John Lott published a post on the Swiss gun debate which includes a wonderful video which can be viewed here courtesy of the World Radio Switzerland site.
The main protagonist of the video is a Swiss man who explains the law in his country under which young men are required to do military service and keep their rifles at home after being discharged. He describes a moving experience he'd had while visiting one of the Jewish holocaust sites, after which he became more convinced than ever of the need for an armed citizenry in order to prevent tyrannical government actions against them. He sounded amazingly like many American gun owners, same rationale, same world view.
I wondered if in spite of the estimated 500,000 men who keep their military rifles at home, if the passionate ones, the ones who participate in the shooting event shown in the video, for example, are actually a small percentage. I think that's probably the case, just like it is in the U.S., a small but very vocal minority.
The opposing view was presented by a man active in an organization called Group for Switzerland Without an Army. He said they have studies that show the connection between the readily available firearms in Swiss homes and the acts of abuse of those firearms, referring to the 300 or so deaths per year, many by suicide. He goes on to say gun availability is not the only factor, but it is a significant one.
It is fascinating that they have the exact same discussion over there that we have here.
What I didn't understand is Professor Lott's comment, "Someone should really do some serious research on the questions raised here." Is that to say the Swiss studies are not serious? Is that to say the fact that Swiss guns in homes do far more harm that good is not as important as being prepared for fighting against the government if that becomes necessary?
What's your opinion? Is it realistic to think that armed citizens could prevent government abuse if the government really wanted to abuse? I really don't think so. I call this type of thinking, grandiose victimism. It's a fantasy in which one imagines oneself bravely fighting against overwhelming odds, perhaps winning like the fabled American colonists did against the British oppressors, but more likely losing, but going down in a wonderful blaze of glory. What's your opinion?
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