Lawmakers call for national gun registry
A week after an apparently deranged gunman killed three women in a Valais mountain village, a committee of the Swiss lower house of parliament called on Tuesday for the equivalent of a national gun registry.
The lower house security policy commiitee voted with 12 in favour and seven opposed for linking existing gun registries at a cantonal level into a national network, commission president Chantal Gallade was quoted by the ATS news agency as saying.
The committee had asked the Swiss government to quickly draft a law change proposal, which will need to be voted through parliament before it can take
effect, she explained.
The committee had long been scheduled to debate a range of motions linked to illegal use of military weapons, and the vote was not linked to last week's
Yet the issue was all the more poignant after the January 3rd killings in the small village of Daillon, where a 33-year-old former soldier with known psychiatric and drug problems used a Swiss military rifle and a hunting rifle to kill three women and injure two men.
The issue of connecting the regional gun registries into a national network has been on the table since a referendum in February 2011 blocked the creation
of an actual national registry.
More than 56 percent of Swiss voters rejected the motion that also sought to change the country's long-standing tradition of letting citizens keep army-issue weapons at home.
The committee on Tuesday also rejected a similar motion, which would have required the collection of all military arms once a soldier completes his or her military service.
With a population of eight million people, Switzerland counts about two million registered firearms, but there are believed to be a large number of unregistered weapons as well.
Tuesday's suggested law change would require regional officials to systematically inform military authorities if they refuse to issue a firearms permit or confiscate a weapon.
Military authorities would also be required to inform regional officials if they for security reasons had withdrawn army-issue weapons from any citizens in their canton.