Switzerland Has A Stunningly High Rate Of Gun Ownership - Here's Why It Doesn't Have Mass Shootings


Rosie McCall 27 Feb 2018, 18:45

Swiss laws are designed to prevent anyone who's violent or incompetent from owning a gun.

People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland.

The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be permitted to own a gun.

Gun owners also have to prove they can properly load, unload, and shoot their weapon and must pass a test to get a license.

Switzerland is also one of the richest, healthiest, and, by some measures, happiest countries in the world.

Cheese festival, Gruyere, Switzerland eugeniek/Shutterstock

Switzerland was ranked fourth in the UN's 2017 World Happiness Report.

The Swiss were applauded for high marks on "all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance" the report's authors wrote.

Meanwhile, according to the report, happiness has taken a dive over the past decade in the US.

"The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption," the authors said.

But the Swiss aren't perfect when it comes to guns.

Switzerland still has one of the highest rates of gun violence in Europe, and most gun deaths in the country are suicides.

Around the world, stronger gun laws have been linked to fewer gun deaths. That has been the case in Switzerland too.

After hundreds of years of letting local cantons determine gun rules, Switzerland passed its first federal regulations on guns in 1999, after the country's crime rate increased during the 1990s.

Since then, more provisions have been added to keep the country on par with EU gun laws, and gun deaths, including suicides, have continued to drop.

As of 2015, the Swiss estimated that only about 11% of citizens kept their military-issued gun at home.

Most people aren't allowed to carry their guns around in Switzerland.

Concealed-carry permits are tough to get in Switzerland, and most people who aren't security workers or police officers don't have one.

"We have guns at home, but they are kept for peaceful purposes," Martin Killias, a professor of criminology at Zurich University, told the BBC in 2013. "There is no point taking the gun out of your home in Switzerland because it is illegal to carry a gun in the street."

That's mostly true. Hunters and sports shooters are allowed to transport their guns only from their home to the firing range — they can't just stop off for coffee with their rifle.

And guns cannot be loaded during transport to prevent them from accidentally firing in a place like Starbucks — something that has happened in the US at least twice.

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2017.

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