though the Swiss have world class low crime rates, those pushing for ever more restrictive laws use suicides and the rare gun crime to demand more restrictions.
A new platform composed of left-wing politicians, police officers and psychiatrists is pushing for Switzerland to follow the European Union in tightening controls on guns.
Representatives of the Social Democratic Party (SP), the Swiss police officers association VSPB/FSFP and the Swiss federation of psychiatrists and psychotherapists FMPP joined forces on Thursday ahead of a debate on the issue in parliament, the Tribune de Genève reported.
The EU parliament approved a revised gun law last year designed to close security loopholes and introduce tighter controls on blank-firing and inadequately deactivated weapons like those used in the Paris terror attacks.
On March 2nd the Federal Council issued a message on a “pragmatic implementation” of the EU legislation in Switzerland in response to the terror attacks in Europe.
The use of fraudulent “studies” by disarmament groups isn’t limited to the United States. In pushing for more restrictions on the Swiss, the use of militia weapons in a few suicides per year, is often cited as a reason to restrict all the Swiss. In 2009, there were 241 deaths in Switzerland associated with a firearm.
About 85% of those were suicides. Of suicides committed with guns in Switzerland, about 9% are committed with a military weapon. That puts the number committed with a military weapon in 2009 at about 19. Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal. No reason need be given. There were 300 assisted suicides in Switzerland in 2009.
Apparently, the only problem disarmament advocates have with suicides is when someone uses a gun to do it.
In 2009 there were only 24 homicides with firearms in Switzerland, for a firearms homicide rate of an astonishing low .31 per 100,000. But firearms homicides is a misleading number. The number that should be compared is the overall homicide rate. In 2009 in Switzerland, it was .7 per 100,000. In England and Wales the homicide rate for 2009 was 1.08. In France, the homicide rate for 2009 was 1.3.
An obvious reasons for imposing restrictive gun laws on the Swiss is that Switzerland serves as a shining counterexample of a prosperous country with considerable firearms freedom and a very low crime rate. People in England and France who look too closely might get the idea that their gun laws are too restrictive.
Statistics and death rates don’t matter to those who would disarm populations. The fact that citizens legally own firearms is the problem, not crimes or suicides.
If the Swiss federal government enacts a law, the Swiss people can call for a referendum to keep it from going into effect. If a restrictive firearms law is passed, it will likely face a referendum.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.