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Will restrictions on Swiss gun ownership reduce crime?

11:28 UK time, Sunday, 13 February 2011

Switzerland is holding a referendum aimed at restricting gun ownership. Do you own a firearm?

If approved, it would end the long tradition of Swiss men keeping their army weapons at home both during and after compulsory military service.

Weapons would have to be registered, stored in armouries and owners would have to show they know how to use them. There are an estimated two to three million guns circulating in Switzerland, but no-one knows the exact number because there is no national firearms register

Are you in Switzerland? Do you keep a weapon at home? Should gun ownership in Switzerland be restricted? Would the move reduce suicides and gun crime? Will any changes undermine the military?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Will restrictions on Swiss gun ownership reduce crime?

    Why has Switzerland suddenly decided to restrict fire-arms? Proportionally, there's more gun crime here in the UK! I wonder what has happened 'politically' / 'culturally' to bring this about?

  • Comment number 2.

    It is self evident in my opinion that the few weapons that there are around the better. Unfortunately, there are individuals who decide that they wish to kill wild animals for fun, and some who want to kill their fellow humans.

    It is unlikely that society will ever succeed in curing or at least restraining these individuals. But every effort should be made to ensure that it is difficult for them to get hold of the most effective weapons, like military assault rifles. A maniac armed with an automatic rifle can kill many more people before he or she is disarmed, than someone armed with a kitchen knife.

    There is no longer any serious risk that Switzerland might suffer a surprise attack requiring rapid large scale mobilisation of a citizens' army and therefore no case for retaining weapons at home.

  • Comment number 3.

    I understand that Switzerland already has a low rate of violent crime so it may make no difference there. But I think a change away from keeping guns at home could reduce the suicide rate. It must be so easy for a suicidal man to point the gun at his head and pull the trigger. Once the gun has been fired there is no going back. With a drug overdose there is the possibility of vomitting the drugs back up and seeking treatment.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am aganist private ownership of weapons but I do admire the Swiss system since it educates all army conscripts into the use, maintenance and security of guns. This may account for Switzerland's very low gun crime statistics.

    However, high profile abuses in the past several years, and the high incidence of suicides seems to have fomented into the typical battle between factions supporting weapons and those against them. I am not surprised the voting seems to have gone the way of supporting ownership.

  • Comment number 5.

    The more weapons that are in circulation , the larger the numbers that will fall into the wrong hands and end up being used for crime, therefore any reduction in the number of weapons available has to be a good thing.

    On the other side of the coin, it is no good just passing laws to restrict gun, or weapon ownership. You then have to then create laws that make the punishment a deterrent to possess or use weapons, especially if used in committing a crime.

    Knife crime in the UK , was going to be curtailed by the introduction of much harsher sentences for those found in possession of a knife, but judging by some of the court reports read recently , I think someone forgot to tell the judiciary.

  • Comment number 6.

    Switzerland, like the United States & Israel, cherish the right to bear arms.
    Switzerland has one of the highest arms rates in the world.
    It seems in all these countries, and other like them, there is a longstanding tradition for the militia to keep military firearms within reach, ready and prepped.
    The debate over the vote has exposed the fact that: no one in the Swiss army has so much as discharged a firearm in combat since World War II. And personally, I have never heard about a Swiss grabbing a gun to ward off invaders to his/her home.
    The number of forearms that we are talking about in Switzwerland are estimates only - between 1M & 4.5M. That's big disparity in the number and demonstrates the total lack of control.
    The good news (sort of) is that 46 guns/100 people, when compared with 96 guns/100 in the United States seems "reasonable".
    The bad news(sort of) is that 46 guns/100 people, when compared with 96 guns/100 in the United States seems "insane".
    Swiss men between 18 & 30 are conscripted for three months; each one is issued either an assault rifle or 9mm pistol, which they most-commonly keep at home.
    At least, effective January 2010, a permit became required, before that no permit was even required. Many Swiss homes proudly display historical gun racks - great grandad's, grandfather's...
    Switzerland is a country where you are both a citizen and a soldier. The militia reflects a sense of responsibility given you by the state. So in Switzerland, the debate seems to be about national security; whereas in the US, it's all about protecting oneself, one's family and one's possessions.
    There is a very modest second-guessing go on in Switzerland because of several incidents e.g. 2001 killing of 14 people in a local government council.
    Switzerland in 2008 0.7 murders/100,000;
    France 1.4;
    England & Wales 1.2; and
    The United States 5.2/100,000.
    Sometimes statistics talk, and this is one of those cases.
    The referendum would ban weapons at home. It would also ban the sale of automatic weapons and establish a national registry for firearms.
    The SWISS GOVERNMENT also opposes the ban; it contends that soldiers won't complete mandatory target practice if their guns aren't at home, ready to go.
    Should gun ownership in Switzerland be restricted?
    No.
    Social, economic and historical factors influence my answer.
    Gun-control laws in Brazil and Mexico are among the strictest in the world; yet, violent crime in both countries is far worse than in the United States. Ask someone in Brazil or Mexico if it is difficult to obtain an illegal firearm.
    In Switzerland, private ownership of guns, including automatic and semi-automatic weapons, is regulated but widespread. Yet Switzerland has not experienced much in the way of violent crime, and then of course, there's that longstanding tradition for the militia to keep military firearms within reach, ready to go.

  • Comment number 7.

    Most gun crime is carried out by criminals - making guns illegal doesn't get them out of the hands of crims, as shown by the UK where guns were outlawed when?

  • Comment number 8.

    It's entirely up to the Swiss. They do seem a lot more adult and educated than americans about them though since they have one of the lowest murder rates in the world...so I do wonder why this is happening all of a sudden.

  • Comment number 9.

    Although I personally don`t own a firearm I know people who do, legally I hasten to add, I think that if ownership of guns is properly registered and policed then no problem. However there are so many guns in circulation that are not legally owned that I believe any move by the Swiss to change the law will more than likely drive some of these weapons underground, at least now their whereabouts are known to the authorities.

    I also believe in the right to protect ones property and if all those who
    wish to pursue a life of crime knew that potentially they could be shot
    they might think twice. Of course there would be abuses but that unfortunately is a fact of life and a baseball bat or knife can be just as lethal as a gun.

  • Comment number 10.

    Switzerland does not spring to mind as a country plagued by gun crime. However it is not a bad thing to have fire arms registered.

    It's quite amazing they have so many weapons having been neutral for so long, do they really think the reason they still exist is because people feared their military ?

  • Comment number 11.

    Switzerland is another country, and not in the EU. With a low crime rate, I don't know what this has to do with us?

    As for the suicide issue, I'm afraid if someone is determined to end their life, they will find another way unless they are placed in an empty padded cell. Dealing with the issue of WHY they might commit suicide would be more useful.



  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Switzewrland at least one gourp of people in Europe know their facts and rights about gun control....

  • Comment number 13.

    Why should it make any difference. After all gun controls in the UK are supposedly very tight and yet we have killings by firearms. And I see in NYC that 4 people have been killed by somebody carrying ....a knife.

    If people wants to kill they will use whatever means are available. What the Swiss decide is up to them and them alone.

  • Comment number 14.

    Gun controls normally works against law abiding citizens, if you want to control the amount of crimes committed with firearms, then the laws have to impose the death penalty without any chance for remission for crimes committed with guns. The law today does not have the TEETH to grab the guns from the evil people, it has NOT worked and will NOT work with the present frame of mind. Human rights are meant for people who act as humans, if a criminal decides to act anti-human then he/she deserves no rights to humanity or humane treatment. Gun ownerships definitely helps make a better society if used in a law abiding way.

