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gun ownership is MANDATORY in Switzerland?

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:24 PM
Original message
gun ownership is MANDATORY in Switzerland?
who knew?

lots and lots of guns in Switzerland and low crime rates ... makes a pretty good case for gun ownership one might argue.

well, Switzerland is cracking down big time on AMMUNITION. "a new law will actually ban keeping ammunition in citizens homes, instead requiring them to keep it at a separate armory."

source: http://www.gunguys.com/?p=2262

And apparently, mandatory gun ownership is going to be the next to go.

The Swiss government is tightening regulations for weapons while the senate has approved a general ban on the storing of army ammunition at home. The measures fall short of a ban on keeping military guns in private residences, although left-wing campaigners are planning to launch an initiative to achieve this goal.

The senate on Wednesday voted 35 to five (with two abstentions) in favor of a policy that will require most of the 120,000 active soldiers in the Swiss militia army to store their ammunition in arsenals rather than at home. At an exception will be made for 2,000 men serving as first responders and the situation could change if new threats arise. But the new policy is regarded as historic.

So even Switzerland, a country long used by gun guys as proof that mandatory gun ownership supposedly helps instead of hurts, is changing and reversing its gun policies. Why? Because theyre learning the same thing that citizens in the United States are: Firearms, even in friendly hands, are extremely dangerous.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. And all this time I thought
And all this time I thought the crime rate was so low because the Swiss speak French, German and Italian....


(sorry...)
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Make great watches, eat fondue and have fabulous chocolate...
..
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. i sometimes wonder whether ...
understanding what other people are saying leads to more violence or less ... :shrug:
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yep, been mandatory to keep a military issue gun in every household.
Edited on Wed Jun-27-07 01:30 PM by flamin lib
Also mandatory to register it by serial number to the holder, participate in mandatory training and military drills.

Low crime rate is due to the nature of the culture and very liberal government with cradle to grave government support for the citizenry.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. 22 years ago I visited a friend in Switzerland
...participate in mandatory training and military drills.

Every male adult citizen is required to register in a kind of national guard/army reserve. Each spends a few weeks out of the year at camp, and each has a specific job/task to perform in case of national emergency. One of the Swiss citizens I met was about 50 and had the task of patrolling the perimeter of a certain base, if called up. He was to report to that location if the call came through. I got the impression that as one got older, the obligation was lessen to coincide with one's age and health, but I could be wrong.

Many of these soldier/citizens could be seen at the Bahnhof (train station) in transit to their yearly commitment. Other than their uniform, gun, and pack, there was no dress code that I could see! These were indeed civilians with a national obligation. It wasn't uncommon to see a young man in uniform and toting a rifle and pack with long hair and a beard. It was very strange indeed to this American who was used to seeing "the Marine look" on our own soldiers.
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Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think this goes back to WWII when all Swiss were required
to store guns and ammo in the mountains in case of an attack against the country. I don't think it was ever meant for individual personal protection.
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sane society + Guns = Peace
Insane society + Guns = Chaos.

Guess which of the two we are.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Honestly, closer to the first one.
Despite our non-fact driven media and government, most people have a pretty tight grasp on reality.
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I wish I shared your optimism.
I look at our government, our corporations, the debt burden on the average family, the quality of food we eat, our values, our entertainment, our awareness of the wider world, the national obsession with celebrity, our religious mania, our approach to health care, and I do not see a sane society. We are crazy and getting crazier.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 02:19 PM
Original message
All those things are very real and very bad.
Can't argue with that. I just think that the powers that be have created these problems and are standing in the way of the progress that most people want.
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Solo_in_MD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Nice of you to note that it is not the guns causing the problems
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. Why the change in policy?
Is there actually a violent crime problem in Switzerland?

Of course guns are dangerous. So are automobiles and they kill a lot more people than firearms ever will. So is booze and smoking. I don't hear anyone clamoring to ban those things.
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bamacrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
11. Marijuana is legal there too, imagine that.
Peaceful, yet armed.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!
Don't you know that marijuana will make your head explode leaving you in a persistant dead state? Cuz, McGruff the crime dog told me and stuff and so did the gym teacher in my high school health class.

Hmm, no criminals = no crime.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
12. I thought it was only mandatory for militia members and
that militia duty obligations terminate at around age 30. After that, it is not mandatory to keep a gun.

Is my understanding wrong?
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DFW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Actually, yes, it is
My outfit has an office there, and our guy in Geneva just turned 60.
Although their ACTIVE military service ends at 30, they are required to
go on maneuvers for 14 days a year way beyond that (he HATED that!), I
forget if it was age 45 or 50. They are supposed to keep their weapons at
least as long as they are considered "reserves."

There is a historical reason for this. They have been neutral since the
confederation, but they have always been a tiny nation surrounded by neighbors
who have been involved in some pretty savage wars. Their terrain made the prospect
of invading the place unappetizing, and their mountains are honeycombed with secret
bases and tunnels, but high tech, not Taliban level. They could run the country from
there if they had to. They were very cozy with their biggest neighbors during WW2,
which probably saved them from active invasion consideration by Hitler and Mussolini,
but it wouldn't have been a cakewalk if they had invaded, and the Swiss would have tossed
their neutrality for alliance with us if the Axis had invaded. But all this is ancient
history as far as the current generation is concerned, and most of the city people see
no need to continue this tradition, which so far goes on uninterrupted.
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BluegrassDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 03:45 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's amazing how low poverty and a good education can be so beneficial
That's why Switzerland has low crime. Everyone there lives pretty damn good. They don't have the poverty we do and they have a great education system that allows everyone in the country a true chance at success.
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Perry Logan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
17. Gun guys love to talk about Switzerland--but, as always, they're wrong
Edited on Wed Jun-27-07 03:55 PM by Perry Logan
From the Coalition for Gun Control:

"Swiss criminologist Martin Killias, of the Universit de Lausanne, argues that the rate of households with firearms (in Switzerland) is actually comparable to that of Canada (27.2%). There is strict screening of army officers and ammunition is stored in sealed boxes and inspected regularly. Despite these controls, Switzerland has rates of gun suicide second only to the US among the countries Killias surveyed and a gun murder rate comparable to Canada's. Although firearms regulations in Switzerland is fragmented and controlled at the regional level, wide ranging reforms are being undertaken to establish national standards."
http://www.guncontrol.ca/Content/international.html

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xkenx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
18. The principle in Switzerland is the same as the founding fathers here envisioned it.
In fact the NRA conveniently forgets Amendment II to the US Constitution, which reads,

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

As in, the founding fathers were not giving carte blanche to gun ownership, EXCEPT as under proper controls, and as pertaining to citizens being part of a militia where they might be required to help repel foreign invaders, Indian attacks, etc. So Bushco's current trashing of the Constitution was long preceded by the gun lobby.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
19. Swiss laws regarding non-army-property guns aren't all that different from U.S. laws.
Non-army-issue automatic weapons are tighly controlled, IIRC, though perhaps not so tightly as in the United States. Non-automatic guns, including handguns, can be owned by the average Swiss citizen, IIRC.

The current debate pertains mostly to guns owned by the military and stored in citizen-soldiers' homes, not to privately owned Swiss firearms, AFAIK, though there are those (just as there are here) who would like to ban them.
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