Guns in Switzerland


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Grassman
February 9, 2013, 09:40 AM
Why Switzerland
has so many guns

Max Fisher
The Washington Post

The U.S. conversation about whether or not to introduce new guns laws, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that killed 28 people, has often drawn upon international comparisons. American gun culture is largely unique, but advocates on both sides have often pointed to the gun-control success stories (we looked at Japanese and British gun laws) as well as the countries with relatively wide gun ownership, such as Israel. But what about Switzerland?

Switzerland has the world’s third-highest number of privately held guns per person, after the United States and Yemen, an outgrowth of its unique military culture. Service is mandatory for young men, though the national military is a little bit like a collection of local militias. That militia-tinged military culture blurs the line, just a bit, between an “on duty” time, when it’s normal to carry a gun, and “off-duty”; the result is that it’s not considered crazy, as it might be in the United States, for a service member to carry his or her assault rifle home.

It also means that gun owners are more likely to have formal firearm training. (Such training is also mandatory in Israel, something that some gun control advocates have discussed implementing in the United States). But it’s more complicated than that.

The Washington Post’s Edward Cody visited the country to investigate its national gun culture and came away with some interesting observations. The “tradition of off-duty troops storing their guns at home in a closet” is just the start. Here’s Cody:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/08/why-switzerland-has-so-many-guns/

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