Gun Regulations: Gun ownership: What US can learn from the Swiss newsbhunt

NEW DELHI: Switzerland is often cited as a model by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to argue against the necessity of stricter gun regulations, emphasizing its low murder rates in the presence of millions of privately owned guns.
However, Switzerland’s approach to gun ownership is characterized by specific rules and traditions that contribute to its lower rates of gun violence compared to the United States, where gun-related deaths are at their highest in over two decades.
Switzerland has remained free from mass shootings since 2001 when a tragic incident occurred in Zug, where a man stormed the local parliament and killed 14 people before taking his own life. Despite having approximately 2 million privately owned guns in a population of 8.3 million, the country reported only 47 attempted homicides with firearms in 2016, resulting in an overall murder rate that remains close to zero.
One distinctive aspect of Swiss culture is its dedication to marksmanship. The country hosts an annual shooting contest known as Zurich’s Knabenschiessen, a centuries-old tradition that now includes teenage girls. Participants, aged 13 to 17, showcase their accuracy in target shooting with Swiss army-service rifles, aiming to earn the title of Schutzenkonig or “king/queen of marksmen.”
According to a report in Business Insider, Switzerland’s history of “armed neutrality” plays a pivotal role in its approach to gun ownership. The country has not engaged in international armed conflicts since 1815, and many Swiss citizens view gun ownership as a patriotic duty to protect their homeland. This dedication to national defense is reinforced by mandatory military service for Swiss men between the ages of 18 and 34, which includes training with pistols or rifles. After completing their service, these men can often purchase and retain their service weapons, provided they obtain a permit.
Switzerland’s unique approach to national security is evident in its well-designed infrastructure, with thousands of demolition points strategically placed on bridges, roads, railways, and tunnels. This fortification ensures national defense capabilities.
Approximately 25% of Swiss gun owners indicate they possess firearms for military or police duty, a stark contrast to the less than 5% of Americans who do the same. Alongside the militia’s arms, the country is home to about 2 million privately owned guns, although this figure has seen a decline in recent years, Business Insider reported..
According to the report, Switzerland maintains strict licensing procedures for gun ownership. Authorities on the cantonal level decide on gun permits and maintain records of gun ownership within their regions, known as cantons. While some firearms are exempted from permit requirements, cantonal police take the responsibility of issuing gun licenses seriously.
Swiss laws are designed to prevent individuals convicted of crimes or those struggling with alcohol or drug addiction from owning guns.
Additionally, anyone who expresses a violent or dangerous attitude is disqualified from gun ownership.
Switzerland ranks among the world’s richest, healthiest, and happiest countries, consistently performing well on measures that support happiness. According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, Switzerland was ranked sixth.
Interestingly, the United States has experienced a decline in happiness over the past decade, attributed to factors like declining social support, increased corruption, addiction, and depression.
However, Switzerland is not without its challenges when it comes to guns. The country still contends with one of the highest rates of gun violence in Europe, with suicides accounting for most gun-related deaths. Stricter gun laws around the world have been associated with fewer gun deaths, including in Switzerland.

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