Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Switzerland to Banish Guns from Homes

In beautiful Switzerland they're preparing for a referendum concerning the famous gun laws. Service in the militia is compulsory for men aged between 19 and 31 and in between call-ups they store their weapons at home. CNN reports.

A coalition led by the country's Social Democrat party and the Greens has collected nearly 120,000 signatures to force a national referendum on whether the weapons should be stored at military bases.

The coalition of 74 groups says the weapons are involved in too many suicides and murders in the country and tighter controls are needed.

Switzerland's armed forces consist of just a few thousand permanent full-time staff, with the rest essentially a militia.

Perhaps it would be easier to discuss this issue using another country as the backdrop. I found it very interesting that the Swiss coalition behind this initiative seems to think the availability of guns causes an increase in suicide and murder rates. I guess the Brady Campaign and I aren't the only ones singing this song. What do you think about that?

Another interesting aspect of this story is that in 2007 the law changed, banning the storage of ammunition in homes. Doesn't that beg the question of how, if there's no ammunition allowed, do so many people use these weapons to commit suicide and murder? I guess the miscreants had some ammo left over from before the 2007 law, or perhaps bullets aren't that hard to come by. What do you think?

Removal of the right of part-time soldiers to keep their weapons at home is not the end of it. The dreaded registration of all guns is what the coalition is really after.

Green lawmaker Josef Lang said more than 1.5 million unused weapons were kept in Swiss homes.

Lang said their presence "at the heart" of the population could not be justified.

He said a national register had to be created to keep track of the weapons, something police had long been seeking.

Lang said the weapons had to be "banished" from homes.

Is "banished" the same as "banned?" Maybe that's our problem in America, we're using the wrong term for what to many people is a common sense operation. Josef Lang says quite simply, keeping all those guns in homes "could not be justified."

What's your opinion? Is the Swiss move to "banish" guns from homes some sinister movement akin to treason, as David Codrea says? Do the Swiss lawmakers who are striving to make these changes motivated by anything other than what they say, to reduce suicide and murder? What do you think?


  1. Registration always leads to confiscation. Murder and suicide rates will not change...or perhaps rise.

    This is the sinister side of gun control.

  2. From a 2001 Article

    Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept....
    In addition to the government-provided arms, there are few restrictions on buying weapons. Some cantons restrict the carrying of firearms - others do not.

    The government even sells off surplus weaponry to the general public when new equipment is introduced.

    Guns and shooting are popular national pastimes. More than 200,000 Swiss attend national annual marksmanship competitions.

    But despite the wide ownership and availability of guns, violent crime is extremely rare. There are only minimal controls at public buildings and politicians rarely have police protection.

    According to Wikipedia, here are the suicide rates
    Country, Men, Women, Total
    France 26.4 9.2 17.6 2005 Swiss 24.7 10.5 17.5

    France is Number 20 on the list, Switzerland is #21. France has fewer firearms and more restrictive laws then Switzerland, right?

    If firearm availability is a key issue, why does France have a higher or comparable suicide rate?

    If firearm available is a key issue, why is the firearm related crime rate in Switzerland so low?

    Perhaps, it is simply a ploy to control people?

  3. To help frame the latest gun story from Switzerland in context, let's consider that Switzerland is adopting to the changing times of the 21st century. Surrounded by countries who were going to war with themselves in the 20th century (ie France,Germany)the compulsary service (which the US should have)like the gun law is intended to protect the country. In addition to the gun ownership by the men in service, during the Cold War, the Swiss required that all apartment buildings have a fallout shlter in it. Located between countries with nuclear weapons and on the front line of the cold war, you can't blame the Swiss for this precaution.
    While visiting a fried in Switzerland I saw the fallout shelter in their apartment building that was now being used a storage place.
    Getting back to the gun topic, the Swiss like other European countries are learning from past mistakes and adjusting thier legislation and laws to the changing times.

  4. "European countries are learning from past mistakes and adjusting thier legislation and laws to the changing times."

    What mistakes are these?

  5. Il Principe,

    Is there a need to "adjust" their legislation?

    Are firearms a problem in reality or just the perception of some?

    I don't find any evidence to suggest that the firearms are causing higher rates of suicide or greater violence. It just isn't there.

    So, how about some evidence to support the claims?

  6. More Truth for Mike and others to ignore

  7. "What's your opinion? Is the Swiss move to "banish" guns from homes some sinister movement akin to treason, as David Codrea says? "

    I'm with Codrea here. History has proven him right time and time again.

  8. From the CNN report.

    The coalition estimates that 300 deaths annually are connected to gun use. reports that Switzerland has a death rate of 8.3 per 1,000 people. Population of Switzerland in July 2008 estimated to be 7,581,520.

    Check my math, but that death rates shows 62,926 deaths per year, right?

    300 deaths yearly connected to gun use equals 0.477% of the yearly deaths as attributable to firearms.

    While tragic, hardly an epidemic?

    Does availability of firearms affect rates?

    Nationmaster has a stat that lists rates of suicide per 1,000 for various age groups.

    I totaled up France's and Switzerland's.

    France had an average of 27.79 per 1,000 people. Switzerland with more firearms had an average of 27.86 per 1,000 people.

    Murders with firearms?
    Switzerland - 0.00534117 per 1,000
    Canada - 0.00502972 per 1,000

    Murders per capita (per 1,000)
    #40 France: 0.0173272
    #44 Canada: 0.0149063
    #46 U.K: 0.0140633
    #47 Italy: 0.0128393
    #49 Germany: 0.0116461
    #56 Switzerland: 0.00921351

    Does it really show that U.K. with stringent gun control laws has a murder rate that is 50% higher then gun crazy Switzerland? And is lower then Italy?

