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Thread: The Swiss and Their Guns

  1. #1
    Regular Member Kloutier's Avatar
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    The Swiss and Their Guns

    http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/t ... uns-27329/

    While the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona revived a predictable and unchanging round of gun control debate in the U.S., a referendum in Switzerland — Europe’s best-armed nation — is showing a shift of opinion away from private gun ownership.
    Every third household in Switzerland has a firearm, normally government-issued, because every male citizen under about 50 is also a reserve soldier. Instead of a standing professional army, the government maintains a well-armed militia to be called up in case of war.
    The tradition goes back to at least 1291, when several regions of what’s now Switzerland rose up against the Austrian empire, starting a war of liberation with citizen-soldiers like William Tell (who may be mythical) wielding private crossbows and hunting bows to defeat a more professional Habsburg army. Legends of Swiss independence have an almost American ring of under-doggedness.
    But a referendum on Feb. 13 will decide whether the Swiss should go on keeping their guns at home or store them in public arsenals. Lately, yes votes for the arsenal bill have led public opinion — 45 percent support it versus 34 percent who oppose, plus a wide undecided margin, according to a poll from early January.

    EUROPEAN DISPATCH
    Michael Scott Moore complements his standing feature in Miller-McCune magazine with frequent posts on the policy challenges and solutions popping up on the other side of the pond.

    If the Swiss tradition of armed domesticity falls, the American gun lobby may lose a prime example of responsible European gun ownership. Nonhunting firearms are rare across Europe; but Switzerland has always struck American gun owners as a shining case of a well-trained and relatively peaceful armed society.
    Not that there isn’t violence. The arsenal initiative is led by women fed up with lethal accidents at home, as well as domestic violence, which has a way in Switzerland of ending in gunfire. The rate of death-by-gun in Switzerland in 2005 was 6.2 per 100,000 people — well behind the U.S. rate of 9.4 per 100,000, but still second in the world.
    The problems in Switzerland tend to be suicide and family killings, not the sort of random public gun crime — like holdups or mass murder — traditionally seen in America.
    U.S. gun advocates put this down to national character. “Cultural conditions, not gun laws, are the most important factors in a nation’s crime rate,” ran the (unchanging) argument in a 1990 issue of American Rifleman. “Young adults in Washington, D.C., are subject to strict gun control but no social control, and they commit a staggering amount of armed crime. Young adults in Zurich are subject to minimal gun control but strict social control, and they commit almost no crime.”
    But one main difference in Switzerland is that the swarm of public firearms includes very few automatic weapons. Before the government sends an assault rifle home with a reserve soldier, it removes the automatic or rapid-fire function and leaves the weapon in self-loading, or semi-automatic, mode.
    Active-duty soldiers traditionally get to store assault rifles at home; but the arsenal law would only strengthen Swiss restrictions against home storage of “especially dangerous weapons that are designed only to kill, such as automatic or so-called pump-action weapons,” as the Swiss broadcasting network SRF puts it.
    The non-radical idea of banning sophisticated military firearms from American streets is, of course, roughly the Obama administration’s position on gun control. But when the president in 2009 tried to extend the assault-weapons ban that expired under Bush in 2004 — the law that would have prevented Jared Loughner from buying that long clip for his Glock pistol — there was a panicked run on assault rifles across the United States; Obama backed down.


    An interesting read, But I found this quote to be oddly funny:

    Legends of Swiss independence have an almost American ring of under-doggedness.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    The "Swiss Gun Freedom" myth is just that--a myth.

    In Switzerland, yeah, sure you get to keep your rifle after your mandatory Militia service is over--but they convert it to semi-auto. You can only keep a limited amount of ammo in your home. The government DOES pay for a certain amount of ammo per year--that they dole out at ranges during official matches, and qualifications, but under Swiss law, any ammo purchased from the range privately, or received from the government for free MUST be used at the range--and you CAN'T take home what you don't shoot (but many Swiss do anyway--even though it is illegal).

    Handgun ownership is almost as tightly controlled as most other EU nations. The Swiss model for handgun ownership is similar to the German model. Essentially, if you are rich or well-connected, you can get one. If you aren't it's nearly impossible.