  • Comment number 15.

    Will restrictions on Swiss gun ownership reduce crime?

    I suspect that a change in Swiss gun laws would have a negligible affect on gun crime in Switzerland which would pale into insignificance compared with a change in the number of deaths caused by the groups, individuals and governments that use Swiss banks for the Anonymity provided by Swiss banking law. A referendum on Swiss banking law would be a much worthier subject for both actual referendum in Switzerland and debate on this HYS.

  • Comment number 16.

    Switzerland runs on criminals money. On the name of secrecy laws they get to use free money looted from poor people in Asia, Africa etc. What goes around comes around! If you are being fed with the money from murderers eventually you will get the same. If they want to do something about it - ban secrecy laws.

  • Comment number 17.

    Switzerland is right in not adopting stricter gun controls. Also in the news today was an article from New York City in the US in which a madman with a knife stabbed 5 people killing 3 and seriously wounding 2, and then stole a car a ran over another person killing them. In the logic of the gun control supporters should Switzerland also strictly regulate knives and cars to reduce the possibility of a madman getting hold of them? Gun control simply doesn't work to lower crime.

  • Comment number 18.

    We have proved time and time again that having guns does NOT reduce crime - it actually makes crimes more violent. Additionally there are hundreds of children accidentally injured with guns each year because owners are not responsible enough to keep the guns locked away.

    Ban ALL guns in ALL countries.

  • Comment number 19.

    Gun controls only ever work against the law abiding majority. They have absolutely no effect on those who operate outside of the law who will always be able to obtain firearms.

  • Comment number 20.

    Thomas Jefferson said that an armed man was a citizen. An unarmed man was a subject. There's a reason that Switzerland had not been invaded for centuries. That's even more amazing when one considers their proximity to Germany and the fact that they managed to stay out of all the wars in the twentieth century.

  • Comment number 21.

    #2: Stanblogger: What on earth has Switzerland's firearm ownership policy to do with a little brit like you?? *You* are not allowed to own a gun, you literally have no choice in the matter - you have probably never even seen a gun in real life. Your opinion, your input, your biases carry absolutely NO weight in the discussion. You, as a Brit, are simply *not* allowed to defend yourself if you are attacked. If you do, you will be arrested and charged with assault. (You cannot deny it, we've all seen the media reports, over and over). And if that is the way you like it, that is entirely your business. See, that's how it works. *You* do as you like, and the rest of the world will do as *it* likes, especially here in the US. Nothing *you* (or come that that Presidente Calderon of Mayheeko, Mayor Daley of Chicago, Mayor Bloomberg of NYC - both of who, BTW, employ armed guards to protect themselves and their families and property)say is going to affect the US constitution. When we, the people, decide that it is time to surrender our weapons then we will do so, until then, I suggest anyone who doesn't like it can do the other thing, and here's an idea..It's so crazy it might just work...don't visit - why take the chance? - you won't be missed, I can assure you.

  • Comment number 22.

    Good amounts of proper research have proven no significant link between gun ownership and gun crime. As has been observed by others here, criminals by their very definition do not obey the law, and so taking guns away from lawful and licensed gun owners does nothing to lower gun crime (compare Finland and Canada to the US or Britain). Neither does restricting or banning private ownership of guns reduce suicide--again, proven by reserch. Those people who might have ended their lives with guns will jump in front of trains or OD or run a hose from the exhaust into their car. If you think a suicidal person (i.e. someone who is very likely mentally ill) says "well, I was going to kill myself today but with no gun handy I'll just turn my frown upside down and go on my merry way" is endulging in some very weak-headed thinking. The only gun restriction which reduces gun deaths is mandatory locked storage to prevent accidents by children, but this is already in place in Switzerland. Well done the Swiss for rejecting this pointless motion.

  • Comment number 23.

    #8 - Steve Butler - Are you American?? If not, why mention the US in your post?. What does anything about the US have to do with the topic of Swiss gun registration??? Oh right - why pass up a chance to bash Uncle Sam? Can you say: Steven Butler has an unhealthy obssession with all things US???

  • Comment number 24.

    We have some of the strictest laws in the world relating to Gun ownership. Yet gun crime is on the increase. [in a sarcastic tone] Perhaps this is because gun crime is committed by criminals, who as such, don't tend to take too much notice of the law.

  • Comment number 25.

    18. At 4:43pm on 13 Feb 2011, Icebloo wrote:

    We have proved time and time again that having guns does NOT reduce crime - it actually makes crimes more violent. Additionally there are hundreds of children accidentally injured with guns each year because owners are not responsible enough to keep the guns locked away.

    Ban ALL guns in ALL countries.

    -------------------------

    Please back that with proof. In the US for example, there is generally less violent crime in states with guns than those without.

    Accidental deaths are a complete joke because how many kids die from running into the road? How many die from other accidents? I know one who hung himself with a game controller cable (accident). So guns should be kept away from children but using kids is no help in this argument.

  • Comment number 26.

    Almost all gun crime in the US is carried out by criminals - very little by hard working, law abiding, honest tax payers. Sooo - everyone all over the world appears to want above mentioned hard working, law abiding honest tax payers in the US to be deprived of the right to hunt, target shoot and/or maintain a firearm for defensive purposes, although this right is enshrined in their constitution - in fact, then, foreigners are attempting to change the USC.

    Those who are loudest in their screeching for gun confiscation are those who can afford excellent (armed, BTW) security for themselves, their families and their property, invariably funded by the very tax payer whose right to self defense they wish to abolish. See how it works???

    Lacking the cojones to tackle criminals, they assuage their PC guilt ridden consciences (after all, we all know that the perps are the REAL victims of crime, don't we) by picking on the easy, soft targets. Once these people achieve their aim of disarming the law abiding, hard working, honest US tax payer, and the murder rate goes through the roof ..what's that you say?? Crims/robbers/muggers/murderers would not need guns in order to subdue their victims, so they would cease to use them??..Oh of course, why didn't the rest of us think of that?, there would be almost NO incidence of gun crime in the US. There would be a heck of a lot of victims, people whose property is stolen and whose homes are invaded with impunity and who are murdered, but at least there wouldn't be any gun crime.

    Gosh, it's all so simple, I wonder why it is that the US citizen can't see it and go along with it??

  • Comment number 27.

    #18 - Icebloo, "Ban all guns in all countries" you say. Wow, how come no one thought of that truly simple solution to the problem of gun crime?

    I mean to say, it's not as if criminals are going to carry on using their guns in the commission of crime, is it? I mean, they'll turn in their weapons once they realize everyone else has, won't they??? Won;t they?? If you ask them nicely, pretty please, pretty please with sugar on??? Some guy in semi-rural Kansas, e.g. will be so much safer in his home once he has surrendered his firearms knowing that, at least, when a gang of drug fuelled thugs bursts through his front door they will not shoot him and his family - because of course, they won't have any guns, because Icebloo told them to give them up. Criminals always do as the law decrees, don't they???

  • Comment number 28.

    #25 In the UK - how right you are about the lack of correlation between gun control and gun crime. There is very tight restriction on gun ownership in California, yet gun crime is sky high. On the other hand, Vermont has virtually no restriction on gun ownership at all.

    For an explanation, google the demographics of the states mentioned. Sorry if that offends the PC brigade!

  • Comment number 29.

    The Referendum is a regular feature of Swiss life. It can be called if 50,000 people, or 8 cantons, petition for it within 100 days. So pressure groups can cause a referendum to be voted upon. The vote, three or four times a year, always on a Sunday, may involve several referenda at a time. While the outcome can influence legislation, it generally confirms the status quo - the Swiss are conservative to say the least.

