In the gun control debate, anti-gun activists time and time again whip out the “but Australia banned guns” trump card to support their argument that gun control laws work.
Well, two can play at that game. From now on, anytime an activist says “but Australia!”, Second Amendment advocates can fire back with a “but Switzerland!”, because data shows that the little European country has a gun-toting populace which has committed very few mass shootings in the past two decades.
According to SF Gate, Switzerland “has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 homicides with firearms. The country’s overall murder rate is near zero.”
The last mass shooting in Switzerland occurred in 2001 and left 14 innocent people dead when a man stormed parliament in Zug.
Part of the reason for Switzerland’s mass (and responsible) gun ownership is that boys are trained to properly use a firearm relatively early. In fact, Switzerland has made military service for able-bodied men a mandatory duty between ages 18 and 34.
In addition, similar to the United States, Switzerland’s culture views gun ownership as a patriotic duty to protect their homeland, a tradition that goes as far back as the 1600s.
“Zurich’s Knabenschiessen is a traditional annual festival that dates back to the 1600s,” reports SF Gate. “Though the word roughly translates to ‘boys shooting’ and the competition used to be only boys, teenage girls have been allowed in since 1991.”
“Kids in the country flock to the competition every September to compete in target shooting using Swiss army service rifles,” the report continued. “They’re proud to show off how well they can shoot. Accuracy is prized above all else, and a Schutzenkonig — a king or queen of marksmen — is crowned.”
Men who have finished their term of service in the armed forces are allowed to buy and keep their service weapons, but only after obtaining a permit.