Switzerland is a Central European Country which is a home to several peaks of the Alps, lakes and villages. Geographically, Switzerland is divided between the Alps. Around 208 mountains, over 3,000 meters high, and 24 of them are over 4,000 meters in height. It might sound stereotypical but Switzerland is actually famous for chocolates. Chocolate is the most exported product from Switzerland too.
A very interesting fact about Switzerland is that, it is the country with most liberal gun rules but has the lowest crime rates. There are some crimes and suicide cases with involvement of gun, but it still is a conflict free country.
1 in 2 people own guns
Switzerland is the country with highest gun ownership. Its gun ownership rate is 45.7 per 100 according to Small Arms Survey. It is because the gun laws are liberal. Switzerland has a long tradition of shooting as an element of their national identity. Many cantons also have strong tradition of hunting.
Guns are normal and used by children too
In Switzerland, due to the large ownership, guns are common. There are shooting ranges in every Swiss community and during shooting festival; it is very common to see rifles hanging on the rack where hats are to be hung. Even school aged children learn to use gun. They use air guns to get used to before moving on to a real gun. Shooting sport and liked by children.
Using a gun is very common in Switzerland. A child of about 12 years old is also in the gun shooting group. Due to the liberal gun laws in Switzerland, shooting sport is quite popular. The Swiss Shooting Sports Association runs about 3,000 clubs and has 150,000 members, including a youth section. Many members keep their guns and ammunition at home, while others choose to leave them at the club.
Everyone must join military
In Switzerland, every man must join military for about 3 months. It is voluntary for a woman though. The men who do not join military are to be taxed. They have to the pay additional 4% of tax until the age of thirty is they fail to join military. When they have finished serving in the militia, they can purchase their rifle if they want to.
There are some laws to purchase weapons
To purchase most weapons, the purchaser must obtain a weapon acquisition permit. In order to get the C permit for any Swiss citizens and foreigners, they must be over the age of 18 who are not psychiatrically disqualified nor identified as posing security problems, and who have a clean criminal record can request such a permit. Foreigners with the following citizenship are explicitly excluded from the right to possess weapons: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Algeria and Albania. A valid official idenitifuication or passport copy, residence address and criminal record copy not older than 3 months must be provided to the cantonal weapon bureau together with the weapon application form.
Crimes done by Guns
During 2009, 236 homicides were investigated by the police out of them 55 crimes were allegedly committed with a gun. During the same year, 524 aggravated batteries were reported, 11 of which involved gun use, and 3530 robberies were reported, of which 416 were committed with a gun. These reports were prepared on the occasion of the 2011 gun-control referendum by the Swiss Federal Police compiled statistics on gun-related crimes.
Lives lost by Gun
Between the year 1995-2010, 70 to 90% of the reported deaths by gun were suicides. 17% of all suicides reported in 2009 were committed with a gun, and that 9% of the suicides committed with a gun were committed with a military weapon. The figures were prepared by Swiss Statistical Office. According to these figures there was a gradual decrease of deaths by gun use from an overall number of 444 deaths in 1998 to 241 deaths in 2010.
‘Gun in every closet’ challenged
Switzerland has many citizens with ownership of gun. But apart from some crimes, there has never been a mass shooting except in 2001 when citizen opened fired with their army rifle inside a regional parliament, killing 14 and injuring 14 others. That was the only mass shooting in Switzerland’s recent history.
Questioning Gun Laws
After the mass shooting, those who were against the gun ownership pushed to make the gun legislation more strict. They were questioning the gun laws but the government and pro-gun groups argued that the gun laws were strict enough. So there were no changes in the gun laws.
Most Peaceful Country and Lowest Crime Rate
A lot of people in Switzerland own guns. Still, according to the crime prevention research center there are about the 10th lowest amount of crime in the world. It is known to be the most peaceful country. It falls in the top 10 conflict free countries in the Global Peace Index 2016. According to the 2015 World Happiness Report, Switzerland ranked number one out of 158 countries on the world ‘happiness’ index.