Switzerland rejects tighter gun controls

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by viceroy, Feb 14, 2011.

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  1. Those Sigs stay at home, for now, the BBC got one minor detail wrong, for the 'assault rifles' mentioned here are of course full auto in the case of serving soldiers & reservists, not semi auto.


    Swiss voters have rejected proposed tighter controls on gun ownership, final results show.
    Twenty of the 26 cantons and 56.3% of voters rejected the plan, meaning the current system allowing army-issue weapons to be kept at home will remain.
    Supporters of the tighter curbs wanted to have weapons kept in armouries and were demanding stricter checks on gun owners.
    Opponents said the move would have undermined trust in the army.
    For the proposal to succeed, it required the support of the majority of both citizens and cantons.
    Geneva and Basel both bucked the trend by approving it, according to the Swissinfo website.
    But German- and Italian-speaking cantons outvoted the plan's supporters in the French-speaking west.
    'Growing awareness'
    The result is a blow to gun-control groups in Switzerland, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva reports, but supporters of the initiative said they had at least started a debate.
    "We achieved a great deal by launching the initiative... There is a growing awareness of the risks of firearms," leading women's organisation Alliance F said in a statement quoted by Swissinfo.
    The far-right Swiss People's Party, which opposed the move, described the result as "the Swiss people's affirmation of their proud shooting tradition", AFP news agency reported.
    "A disarmed army is a weakened army. The Swiss people have recognised this. With today's 'no' on the weapons initiative, they have clearly rejected those army abolitionists," it said in a statement.
    There are an estimated two to three million guns circulating in Switzerland.
    No-one knows the exact number because there is no national firearms register, our correspondent adds.
    In addition to the semi-automatic assault rifle that all those serving in the army can opt to store at home, there are thousands of hunting rifles and pistols.
    Serving and former soldiers have been allowed to keep their weapons at home since World War II.
    The proposal to end that custom was backed by a coalition of doctors, women's groups and police associations.
    Although Switzerland's overall crime rate is low by European standards, the country has the highest rate of gun suicide in Europe.
    The proposal's backers had argued that keeping soldiers' firearms locked up in armouries would reduce the suicide rate.
    A number of high-profile killings in recent years - such as the shooting of ski star Corinne Rey-Bellet by her estranged husband in 2006 - have also boosted support for greater gun control.
    But the Swiss army is a national institution, and changing anything about it is controversial, says our correspondent.
    Opponents of the proposals said taking soldiers' guns away would undermine the military and could open the door to abolishing Switzerland's citizen army all together.
    The debate over its future will continue, with another referendum in the pipeline aimed at abolishing military service.
  2. The idea of reducing suicides by removing military weapons is as amusing as it is naive. I can just imagine a depressed Swiss bloke suddenly deciding that as he no longer has his StGw 90 at home he cannot kill himself, after all there are no other means available. Sorted.
    I suspect ulterior motives, there is no shortage of those who deeply mistrust law abiding armed citizens. All the more reason to be armed, at least in Switzerland.
  3. Trying to remove military firearms from domestic homes was a bit of grandstanding politiking by the gun grabbers in Switzerland.

    Even if they had suceeded, firearms are readily and freely available in Switzerland and most homes have more than one civvy gun too.

    The idea that removing StGw 90's from homes would eliminate suicides is idiotic, when you consider any law abiding Swiss can and do buy lots of civvy versions from any gunshops.
  4. Havent the swiss been neutral so far in every modern war ???? why they need to be armed to the teeth with all this hardware is beyond me. Marksmanship is about bolt action rifles. Sportsmanship is about double barrelled shotguns.
  5. Whats all this peoples army in Switzerlandall all about ??.

    If an invading army wanted their runny cheese or cuckoo clocks in the first place, all they would need to do is roll a giant snowball down the mountain to block the road in, job jobbed.
  6. We all drone on about how everybody should do a bit of National Service and then ask why the Swiss are all armed and ready for action.

    The traditional Swiss believe (as do many of us) that a bit of Army discipline is good for you. They appreciate that it isn't for everyone and so it is possible to get out of it but it is seen as your civic duty and not doing it can count against you.

