Switzerland ranks 16th for civilian firearms: survey

New research shows there are an estimated 2,332,000 firearms in civilian possession in Switzerland, or 27.6 weapons per hundred inhabitants.

Switzerland ranks 16th for civilian firearms: survey
File photo: Depositphotos

This puts the country 16th overall in terms of ownership of civilian firearms, according to data just published by the Geneva-based NGO Small Arms Survey.

The Swiss figure includes former service rifles purchased by recruits who have completed their military service.

Read also: Swiss police logistics chief suspected of illegal arms sales

“In Switzerland, military reservists may keep their assault rifles, but only if they have been converted to semi-automatic fire,” the NGO notes.

Also included in the data for Switzerland are an estimated 1,540,281 unregistered firearms – a figure that is notoriously difficult to establish and which can comprise everything from tailor-made sports rifles to crude, ‘home-made’ hunting guns, depending on the country.

Overall findings

The Small Arms Survey study reveals there are over a billion firearms in the world with 857 million (85 percent) of those in civilian hands.

Read also: Fact check – did the number of private guns in Switzerland really jump 9 percent last year?

A further 133 million (13 per cent) are in military arsenals, and 23 million (2 per cent) are in the hands of law enforcement agencies.

The vast majority of civilian firearms in the world are in the United States. With an estimated 393 million civilian firearms, the country has more of these weapons than the next 25 nations combined, according to Small Arms Survey.

The total figure for the US equates to an estimated 120.5 civilian firearms per 100 inhabitants or more than four times the Swiss rate.

It is also twice the rate of that of second-placed Yemen, where the figure is 52.8.

Closer to the Swiss rate of 27.6 per hundred inhabitants are Norway (28.8) and Malta (28.3).