Debate Magazine

Swiss Guns

Posted on the 10 November 2011 by Mikeb302000
Normally, the Swiss are fairly law abiding, but in this case the service rifle was owned by a man who had several previous convictions for threatening behavior and property damage before he shot his girlfriend in the head with his army assault rifle.
The Swiss have been debating the propriety of keeping the service rifles in the home for some time. There was a referendum held earlier this year about changing the law that resulted in a rejection of proposals to change the current laws.
"If the police have any doubts about how dangerous an individual is, there must be zero tolerance,” said police inspector and Swiss National Party national councillor Yvan Perrin to newspaper Le Matin.
"It's very simple: when someone is involved in a [criminal] case, the police have to determine whether this person is fit to own a gun. Then they must communicate their decision both to justice officials and the army," he said.
Denis Froidevaux, vice president of the Swiss Association of Military Officers, expressed a similar sentiment, saying people convicted on threat charges should not be allowed to possess firearms, “even if it’s just as a precaution.” But he said th decision should be made by justice officials rather than the police.
"This case raises questions about state responsibility”, criminologist Martin Killias told the newspaper, wondering if authorities have not been “negligent.” “Switzerland is too soft when it comes to weapons,” he said.
While the militia tradition still exists in Switzerland (unlike the US) and there is a similar attitude towards their guns to the US, the attitude there is much more pragmatic:
The issue of trust is key to the debate. “The Swiss system is based on trust,” so “someone who violates the law should not be rewarded with trust and, therefore, should be deprived of his [army] weapon,” said Liberal Party national councillor Isabel Morat.
The problem for inspector Perrin is that “there is still a taboo around army weapons.” And he added: “They say that every good solider should keep one at home, but above all, it is a weapon that can kill, let’s not forget that.”

Got that? but above all, it is a weapon that can kill, let’s not forget that.

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