    They take their neutrality very seriously and actively discourage foreigners from invading. You see the gun ports and artillery platforms at every major pass and sections of motorway that are very flat and without bridges and with central barriers that can be removed to make a runway in hours.

    The attitude to guns isn't relaxed - more 'mature' IMVHO. Whilst living there one of the ranges i used to use permitted you to take your MP5, mags and ammo and walk out of the shop, down the street and into a parkade where the basement was a range. This in the heart of Geneva.

    Another range I used was underneath a very swanky restaurant in a quiet suburb. You could hire everything from M-1 carbines and any type of pistol to thej civvy version of the assault rifle. Although there was a guy who went into that range, hired a Magnum and box of ammo, shot all bar one bullet and used that to top himself in the range. He was not someone who had done his military service...... And let's be honest, he didn't hurt anyone but himself. No crime there !

    In the UK it is possible to get weapons quite easily if you are in the know (I'm not !) and the relation of gun crime to gun control isn't as marked as you might think. Especially in these days of easy travel within Europe.

    As for marksmanship being about bolt-action rifles ...... I thought it was about being as good a shot as you can be with your personal weapon. Try defending your country with a bolt-action against those with assault rifles.

  7. Dogs Bollox, You used to shoot at Plainpalais below Securitas and Dynamik out in La Croix de Rozon? We use their private room every month for our competitions away from the public eye, with all the Gucci gear! PM me.
  8. Although neutral, they were quite happy to shoot down a number of Luftwaffe fighters that got too frisky during WWII.

    Marksmanship? The Stgw 90 is a very accurate weapon, far better than say a No4 Enfield.
  9. Well I would rather have a bolt action as its the only one I would know how to use. Plus I can see how a good sniper rifle would outshoot any assault rifle at distance , but anyhow, I would rather face off a bank manager with an arsenal of automatics than a pikey (and by definition his entire clan also) with a broken bottle.
  10. That Sir is fighting talk.
  11. A brand new No4 was only good for 4MOA.

    "All rifles were tested for accuracy by the Small Arms Inspection Department at 100 feet.. (from a machine rest)...Five rounds were then fired, and four of the five shots had to be contained in a rectangle 1" broad by 1 1/2" high."

    Minute of Man at 400yds
  12. In all honesty, this would have been third tightening of gun laws in 6 or 7 years and people have sent a signal that enough is enough. I am not against tightening of gun laws per Se, if there is a great deal of abuse with weapons in circulation, I, for one, am happy to tighten regulation. This is not the case here, there is one of the highest per capita ownership of guns in the world, but surprisingly little crimes committed with those weapons. The servicemen who do not want to keep their service weapon can dump in the armoury after the service already, no ammo is given home any more either.

    As Dogs Bollox points out, this is a tradition here and people feel that they have a right to keep their arms, federally registered or otherwise. To the military eye, this county is laid out to be prepared for a war. While the mindset may have changed over the past two decades, my house, builtt in 2005, still has anair raidid shelter thick enough that you could survive a nuclear strike complete with air filter, shitter etc, seeing is believing. A number of mountains were hollowed out, hospitals built within etc. One of the reasons the Swiss Air Force chose the F18 over the F16's was the Hornets could start out of the St. Gotthard tunnel (and any other road tunnel in essence), F16 bodies were too wide. While they have never been in a conflict, they certainly wanted to portray a readiness that would have made it difficult to gain and hold ground for an invading force. Ever since that thread was removed after the fall of the iron curtain though, the armed forces are trying to find their real purpose.
  13. Me dad would have something to say about that ! (no, CQMS isnt my dad.. but hes probably very like him !) anyway, my mate big Simon (who would be too fat to fight according to you lot.. though being cornered by him would not be a good place to find oneself if you had monked him off) has got a .308 which is a bolt action and he says he can hit a milk bottle at 3 miles with. Now I dont know if this is billy bullshit talking and it would be out of character of him if it was... but all I know is, it costs over a quid a shot. The bullets are over a quid each !. I took up archery..... you can reuse the arrows.
  14. Good for the Swiss! Universal gun ownership by all but criminals is good for reducing crime.
    Gun ownership only by criminals (as we just about have in the UK) is good only for increasing crime.
  15. Maybe its because they have been tooled up for the last 500 years that no one has felt the need to invade them.