    This is the first Swiss referendum I have seen in the UK press since the one which confirmed that the Swiss didn't want to allow the construction of minarets. No doubt all the rest have been desperately boring, but I'm wondering if the UK press are just choosy about which they report.

    If anyone is really interested, the BBC is not the place to find out more about Swiss referenda. HYS, however, will be the place to regurgitate fervently held opinions about gun ownership (usually expressed by city-dwellers who have never owned a gun) and mud-slinging at the USA, which is not strictly on-topic.

    In the Jura mountains (along the Franco-Swiss border) we are used to meeting armed people. Many locals are hunters (thanks for the chunks of wild boar and venison, chaps), others are Police officers. Some are farmers. This is life in the countryside, just as it is in the UK. It makes sense if you live in the countryside, perhaps not in a city.

    Gun ownership and use is not wrong. Threatening other people with guns, or using them in anger, most definitely is. Most abusers of weapons own them illegally. Very rarely a nutter kills someone with a weapon for which he has a permit. Slightly less rarely he kills himself. Criminals won't care whether permits are required or not - in the UK the gun laws will fail if illegal supplies are too easily available. Most are imported. Stop that and the problem, if one exists, diminishes dramatically and legal gun use can continue without any harm.

    I expect we'll get some anti-hunters on here as well, but wild boar are becoming a problem in Europe (and taste delicious). If you don't want my neighbours to shoot them, how do you suggest we control them?

  • Comment number 30.

    #8 Steve Butler

    Lower crime rate...perhaps due to a low population.

    Switzerland approximately 8,000,000 citizens
    American approximately 308,000,000 citizens

    As an adult and educated person, I did the math.

    Anyway, who cares, this is a non-issue. Switzerland's decision - one way or the other!!

  • Comment number 31.

    "18. At 4:43pm on 13 Feb 2011, Icebloo wrote:
    We have proved time and time again that having guns does NOT reduce crime - it actually makes crimes more violent. Additionally there are hundreds of children accidentally injured with guns each year because owners are not responsible enough to keep the guns locked away.

    Ban ALL guns in ALL countries.

    18. At 4:43pm on 13 Feb 2011, Icebloo wrote:
    We have proved time and time again that having guns does NOT reduce crime - it actually makes crimes more violent. Additionally there are hundreds of children accidentally injured with guns each year because owners are not responsible enough to keep the guns locked away.

    Ban ALL guns in ALL countries."

    ---------

    Except for the fact that it has not been proven. At worst, there is no link between gun crime and ownership. if you want to get picky, I can pick evidence for you to show places with higher ownership rates having lower gun crime rates. UK gun crime rates actually increased after handguns were outlawed. Switzerland, with the highest gun ownership rates in Europe, has one of the lowest gun crime rates.

    There's no correllation anywhere to suggest what you're saying is correct. If you don't like guns, don't own one.

  • Comment number 32.

    "30. At 6:09pm on 13 Feb 2011, beammeup wrote:
    #8 Steve Butler

    Lower crime rate...perhaps due to a low population.

    Switzerland approximately 8,000,000 citizens
    American approximately 308,000,000 citizens

    As an adult and educated person, I did the math."

    ---------------

    Unfortunate comment at the end there, as you totally missed that the claim was based on how many crimes per 100,000 heads. Therefore, population differences doesn't affect the figures at all.

  • Comment number 33.

    All it did in the UK was ensure only criminals had guns. It'll be the same there.

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 Mr. Max

    If you read #8, you will understand my comment and to what I was referring.

    Doesn't really matter, apparently the vote was 57% rejecting gun restrictions.


  • Comment number 35.

    27. At 5:55pm on 13 Feb 2011, LALondoner wrote:

    #18 - Icebloo, "Ban all guns in all countries" you say. Wow, how come no one thought of that truly simple solution to the problem of gun crime?

    I mean to say, it's not as if criminals are going to carry on using their guns in the commission of crime, is it? I mean, they'll turn in their weapons once they realize everyone else has, won't they??? Won;t they?? If you ask them nicely, pretty please, pretty please with sugar on??? Some guy in semi-rural Kansas, e.g. will be so much safer in his home once he has surrendered his firearms knowing that, at least, when a gang of drug fuelled thugs bursts through his front door they will not shoot him and his family - because of course, they won't have any guns, because Icebloo told them to give them up. Criminals always do as the law decrees, don't they???

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Don't know what this blokes on but I hope that he lives in Switzerland or the US. Come to think of it, I don't care where he lives as long as it’s a long way from my family and me.

  • Comment number 36.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 37.

    Icebloo wrote:

    We have proved time and time again that having guns does NOT reduce crime - it actually makes crimes more violent.

    -----------------------------

    Not true: Crime rates dropped in every US state as they legalised concealed carry.

    The Swiss are right to reject this attempt at disarmament, as taking guns away from law abiding citizens inevitably leads to an increase in crime as a whole & violent crime in particular.
    Nor does the availability of firearms make one whit of difference to suicide rates - the numbers proving this are readily available through a quick internet search.
    It appears that those most in favour of disarming citizens are that way inclined because they believe everyone else is as emotionally unbalanced as themselves - hence all the unfounded allegations & appeals to emotion rather than use of hard facts(which utterly refute their viewpoint).

  • Comment number 38.

    On an ideological level I find guns and similar weapons hideous, the epitome of evil. With this in mind I am pleased that the Swiss authorities have recognised that firearms are harmful and the ownership of which needs to be subjected to scrutiny. I am not convinced, however, that this change in legislation will deter crime. I am sure that people will continue to come into possession of firearms illegally and commit crime. People who have firearms for legitimate reasons (if there are any) are the kind who will go through the process of getting a license to own, however, gang-members and other thugs are likely to resort to illegal means, which could actually render gun-crime a bigger threat to the general well-being of Swiss society. Again, I find it futile to blame the criminals. It is the general system in place that needs to be challenged. A system of establishing laws when we all know full well that it is impossible to bring to account every single person who fails to comply with laws. I, as a human, want to see real progress. In my eyes, progress would be to ban the manufacture and making of firearms and for all exisiting firearms to be handed in to the United Nations. The likelihood of my apathetic boyfriend proposing to me tonight is greather than that happening!

  • Comment number 39.

    Luckily the Swiss people have seen sense and rejected this piece of nonsense.

    The only thing that depriving guns from the law abiding achieves is to make certain that only criminals have guns.

    The sooner the UK government comes to its senses and starts allowing properly regulated handgun ownership (which would, IMO, include compulsory training and a psych test) the better.

  • Comment number 40.

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

  • Comment number 41.

    2. At 12:29pm on 13 Feb 2011, stanblogger wrote:

    "There is no longer any serious risk that Switzerland might suffer a surprise attack requiring rapid large scale mobilisation of a citizens' army and therefore no case for retaining weapons at home."

    Oh, really?

    "Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has called for a jihad, or holy war, against Switzerland, as an ongoing diplomatic row between the two nations heats up."

    He criticised a recent Swiss vote against the building of minarets and said Muslims must boycott the country.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8537925.stm

  • Comment number 42.

    For the size of the population, around 7, million. Switzerland has the highest suicide rate in Europe with about half-1400 of them, carried out by handgun use. That by any yardstick has to be a very high and deeply disturbing drift in Swiss society. The Swiss like their firearms alright, nothing wrong with that, but surely, a lot of these needless-and there are many, many young deaths among them, could be stopped or avoided by greater gun controls.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good for the Swiss. This was a poorly thought out and silly legislation to begin with anyway.

