Several killings in the last few weeks have led Switzerland's Security Policy Committee to take steps to remove weapons from the hands of people with a history of violence. 

"/> Several killings in the last few weeks have led Switzerland's Security Policy Committee to take steps to remove weapons from the hands of people with a history of violence. 

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

WEAPONS

Killings prompt Swiss to tighten gun laws

Several killings in the last few weeks have led Switzerland's Security Policy Committee to take steps to remove weapons from the hands of people with a history of violence. 

Killings prompt Swiss to tighten gun laws
Kecko (File)

The parliamentary committee said confiscating firearms was a matter of urgency for individuals known to have made threats or perpetrated acts of violence.

To help avoid further tragedies, a unanimous committee called on the National Assembly to pass a motion requiring the Federal Council to combat unwanted arms possession in cooperation with the cantons.

In its proposal, the committee calls for the police and prosecuting authorities to confiscate all civilian and military weapons held by violent individuals. Moreover, the committee says that military and judicial authorities should collaborate more effectively both at the cantonal and federal levels.

“The different authorities involved won’t move things forward by mutually abdicating their responsibilities or trying to justify themselves regarding the misuse [of weapons],” the commission said.

Military weapons have been used in the fatal shootings of two people in western Switzerland since the beginning of the month, news service ATS reports. On November 4th, a man shot his 21-year-old girlfriend with his assault rifle in Saint Léonard, in the south of the country. The alleged murderer, a 23-year-old man, had several previous convictions for threatening behaviour and property damage.

A week later, a 37-year-old man died from injuries sustained in a shooting incident at a Geneva shopping centre.

On Sunday, November 13th, a young woman in Boudry killed a 23-year-old man with a military gun which she had believed to be a toy gun.

There are around 2.5 million firearms in private hands in Switzerland, giving the country the highest per-capita rate of gun ownership in Europe. It is estimated that about 30 percent of Swiss households keep revolvers, shotguns and even assault rifles in their cabinets.

A heated debate has raged for years in Switzerland about firearm control and the appropriateness of militiamen keeping weapons at home during military service.

A referendum in February 2011 resulted in a rejection of proposals to change the current laws.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WEAPONS

Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic

Switzerland’s weapons exports have seen a 38 percent increase in 2020, according to official government figures.

Swiss weapons exports up 38 percent despite pandemic
Swiss weapons exports are on track for their highest year on record. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland exported CHF690 worth of weapons over the first nine months of 2020. That’s a 38 percent increase on the CHF500 million sold over the corresponding period in 2019. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published the figures on Tuesday

The biggest customers for Swiss weaponry were Denmark, Indonesia and Germany. 

In total, 76 countries bought Swiss weapons during the period. 

According to current figures, weapons exports are on track to be the highest in Swiss history – beating the record of CHF893 million set in 2011. 

‘Death business is flourishing’ 

The news has been heavily criticised by a number of non-government organisations critical of weapons being sold to countries at war or who may use them against their own citizens. 

The Organisation for Switzerland without an Army (GSOA) and Terre des Hommes have been critical of the figures, particularly as the industry has called for a decrease in regulation in recent years. 

GSOA wrote in a statement “the death business is flourishing”. 

Saudi Arabia – currently involved in a conflict in Yemen – appear on the list, along with Brazil. Weapons opponents are concerned the Swiss exports could be used in the country’s slums, Der Bund reports

 

 

SHOW COMMENTS