By: Teresa Mull
Switzerland, traditionally one of the most pro-gun nations, will be increasing its gun control measures after a vote from its citizenry.
Swiss voters on Sunday approved a measure to tighten the Alpine nation’s gun laws, bringing the country in line with many of its European partners despite the objections of local gun owners, official results showed.
The Federal Chancellery said provisional results showed nearly 64% of voters nationwide agreed to align with European Union firearms rules adopted two years ago after deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.
In a piece titled, “Hands off our guns, Swiss enthusiasts tell EU ahead of vote,” Reuters UK quoted a 51-year-old Swiss man who has been shooting since age 12, who said, “This vote is just a step, and the next step will be the full prohibition of weapons. This is what I can see coming, and even we shooters soon won’t be able to keep our weapons at home.”
The initial EU proposal provoked an outcry because it meant ending the Swiss tradition of veterans keeping assault rifles after military service. Swiss officials negotiated concessions.
According to Time:
The Swiss proposal, among other things, requires regular training on the use of firearms, special waivers to own some semi-automatic weapons and serial number tracking system for key parts of some guns. Gun owners would have to register any weapons not already registered within three years, and keep a registry of their gun collections.
Jean-Luc Addor, a populist Swiss People’s Party lawmaker from the southwestern Valais region, said adopting the EU directive would be “unjust, freedom-killing, useless, dangerous, and above all, anti-Swiss.”
“With no effect on the fight against terrorism, it will only hit honest, law-abiding citizens who possess legal weapons,” he wrote on his website. “It’s the epitome of injustice.”
What’s more, gun violence is not rampant in Switzerland.
In a nation with nearly 8.5 million inhabitants, gunfire killed just 13 people in 2018, down from 14 in 2017, police data show. Government statistics show 229 people died from gunshot wounds in Switzerland in 2016, of which 212 were suicides.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.