    While reading up on the debate surrounding these proposed restrictions, I was puzzled by one of the arguments I saw appear from the gun control proponents, summarizing it to 'Less guns = Less suicide' this doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    ---------------
    Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.
    ----------------

    That's like saying whoever invented knives is responsible for knife-crime.

  • Comment number 44.

    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:
    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    Complain about this comment
    ---------------------------------

    The Chinese, you`ll sounding off now then, will you?

  • Comment number 45.

    43. At 9:32pm on 13 Feb 2011, Snobbarticus wrote:
    Good for the Swiss. This was a poorly thought out and silly legislation to begin with anyway.

    While reading up on the debate surrounding these proposed restrictions, I was puzzled by one of the arguments I saw appear from the gun control proponents, summarizing it to 'Less guns = Less suicide' this doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    ---------------
    Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.
    ----------------

    That's like saying whoever invented knives is responsible for knife-crime

    *************************************************************************

    I am not sure whether the two are comparable actually because knives are useful in many ways - we use knives to cut things. Of course, knives are used in a terrible way too, however, knives were not created to cause harm or evil, they were created to aid people. Guns, however, were invented with the sole intention of harming or killing another living creature. There is nothing good or positive about this, which is why I stand by my previous comment:

    whoever created the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    And furthermore, I hope he is rotting away in misery along with all of the innocent lives that have been lost at the hands of the man-made gun. I am quite sure that the inventor was a male because women would have been too busy picking up the pieces after the destruction caused by war-mongering men to waste time on inventing guns.

  • Comment number 46.

    23. At 5:32pm on 13 Feb 2011, LALondoner wrote:
    #8 - Steve Butler - Are you American?? If not, why mention the US in your post?. What does anything about the US have to do with the topic of Swiss gun registration??? Oh right - why pass up a chance to bash Uncle Sam? Can you say: Steven Butler has an unhealthy obssession with all things US???

    Complain about this comment

    ----------------------------------
    C`mon LaLondoner, do`nt be so naive, you know rightly this topic is a glorious opportunity for the anti-American rant brigade to flood this hys.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Restrictions on gun-ownership will not reduce crime. They will increase crime because people will start possessing guns illegally, and in doing so they'll be committing crime, even if they don't use their guns.

  • Comment number 49.

    Three cheers for the Swiss: Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip, Hip, Hooray! And by the way, it's their business -- not anybody elses.

  • Comment number 50.

    21. At 5:27pm on 13 Feb 2011, LALondoner wrote:
    #2: Stanblogger: What on earth has Switzerland's firearm ownership policy to do with a little brit like you?? *You* are not allowed to own a gun, you literally have no choice in the matter - you have probably never even seen a gun in real life. Your opinion, your input, your biases carry absolutely NO weight in the discussion. You, as a Brit, are simply *not* allowed to defend yourself if you are attacked. If you do, you will be arrested and charged with assault. (You cannot deny it, we've all seen the media reports, over and over). And if that is the way you like it, that is entirely your business. See, that's how it works. *You* do as you like, and the rest of the world will do as *it* likes, especially here in the US. Nothing *you* (or come that that Presidente Calderon of Mayheeko, Mayor Daley of Chicago, Mayor Bloomberg of NYC - both of who, BTW, employ armed guards to protect themselves and their families and property)say is going to affect the US constitution. When we, the people, decide that it is time to surrender our weapons then we will do so, until then, I suggest anyone who doesn't like it can do the other thing, and here's an idea..It's so crazy it might just work...don't visit - why take the chance? - you won't be missed, I can assure you.


    You are right in saying that if i am attacked on a UK street and defend myself with a GUN i will be arrested. Thats because guns are illegal - however if i am attacked it is very unlikely to involve a gun. That is where your accuracy ends and your rant begins. Self defense does not begin and end with a gun - at least not outside of the worlds greatest country! Self defense is reasonable force. There have been cases where inappropriate force has resulted in an arrest - eg the Tony Martin case - but there is a line between self defence and retribution (although i struggle to understand how in a civilised land shooting a pickpocket in the head constitutes reasonable force). Fortunately i have lived in the US for nearly 4 years and i know from experience that your attitude is NOT reflective of the great people of America as a whole - in fact most i speak to on this subject seem to agree with us socialist, freedom hating, lazy boned eurotrash.
    A further thought, given your thinly veiled hatred of the Brits are you one of the guys who donated precious, all american firearms to the IRA between the 1960's and 2001? Just a thought!

  • Comment number 51.

    The result is sad for our country. How many more people need to be innocently killed or kill themselves with guns. Guns are supposed to be lock up and not kept in an attic, unter the bed or on the shelve of a cupboard. These sleeping guns are of no use for the well being of our society and only bring sadness and violence. 300 killing a year is too much and who remembers the following killings???

    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Teenage_girl_shot_dead_by_Swiss_army_recruit
    http://www1.wsws.org/articles/2001/oct2001/swit-o09.shtml
    (this is just two cases amongst so many)

    I don't think many people!!! Or if they did they wouldn't have voted like they did.
    I am ashamed today to be swiss and I am sad to be surrounded by so many idiots.
    But this is not just a swiss problem - it's a world issue. How many american high school students have to die until the US might even come close of having a referendum???
    Stop violence!!! And one of the first step should be to reduce firearms. Because, unlike knifes that can be used to cut your vegetals, guns have only one function and that is to KILL!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    Oliver I'm just going to condense what you said just so we don't waste peoples time scrolling through our banter.
    -------
    Oliver Wrote:
    I am not sure whether the two are comparable actually because knives are useful in many ways - we use knives to cut things. Of course, knives are used in a terrible way too, however, knives were not created to cause harm or evil, they were created to aid people. Guns, however, were invented with the sole intention of harming or killing another living creature. There is nothing good or positive about this, which is why I stand by my previous comment:

    whoever created the gun is responsible for gun-crime.


    ****************************************************

    In reading this I can tell you have a thing or two against hunting (and maybe, possibly be vegetarian).
    Which I can understand. And I respectfully disagree with you.

    There are knives out there that are meant for and one thing only, killing. This logic can be applied to almost anything sharp like swords(technically not but still), spears and arrows. Same goes for guns, yes they kill, but on the bright side, you get a meal or two out of it. This is positive.

    But that's for hunting. The focus of the Swiss debate was around the ownership of handguns and assault rifles. It would have increased crime. Like it has consistently everywhere else had it gone through.

  • Comment number 53.

    The only thing that will reduce crime is less criminals. How to achieve that? Who knows. Taking guns away from people so they are no longer able to protect themselves is not the answer. All that does is empower those who are already armed, and crime would become worse. If a robber knows that there is a chance that the owner of the property he is about to hit, has a gun, then the chances of a crime being committed are reduced. Gun control is just another way for governments to control our every move and tghus become slaves to the system, their ultimate goal, in 2 or 3 generations.

  • Comment number 54.

    This is a chicken and egg thing.

    Same say that guns cause crime and others say that criminals use guns.

    I live in Canada and have a small arsenal. I do not hunt and I do not (deliberately) commit crimes. I just shoot at targets. It is a recreational activity for me, about like golf is for a golfer.

    As recreational activities go I think it is much better than binge drinking, bashing old ladies or generally being a nuisance.

    Some people will be afraid because I have guns and some will even wish evil things upon me because I have guns. I am sorry these people have problems in their like. A good hobby may help.

    There will always be some nut that gets a gun and kills people but remember it is people that kill people not guns. When you get down to the nitty gritty, does it mater what tool was used to kill another.