    But I thought MORE GUNS equals More Crime?

  9. It's been a while but when I lived in Germany and Switzerland the Green Party was about as effective as Libertarians in the United States. In other words, if times haven't changed, their referendum isn't worth jack squat.

    Speakin of Germany, while I lived in Bavaria, the other end of Germany on the border with Poland and Czech Republic is a very violent place. I have seen neonazis having parades, a dark skinned person should not walk alone on the streets and would not really dream in living in some of the villages...hardly a peaceful country. Same goes for Czech Republic. If you are a caucasian and wander into sections with predominantly gypsy population you are going to be robbed and knifed. While guns are not easily disseminated among the population is sure doesn't help you from getting killed. You'll smarten up very quickly and stay clear of dangerous situations and locations.

  10. Mike

    If reducing availability of firearms is one of the answers, why is the suicide rate comparable in France and Switzerland?

    If reducing availability of firearms is one of the answers, the primary answer according to what you push, why is the murder rate higher in the U.K. and Italy then Switzerland?

  11. I don't think he'll be addressing these issues, Bob. Mike obviously doesn't care. He wants guns banned. I have no idea why. But he's not interested in telling us.

    That post last week gave me a little faith that he wasn't yet another ignorant anti-gunner. I'm near positive I was wrong.

    Why guns, Mike?

  12. Weer'd, You're asking me "Why guns" again and again, even after I answered you the other day. Is this like that Fox News trick of repeating something over and over till it increases in credibility? In this case by continuing with your questions, you hope to what, convince people that I don't answer?

    Here's what I said three days ago: ""Why guns?" Weer'd keeps asking. Well, the truth is I'm much more passionate about the death penalty. It's only since I started talking to you guys that I became so interested in guns. You brought it out of me."

    On another thread, in an attempt to answer this same question, I said "Why not guns." Then I went into a long bit about how guns are only a part of the problem, but it's a part we can do something about.

    What's your problem, Weer'd?

  13. I mean Mike "Why do you want higher gun control?"

    I think you know that. But I'll play davil's advocate.

    So why do you want more gun control, Mike?

    (And please tell me I don't have to wait 24 hours for the next non-answer)

  14. Two blog updates and looks like four comments made since my reiteration of the question. Amazingly this thread is untouched.

    I am certainly getting sick of this shit.

    I suspect Thomas was correct. Tho "Teaching a Gerbil to play cards" is incorrect, as a Gerbil doesn't have the capacity to learn higher games....Mike KNOWS the game, and chooses to play for the side he knows is wrong. While I have seen gerbils do horrible things to eachother, I don't think they reach the level of sinister that Mike has chosen to exibit.

  15. Mike,

    How about addressing Weer'd question of why more gun control?

    How about addressing mine regarding the fact that Switzerland has a lower homicide rate and lower suicide rate then other countries but has higher availability of firearms? How does that square with your opinion?

  16. "Maybe that's our problem in America..."

    Is not a valid term to be used by a long term Italian ex-pat with no plans to return to the US.

    You're a fucking Italian in all but birth. Get over it and keep your fucked laws to yourself you worthless shit-stirrer. If you were an American you'd still be one. You aren't. Get over it.

    Best Regards,

  17. Here's a good question from Bob: "If reducing availability of firearms is one of the answers, why is the suicide rate comparable in France and Switzerland?"

    France is apples, Switzerland is oranges, that's why. They each have their own separate set of complex reasons for things, the gun situation being only one.

    The right comparison is what Switzerland is like now and what it could be (would be) like with fewer guns.

    And please don't respond with the old UK stats you like so much. I came up with my own remember, but you found them incomplete and misleading while your own are comprehensive and irrefutable. That's just no fair.

  18. We're still here, and an answer is not forthcoming.

    Modus Operendi.

  19. Mike,

    You completely prove the point and then won't accept it.

    Apples and orange BUNK.

    If reducing gun availability is the answer to the problem, show the evidence that it has worked.

    Every study, every statistic, every piece of evidence that doesn't support your view, that DIRECTLY contradicts your point of view YOU DISMISS.

    It is starting to get more then pathetic and it is apparent that you really don't have an open mind. That you really don't want to know what we think, you want to ban firearms and NO evidence to the contrary will be accepted.

    The fact is that your stats were "incomplete and misleading". What did you do, ask 3 of your friends if they felt safe in England?

    Okay, how about this. In Switzerland, they changed the laws to keep the ammunition in a central location and not at home with the firearms. That is within the same country, right?
    So, did it change the suicide rates? No.

    Did it change the homicide rates? NO.

    Gun control isn't about the complex issues you speak of, it is about control.

    You are fast proving yourself just to be another lying gun banner.

  20. France is apples, Switzerland is oranges, that's why.

    and America is deep-fried snickers bars.

    this all being very true, why even bother quoting the example of one country as a standard of what should be done in any other one? why bother trying to compare standards across international borders? we just agreed they're not comparable, didn't we?

  21. Bob said, "Gun control isn't about the complex issues you speak of, it is about control.

    You are fast proving yourself just to be another lying gun banner."

    I insist it's only about trying to diminish the violence and bloodshed. There may be some politicians who fit that creepy model of tyrant-in-the-wings secretly planning on disarming the populace in order to oppress them, but Bob, please come back to reality. That's not what this is all about.

  22. "I insist it's only about trying to diminish the violence and bloodshed."

    Except when it leads to MORE violence and bloodshed (like 100% of the time) and decreased gun control results in just what you claim to support.

    in otherwords you're lying again. Cuite!

  23. Mike,

    I insist it's only about trying to diminish the violence and bloodshed.

    Then show were gun control has lead to a diminished level of violence and bloodshed.