    And carry--in any mode--is nearly impossible in Switzerland unless you are, again, rich and/or well connected...

    Private sales require a buyers permit--just like sales from a dealer.

    Ammo is all registered at the point of sale (any size larger than .22LR)

    Don't buy into the media hype about the "Swiss Model" for firearms ownership. If you look into the laws, they still have a LOT of restrictions and conditions for ownership, and their laws have much more in common with Germany than the US...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_pol...in_Switzerland

    And in case you aren't up on international gun-grabbery, there is a referendum in Switzerland on Feb 13, 2011to vote for a new set of MUCH more restrictive gun laws, where if passed, they would be rounding up all the surplus military firearms in the public's possession, would require active-duty militia members to store their firearms in centrally-located armories, would create a national gun registry, and would make ownership of a private firearm require "proof of need"...

    So it seems that even Switzerland isn't immune to the frothing, nanny-state gun-grabbery that the rest of the EU has fallen under, and is so vocal (though luckily, pretty ineffective) here in the US...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 01-19-2011 at 05:41 PM.
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    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
    -Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    Marine General James Mattis,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kloutier View Post
    Swiss restrictions against home storage of “especially dangerous weapons that are designed only to kill, such as automatic or so-called pump-action weapons,” as the Swiss broadcasting network SRF puts it.
    Apparently their news media gets things wrong as well.
    Automatic = pump-action

  5. #5
    mattwestm
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    Good luck ever becoming a Swiss citizen. They try very hard to preserve their culture. They even go as far as to interrogate your neighbors to make sure you cook Swiss food and tend your garden in the proper Swiss way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattwestm View Post
    Good luck ever becoming a Swiss citizen. They try very hard to preserve their culture. They even go as far as to interrogate your neighbors to make sure you cook Swiss food and tend your garden in the proper Swiss way.
    I have never wanted to be anything but a true, red-blooded American patriot. There is no other place in this world I would rather live than right here.
    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever does.- Margaret Mead


    Those who will not fight for justice today will fight for their lives in the future,

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote. Benjamin Franklin

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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    If these idiots get this done, watch for the crime rate to go up and up and up. Especially home invasion and burglary.
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Please delete.
    Last edited by since9; 01-21-2011 at 04:23 AM.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kloutier View Post
    Legends of Swiss independence have an almost American ring of under-doggedness.
    My favorite Swiss friends would have loved this.
    Last edited by since9; 01-21-2011 at 04:22 AM.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  10. #10
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    The "Swiss Gun Freedom" myth is just that--a myth.

    In Switzerland, yeah, sure you get to keep your rifle after your mandatory Militia service is over--but they convert it to semi-auto. You can only keep a limited amount of ammo in your home. The government DOES pay for a certain amount of ammo per year--that they dole out at ranges during official matches, and qualifications, but under Swiss law, any ammo purchased from the range privately, or received from the government for free MUST be used at the range--and you CAN'T take home what you don't shoot (but many Swiss do anyway--even though it is illegal).

    Handgun ownership is almost as tightly controlled as most other EU nations. The Swiss model for handgun ownership is similar to the German model. Essentially, if you are rich or well-connected, you can get one. If you aren't it's nearly impossible.

    And carry--in any mode--is nearly impossible in Switzerland unless you are, again, rich and/or well connected...

    Private sales require a buyers permit--just like sales from a dealer.

    Ammo is all registered at the point of sale (any size larger than .22LR)

    Don't buy into the media hype about the "Swiss Model" for firearms ownership. If you look into the laws, they still have a LOT of restrictions and conditions for ownership, and their laws have much more in common with Germany than the US...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_pol...in_Switzerland

    And in case you aren't up on international gun-grabbery, there is a referendum in Switzerland on Feb 13, 2011to vote for a new set of MUCH more restrictive gun laws, where if passed, they would be rounding up all the surplus military firearms in the public's possession, would require active-duty militia members to store their firearms in centrally-located armories, would create a national gun registry, and would make ownership of a private firearm require "proof of need"...

    So it seems that even Switzerland isn't immune to the frothing, nanny-state gun-grabbery that the rest of the EU has fallen under, and is so vocal (though luckily, pretty ineffective) here in the US...
    +100

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