    When some nut job goes on a spree it not that guns are the problem it society (the system) that failed and that is the problem. Introducing gun laws does not fix the system and nut jobs are still running around just waiting for their chance to go off the rails.

  • Comment number 55.

    The most important issue here is that the Swiss are to have a referendum rather than the government just imposing their views regardless of any evidence to support their opinions.
    Perhaps that is something we might care to copy.
    .

  • Comment number 56.

    #53. At 11:31pm on 13 Feb 2011, artracer wrote:

    Gun control is just another way for governments to control our every move and thus become slaves to the system

    That begs the question of why does government find it desireable to disarm the populace? That also begs the question of why the US constitution has the 2nd ammendment and why is the 2nd ammendment constantly under political attack?

  • Comment number 57.

    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    -------------------------------

    Nothing to do with the sociopath pulling the trigger then?
    Firearms cannot be uninvented, nor can their acquisition by criminals be prevented.
    Based on these obvious facts, the greatest deterrent to the illegal use of firearms is ensuring potential victims can defend themselves & for that purpose, a firearm is an efficient means.
    The Police certainly are not, as they can't be everywhere at once, nor do they fit conveniently into a belt attachment.....

  • Comment number 58.

    #40. Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    -------------------------------

    Whoever invented shopkeepers is responsible for shop lifting.

    Whoever invented tobacco is responsible for lung cancer (except if you are an atheist/agnostic and then it is Gods punishment for questioning the validity of fairy tales).

  • Comment number 59.

    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    .
    ...........................................................
    .
    In much the same way as the scientist who invented the nuclear bomb is responsible for the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Henry Ford is responsible for thousands of deaths on the road and whoever was the first guy to hollow out a tree log and take to the water is responsible for all the drownings that have occurred since.
    Don't think so, really.

  • Comment number 60.

    42. At 9:26pm on 13 Feb 2011, Ron C wrote:

    For the size of the population, around 7, million. Switzerland has the highest suicide rate in Europe with about half-1400 of them, carried out by handgun use.

    ------------------------------------------

    A few moments is all it takes to refute this assertion.

    The following European states have a higher suicide rate than Switzerland:

    Lithuania
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Slovenia
    Serbia & Montenegro
    Finland
    Belgium
    France
    Estonia
    Poland
    Ukraine
    Belarus

    Your 1,400 figure is hugely incorrect:

    "From 1996 to 2005, 3,410 suicides, or between 24 and 28 per cent of all those in Switzerland, were committed using firearms."

    The above figures come from an anti firearms source too.

  • Comment number 61.

    Just an observation, this topic about gun ownership in Switzerland has been up over 12 hours and has only managed 60 comments. If it had been about gun ownership in the US it would have racked up at least ten times that many by now.

  • Comment number 62.

    It would be a better world if we could wave a magic wand & eliminate all guns. Since that is unlikely, legislation should provide reasonable people the opportunity to protect themselves from criminals & maniacs who will always have guns regardless of criminal penalties or restrictions.

  • Comment number 63.

    #42. Ron C wrote:

    For the size of the population, around 7, million. Switzerland has the highest suicide rate in Europe with about half-1400 of them, carried out by handgun use.


    The is a huge number of people out there who claim the world is over populated as well it may be. If one believes that then there should be no complaints if someone decides to lighten the load.

    However what gives you the rite to say that if a person is desirous of blowing their brains out with a pistol they should not be allowed to.

    It is not the gun that causes people to end it all it is the world we live in and you are defiantly not making it any easier with your "I know best" attitude.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61. At 00:50am on 14 Feb 2011, Challis wrote:

    Just an observation, this topic about gun ownership in Switzerland has been up over 12 hours and has only managed 60 comments. If it had been about gun ownership in the US it would have racked up at least ten times that many by now.


    Good observation. Could it be that the Brits still see the US as a bunch of wayward colonial yokels?

  • Comment number 65.

    29. At 6:07pm on 13 Feb 2011, Diana_France wrote:
    ****I expect we'll get some anti-hunters on here as well, but wild boar are becoming a problem in Europe (and taste delicious). If you don't want my neighbours to shoot them, how do you suggest we control them?****
    ____________________________________________

    I belong to an alternative PETA ( People for Eating Tasty Animals ) and agree with you about the wild boar.


  • Comment number 66.

    29. At 6:07pm on 13 Feb 2011, Diana_France wrote:

    If you don't want my neighbours to shoot them, how do you suggest we control them?

    You do it like cowboys, Go charging around on a horse/mule/donkey/dirt bike then rope them brand them and castrate them. The dog gets plenty of tasty snacks and you if you like Rocky Mountain Oysters :-)

  • Comment number 67.

    Funny this because America and Canada have the same gun-laws but, er, guess what, Canada doesn't have a fraction of the us "gun-crime".
    It's a cultural thing. If people are going for each other the law is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 68.

    Will restrictions on Swiss gun ownership reduce crime?

    Ask the bankers - are they the ones fretting about guns?

  • Comment number 69.

    #67. At 06:50am on 14 Feb 2011, chrislabiff wrote:

    Funny this because America and Canada have the same gun-laws but, er, guess what, Canada doesn't have a fraction of the us "gun-crime".
    It's a cultural thing. If people are going for each other the law is irrelevant.


    Canada does have very different gun laws than the US.

    The Canadian gun law are for the most part plain stupid and ineffectual.

    All guns are required to be registered with the national gun registry that costs billions.

    Here are a couple of links.

    http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Gun:politics:in:Canada.htm
    http://donmeredith.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/gun-registration-in-canada/
    http://tinyurl.com/mfhgjrtj

  • Comment number 70.

    I am Swiss, I have my dad's K31 and a StG57 I got at the end of my service days in 2000 in a cupboard at home.
    I am trained to use both weapons and know pretty well the safety procedures that the ownership of such weapons imply.
    I find it rather disturbing to be defined a potential threat to society.
    People with less training have children and often do quite a mess in growing them up.
    I don't feel safer having such arms at home but I feel comforted by the trust shown by the state in my person.
    One idea of the promoters of the initiative was that a small restriction of individual rights in favour of safety was acceptable, if I do well remember Guantanamo Bay detention centre was based on this idea.

  • Comment number 71.

    33. At 6:44pm on 13 Feb 2011, alterid wrote:

    All it did in the UK was ensure only criminals had guns. It'll be the same there.

    -------------------------

    It also ment we cant legally train in this country for the olympics. Special permission is needed for the olympic shooting to take place here.

    So it did damage our participation in a great hobby and a world sport.

  • Comment number 72.

    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    ------------------------
    And those who actually pay attention thank the inventor for designing and creating a tool which has had a huge impact on our lives. A great hobby, a self defence device, a world sport and something which when used responsibly can bring a lot of joy.

    Obviously it can be misused but so can knives.

  • Comment number 73.

    72. At 09:21am on 14 Feb 2011, in_the_uk wrote:
    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    ------------------------
    And those who actually pay attention thank the inventor for designing and creating a tool which has had a huge impact on our lives. A great hobby, a self defence device, a world sport and something which when used responsibly can bring a lot of joy.

    Obviously it can be misused but so can knives.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    I am not in a position to question how people derive joy but for me, the idea of somebody shooting an animal DEAD as a recreational past time is SICK. I am also unable to even contemplate thanking the inventor of the gun for effect his invention has had on our lives. Have you read any history books recently, or watched any documentaries? What do the words GENOCIDE and ethnic cleansing mean to you? Do you know how many people died in the 20th century because of guns? Try spending a night in Beirut or the West bank and then come back here and tell me how super guns are!

  • Comment number 74.

    59. At 11:57pm on 13 Feb 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    .
    ...........................................................
    .
    In much the same way as the scientist who invented the nuclear bomb is responsible for the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Henry Ford is responsible for thousands of deaths on the road and whoever was the first guy to hollow out a tree log and take to the water is responsible for all the drownings that have occurred since.
    Don't think so, really.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Perhaps I'm looking at this narrowly but as far as I am concerned the inventor of the atomic bomb, as well as the inventor of the gun are responsible. As for your facetious comment about water, I shan't even remark on that. We all know that water is natural, whereas atomic bombs and guns are not. I shall repeat myself until I am blue in the face - try spending a night in a war zone and then come back here and tell me how wonderful guns are! You will never be able to understand the fear that people endure. Every slight sound is thought to be yet more gunfire. Grown men went themselves as they cower under tables or try to protect their families. There is nothing to be celebrated about any of that. There is nothing to celebrate about eating the meat of a whale which has been harpooned to death either, or a bear that has been shot dead in his tracks. These so-called hunters ought to earn the title "hunter" and tackle a fully grown bear with their own bare hands! Guns are absolutely ghastly and my nothing will change my opinion on this. Guns should be handed in to the U.N with immediate effect.

  • Comment number 75.

    73. At 09:33am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    I am not in a position to question how people derive joy but for me, the idea of somebody shooting an animal DEAD as a recreational past time is SICK. I am also unable to even contemplate thanking the inventor of the gun for effect his invention has had on our lives. Have you read any history books recently, or watched any documentaries? What do the words GENOCIDE and ethnic cleansing mean to you? Do you know how many people died in the 20th century because of guns? Try spending a night in Beirut or the West bank and then come back here and tell me how super guns are!

    ------------------------

    You dont have to shoot something dead to enjoy shooting. I shoot targets.

    I also remember the most popularised genocide being in use of gas chambers.

    While you mention 2 places with heavy gun misuse, you could try visiting certain parts of the UK where the knife is the weapon of choice. In fact you could try iraq where you would more likely go up in a bomb/mortor/RPG attack.

    But I will still stand here and tell you, guns are great. Just as any other hobby/sport is.

  • Comment number 76.

    #73. At 09:33am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    I am not in a position to question how people derive joy but for me, the idea of somebody shooting an animal DEAD as a recreational past time is SICK. I am also unable to even contemplate thanking the inventor of the gun for effect his invention has had on our lives. Have you read any history books recently, or watched any documentaries? What do the words GENOCIDE and ethnic cleansing mean to you? Do you know how many people died in the 20th century because of guns? Try spending a night in Beirut or the West bank and then come back here and tell me how super guns are!

    Oliver you need to remember that guns do not kill people. People kill people, what is used to kill them with is irrelevant. Would you prefer H bombs, poison gas or anthrax rather than guns.

  • Comment number 77.

    74. At 09:40am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    There is nothing to celebrate about eating the meat of a whale which has been harpooned to death either, or a bear that has been shot dead in his tracks.

    You would deny Eskimos of their food supply?

    I presume you do not eat any meat. If you do eat meat then take a trip to a slaughterhouse, if you are as sensitive as you seem you will never eat meat again.

  • Comment number 78.

    74. At 09:40am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    59. At 11:57pm on 13 Feb 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    40. At 8:49pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    Whoever invented the gun is responsible for gun-crime.

    .
    ...........................................................
    .
    In much the same way as the scientist who invented the nuclear bomb is responsible for the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Henry Ford is responsible for thousands of deaths on the road and whoever was the first guy to hollow out a tree log and take to the water is responsible for all the drownings that have occurred since.
    Don't think so, really.

    ________________________________________________________________

    Perhaps I'm looking at this narrowly but as far as I am concerned the inventor of the atomic bomb, as well as the inventor of the gun are responsible. As for your facetious comment about water, I shan't even remark on that. We all know that water is natural, whereas atomic bombs and guns are not. I shall repeat myself until I am blue in the face - try spending a night in a war zone and then come back here and tell me how wonderful guns are! You will never be able to understand the fear that people endure. Every slight sound is thought to be yet more gunfire. Grown men went themselves as they cower under tables or try to protect their families. There is nothing to be celebrated about any of that. There is nothing to celebrate about eating the meat of a whale which has been harpooned to death either, or a bear that has been shot dead in his tracks. These so-called hunters ought to earn the title "hunter" and tackle a fully grown bear with their own bare hands! Guns are absolutely ghastly and my nothing will change my opinion on this. Guns should be handed in to the U.N with immediate effect.

    -------------------------

    You do seem to have a bad opinion of guns. It is true that some people misuse guns but considering the number of gun owners you should feel pretty safe (a lot of us and most who dont misuse them). The only people you must worry about holding guns is the criminal, and they have guns anyway in this country regardless of the law.

    I recommend going to a couple of your local gun clubs to see what its really like. They will likely shoot paper targets, possibly knock down targets. They follow strict safety rules which easily get you thrown out if you do not respect them. You should be able to borrow one of the club guns under instruction.

  • Comment number 79.

    63. At 01:04am on 14 Feb 2011, Cariboo wrote:
    #42. Ron C wrote:

    For the size of the population, around 7, million. Switzerland has the highest suicide rate in Europe with about half-1400 of them, carried out by handgun use.

    The is a huge number of people out there who claim the world is over populated as well it may be. If one believes that then there should be no complaints if someone decides to lighten the load.

    However what gives you the rite to say that if a person is desirous of blowing their brains out with a pistol they should not be allowed to.

    It is not the gun that causes people to end it all it is the world we live in and you are defiantly not making it any easier with your "I know best" attitude.

    Yes! I would would defiantly say, take the gun out of the equation and many lives would not be lost through this method of self-destruction, especially in Switzerland, and the "I know best attitude" is rightly your own view steeped chokingly in support of a this strange laxed gun owning culture. Though it`s also heartening to hear of that slowly changing and gaining support in Switzerland and(although that would be obviously abhorrent to your ears that are almost touching each other) albeit slowly around the world, that guns without levels of proper controls on them are a smoking gun used for whatever purpose. And my right, as you so angrily put it. Perhaps, like most I recognise that suicide is the result of a severe mental illness many suffer from, it can be treated, did`nt you know., I would much rather hear the cry of help from a the person suffering from this awful affliction than the crack of a gun that would quickly and so easily end the life that would use it. Way beyond your understanding though. Oh and try to cheer up a little, it`s really not such a bad world the world we live in.

  • Comment number 80.

    79. At 10:12am on 14 Feb 2011, Ron C wrote:
    Yes! I would would defiantly say, take the gun out of the equation and many lives would not be lost through this method of self-destruction,

    So taking poison or hanging yourself (like my doctor did) is a preferred method. It is not how people kill themselves that matters but why and how can society help.

    You are recommending treating symptoms not the disease.

    I would much rather hear the cry of help from a the person suffering from this awful affliction than the crack of a gun that would quickly and so easily end the life that would use it.

    Unfortunately the cray for help comes from those that are not intent on suicide. The threat to commit suicide is the cry for help.

    Those intent on ending it all just go and do it, the method is irreverent.

    Way beyond your understanding though.

    No sir, beyond yours.

    Oh and try to cheer up a little, it`s really not such a bad world the world we live in.

    The world is fine it is just some of the people you have to share it with that are the problem.

  • Comment number 81.

    I acknowledge that the person pulling the trigger with the intent to kill or afflict pain is responsible for his or her actions, not the weapon itself. Weapons are not to blame but the fact that they were ever invented still renders the inventor responsible, in my opinion.

    As for the food-chain arguement which was presented, the eskimos don't use guns to catch their food, they use traditional methods. They don't kill whales for fun, they do so out of necessecity which is a different kettle of fish, no pun intended.

    I disagree with killing animals for recreational purposes - fox hunting for example. I also disagree with guns being used to shoot cans or pieces of paper. In my mind it represents everything that is egotistical and macho about mankind. The world of guns is very patriarchal too. Boys and their toys.

  • Comment number 82.

    77. At 09:58am on 14 Feb 2011, Cariboo wrote:
    74. At 09:40am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    There is nothing to celebrate about eating the meat of a whale which has been harpooned to death either, or a bear that has been shot dead in his tracks.

    You would deny Eskimos of their food supply?

    I presume you do not eat any meat. If you do eat meat then take a trip to a slaughterhouse, if you are as sensitive as you seem you will never eat meat again.
    _______________________________________________

    Whale meat is very tasty, especially if has not been frozen. Don't knock it till you have tried it.

  • Comment number 83.

    It might well be tasty but I personally don't want to try it because I have very strong principles regarding this matter. I don't eat any meat except fish, which I sometimes feel guilty about eating.

  • Comment number 84.

    81. At 10:35am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    1)I acknowledge that the person pulling the trigger with the intent to kill or afflict pain is responsible for his or her actions, not the weapon itself. Weapons are not to blame but the fact that they were ever invented still renders the inventor responsible, in my opinion.

    2)As for the food-chain arguement which was presented, the eskimos don't use guns to catch their food, they use traditional methods. They don't kill whales for fun, they do so out of necessecity which is a different kettle of fish, no pun intended.

    3)I disagree with killing animals for recreational purposes - fox hunting for example. I also disagree with guns being used to shoot cans or pieces of paper. In my mind it represents everything that is egotistical and macho about mankind. The world of guns is very patriarchal too. Boys and their toys.

    ----------------------------------

    1) Same for the inventor of the knife. Another good tool which can be used for good or bad.

    2) I would like to point out that traditional methods are far more painful and torturous than guns. A rabbit can be killed in many ways. Slowly poisoned to death, traps which maim and slowly let it die, dogs which rip them apart, or a gun which kills in 1 shot.

    3) Recreational killing is wrong. Killing for food is fine in my eyes though. Killing rabbits to eat, and to protect food stocks/wildlife are both valid reasons for hunting.

    You disagree with shooting cans or paper targets but I assume you also disagree with football, rugby and all other sports which are in your words 'egotistical and macho'. I would also like to point out that me and my partner shoot. There are other women I have shot with too. Not quite the boys and their toys event. Not like football, rugby, etc.

  • Comment number 85.

    84. At 11:23am on 14 Feb 2011, in_the_uk wrote

    You are right, I do disagree with sports like football and rugby too. I disagree with anything that encourages idolatry - many people revere football players like Gods, which is not healthy in my opinion. When people are fundamental, the tendency to be violent increases; just look at the hiedous crimes committed in the name of religious or national honour and love. Fundamentalism is the same in whatever form it presents itself. A fundamental fan of Chelsea football club (the kind who would beat up a fan of an opposing team) is no different from a fundamentally religious person who inflicts their views upon others with zeal. This arguement isn't really relevant to this paricular discussion topic, however. If you want to discuss this further, you can contact me by e-mail if there is a way to exchange addresses. Furthermore, I am quite possibly fundamental myself in the sense that I am against human sectarianism and social divides. I am a dreamer, far too ideological for my own good. I dream of a Utopian society in which all people live together in total tolerance and acceptance of one another. A world in which weapons are not needed. People may snigger at this and think I'm off my rocker but I also acknowledge that my vision will never be realised. That is why I am so angry and ashamed to be part of the human race and that is why I am so hostile towards people who try to justify the use of weapons, because my beliefs on this matter are very firm.

  • Comment number 86.

    The main objective of the Swiss referendum is to reduce (legally-held) gun-related suicides. As (legally-held) gun crime is negligible in Switzerland to begin with, then how could banning the legally-held guns reduce crime? All of us should focus more on the illegal weapons coming into our countries through Eastern Europe and Asia. Gun crime with legally issued firearm is extremely rare. So restricting them will have no effect.

    As regards those who wish to take their own lives, unfortunately, if that be their intent, they will succeed whether they have a gun or not.

  • Comment number 87.

    Most of us seem to agree that in practise restrictions on gun ownership will not reduce crime. We all seem to agree that restrictions will increase crime and perhaps fortify criminal networks, in spite of our ideological differences about guns.

  • Comment number 88.

    80. At 10:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Cariboo wrote:
    79. At 10:12am on 14 Feb 2011, Ron C wrote:
    Yes! I would would defiantly say, take the gun out of the equation and many lives would not be lost through this method of self-destruction,

    So taking poison or hanging yourself (like my doctor did) is a preferred method. It is not how people kill themselves that matters but why and how can society help.

    You are recommending treating symptoms not the disease.

    I would much rather hear the cry of help from a the person suffering from this awful affliction than the crack of a gun that would quickly and so easily end the life that would use it.

    Unfortunately the cray for help comes from those that are not intent on suicide. The threat to commit suicide is the cry for help.

    Those intent on ending it all just go and do it, the method is irreverent.

    Way beyond your understanding though.

    No sir, beyond yours.

    Oh and try to cheer up a little, it`s really not such a bad world the world we live in.

    The world is fine it is just some of the people you have to share it with that are the problem.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    So you`ve made yourself clear about the world "we" live in, since you are speaking for the world, and how dare you assume that role sir, setting yourself for speaking such ill of the world, or for that matter any man`s world that they live in. Please speak only for yourself on that, certainly you donot speak on behalf of me. Your negativity would worry me a little.
    As for an individuals prefered method, well you know what they say about choice. Did you know your doctor well?
    Sorry, but I would like to stay with the topic, "Switzerland" and it`s strangely laxed gun culture and how I support that growing attitude of change, Why? as their is an availibility of a very convenient preferred method of taking ones life. Take that out, and just, maybe, that cry for help might be heard above that of screaming for a gun that is no longer available or convenient for use in that way, and with perhaps Switzerlands suicide rate actually dropping because of it.
    No family, Swiss or otherwise wants this kind of loss. People with that "intent" might find time to reflect on their thoughts and think no! it is`nt the way, the temporary moment of crisis over, and time too to get sorted, how many people have those thoughts from time to time but donot carry out the ultimate act of aggression on themselves. And I disagree with you noone wants to die in that way by suicide. I think that would be beyond you`re reasoning. Really Cariboo, your unstanding of theses matters appear somewhat limited,...Er do`nt hang around now, make it sharpish, your reply that is, have to attend to matters now.




  • Comment number 89.

    85. At 11:49am on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    84. At 11:23am on 14 Feb 2011, in_the_uk wrote

    You are right, I do disagree with sports like football and rugby too. I disagree with anything that encourages idolatry - many people revere football players like Gods, which is not healthy in my opinion. When people are fundamental, the tendency to be violent increases; just look at the hiedous crimes committed in the name of religious or national honour and love. Fundamentalism is the same in whatever form it presents itself. A fundamental fan of Chelsea football club (the kind who would beat up a fan of an opposing team) is no different from a fundamentally religious person who inflicts their views upon others with zeal. This arguement isn't really relevant to this paricular discussion topic, however. If you want to discuss this further, you can contact me by e-mail if there is a way to exchange addresses. Furthermore, I am quite possibly fundamental myself in the sense that I am against human sectarianism and social divides. I am a dreamer, far too ideological for my own good. I dream of a Utopian society in which all people live together in total tolerance and acceptance of one another. A world in which weapons are not needed. People may snigger at this and think I'm off my rocker but I also acknowledge that my vision will never be realised. That is why I am so angry and ashamed to be part of the human race and that is why I am so hostile towards people who try to justify the use of weapons, because my beliefs on this matter are very firm.

    ------------------------

    Unfortunately we cant exchange contact information over BBC but I am enjoying this discussion with you if you are willing to continue. I have never met someone with such ideals before and I find them facinating.

    As for my beliefs, I dont believe in killing without reason. I dont look at a gun and think kill, I look at a gun and think of relaxation and focus. I accept the need for farmers to protect the food supplies and the requirement in this country to control the populations of wild animals after we removed the natural predators.

    As long as hunting is done for good (food, necessary population control ending in food) then I dont see a problem. It is far more humane than some large creature ripping the animal to shreds as it used to be.

    I also think shooting as a target sport should be promoted more in this country because it has a lot of benefits and would take a lot of youth off the streets. Is it more attractive to join a gang or to have a responsible activity they can enjoy? Also the safety instruction is very important to us and the sooner it is taught the more important it is to a person. Safety of guns is very applicable to reducing a lot of the stupid things some people get up to.

    I dont see a problem with sports because people enjoy them, but fanatics of anything need help because (as you say) they are the ones to cause trouble. People do need to have access to activities to keep us physically and mentally fit. Guns are good for both.

    My idea of a utopia is a world of responsibility. Where we are all responsible and accept the responsibility, but also recognised for taking responsibility.

    Accidents and bad things will happen. There will always be bad eggs too. But with most of us responsible we can look after each other.

  • Comment number 90.

    Good to see Switzerland employing common sense in their laws. Respect to them. Much more than what I can say about guntoting America who continues letting school kids get shot.

  • Comment number 91.

    In the U.K:

    _____________________________________________________

    Your comments regarding farming are very pragmatic and from a farmer's point of view I can see the logic in trying to deter predators from damaging crops and livestock.

    I also have no counter-arguement to your suggesting that youngster take up shooting as a hobby. Perhaps that would indeed help to decrease a growing gang-culture?

    I realise that young boys (and some girls) seem to enjoy competetive sports like football, and I know that guns are seen as glamorous to some young people and possibly thrilling.

    I suppose we live in a world in which it is necessary to compromise, to accept lesser evils. Engaging youngsters and providing more youth services would certainly help to decrease youth-crime, I am sure of that.

    I also acknowledge that I get very passionate about these kinds of topics and sometimes forget that other people might have beliefs which are equally as strong and firm as mine, but different. This is a personal problem that I have and that I am trying to work on. Perhaps finding inner-peace will help me to see some of the world's beauty. It ain't all bad!

  • Comment number 92.

    90. At 12:35pm on 14 Feb 2011, sick and tired of arrogant americans wrote:

    Good to see Switzerland employing common sense in their laws. Respect to them. Much more than what I can say about guntoting America who continues letting school kids get shot.

    ------------------

    I recall a gang member shooting a school child dead in this country too. Good job the swiss didnt accept the change.

    For all their guns the swiss have low gun crime. Looking at the US, the states with tighter restrictions tend to have more violent crimes (including gun) than others.

  • Comment number 93.

    Will those with criminal intent even take notice if a law pertaining to gun control is enacted? Feel good legislation is as effective as a screen door is useful for a submarine.

  • Comment number 94.

    91. At 12:36pm on 14 Feb 2011, Oliver wrote:

    In the U.K:

    _____________________________________________________

    Your comments regarding farming are very pragmatic and from a farmer's point of view I can see the logic in trying to deter predators from damaging crops and livestock.

    I also have no counter-arguement to your suggesting that youngster take up shooting as a hobby. Perhaps that would indeed help to decrease a growing gang-culture?

    I realise that young boys (and some girls) seem to enjoy competetive sports like football, and I know that guns are seen as glamorous to some young people and possibly thrilling.

    I suppose we live in a world in which it is necessary to compromise, to accept lesser evils. Engaging youngsters and providing more youth services would certainly help to decrease youth-crime, I am sure of that.

    I also acknowledge that I get very passionate about these kinds of topics and sometimes forget that other people might have beliefs which are equally as strong and firm as mine, but different. This is a personal problem that I have and that I am trying to work on. Perhaps finding inner-peace will help me to see some of the world's beauty. It ain't all bad!

    -------------------------

    There is no inherrent evil in a gun as there isnt any in a knife. But this is where I refute the idea that 'ignorance is bliss'. This generation know nothing of shooting because their parents know little about the subject either. The idea that guns can be fun is as alien as the idea of paragliding as fun.

    Unfortunately though, the criminals know how to misuse guns and being criminals, are willing to get them illegally. And so we have a lot of misuse which is publicised by the media to hike sales. But those who know anything about the subject are berated as blood thirsty or barbarians by people who have probably never seen a gun.

    The criminals aint gonna stop the misuse but a lot of kids who may become those criminals do so because they are missing a worthwhile education. The safety rules surrounding guns are applicable to a lot of tools which are also misused.

    A gun may make some kid feel powerful, but the people who know how to use them properly see them as tools. A tool for hunting. A tool for hobby. A tool for relaxation.

    There are good people and bad people. There are also those who's intentions are used to make them bad. There will be no change to the first 2 groups but the 3rd need to be taught good intentions and how their actions have an effect on others. I know of no tool with the publicity of the gun which can make that demonstration.

  • Comment number 95.

    If passed, this legislation will simply invite organized (and unorganized crime) into the country. Who is going to stop them?

    Criminals will continue to acquire guns. Why restrict the law abiding because of what criminals do?

    Incidentally, I don't own a gun nor have I ever fired one.

  • Comment number 96.

    The main impetus behind this referendum was related to suicide and not crime. Google 'suicide statistics' first hit is by country. As is often the case at the moment the vote was hijacked by the extreme right nationalist party UDC and turned into a debate about nationalist tradition. As in the US with the Mad Hatters tea party, vast financial resources are being used in Switzerland to disinform and cloud debate, reducing complex issues to simplistic polarizations that make it easy for people to dismiss the complexities and make a simple choice. With slightly under 50% participation and a fairly tight result, 43.7% yes, 56.3% no, it's easy to see hijacking the debate can achieve the desired result with less than 3.5% of eligible voters. The real issue here was about spur of the moment irreversible suicide, domestic violence and the threat a man can hold over his partner by just mentioning the fact that he has a service arm near at hand, just in case he needs to use it... These are of course not issues that ultra conservative like to debate, nothing is allowed that might question MANhood.

  • Comment number 97.

    In the meantime this proposal has been rejected. However, one reason for it was also an attempt to reduce suicide with firearms, not just crime against others.

  • Comment number 98.

    Thank God the Swiss were smart enough to hold on to their Freedom and Dignity and rejected this mindless subsevience to Government which has swept the rest of Europe. I think most of you are just plain jealous of nations which maintain their freedom to own Firearms like the US and Swiss. I know it stands in the way of your Global Socialist plans, too bad.

  • Comment number 99.

    97. At 1:31pm on 14 Feb 2011, Bass Culture wrote:

    In the meantime this proposal has been rejected. However, one reason for it was also an attempt to reduce suicide with firearms, not just crime against others.

    -----------------------

    So the crime rate would go up just so people would need to find a different way to kill themselves? Possibly slower and more painful?

    Sounds like sick thinking to propose this change.

  • Comment number 100.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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