Categories: world

Swiss gun control: Projections suggest voters approve EU rules

Image copyrightAFP CaptionsAlmost 48% of households in Switzerland owns a gun Voters in Switzerland have backed up the tightening of arms laws that are in line with EU rules, suggests early forecasts. Forecasts indicate that 67% of voters in Sunday's referendum supported harder restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. 1 9659007] Switzerland is not an EU member but risks being removed from the Schengen area if it had voted no. Switzerland has a long tradition of gun ownership. Nearly 48% of households have a gun that puts it among the highest private ownership in Europe. The EU had urged the country to tighten its laws in accordance with the rules adopted by the block after the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. The rules restrict semi-automatic and automatic rifles and make it easier to trace weapons in national databases. The original EU proposal gave rise to criticism in Switzerland, as it prohibited the tradition of ex-soldiers to keep their assault rifles. Swiss officials negotiated with concessions, but some gun activists argued that the rules were still encroaching on civil rights. What does the projected result say? Analysis of Imogen Foulke's BBC News, Geneva Opponents of the new arms laws described them as a dictation from Brussels, which had to be a member of the Union of Switzerland against its will. The Swiss national identity, with its long tradition of gun ownership, was, they argued, undermined. But Sunday's nationwide referendum shows that voters are thinking differently: they have been overwhelmingly on the new…

 A visitor tries out a CO2 air gun during the 45th edition of the Lucerne Arms Trade, Switzerland on March 29, 2019

Image copyright
AFP

Captions

Almost 48% of households in Switzerland owns a gun

Voters in Switzerland have backed up the tightening of arms laws that are in line with EU rules, suggests early forecasts.

Forecasts indicate that 67% of voters in Sunday’s referendum supported harder restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. 1

9659007] Switzerland is not an EU member but risks being removed from the Schengen area if it had voted no.

Switzerland has a long tradition of gun ownership.

Nearly 48% of households have a gun that puts it among the highest private ownership in Europe.

The EU had urged the country to tighten its laws in accordance with the rules adopted by the block after the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.

The rules restrict semi-automatic and automatic rifles and make it easier to trace weapons in national databases.

The original EU proposal gave rise to criticism in Switzerland, as it prohibited the tradition of ex-soldiers to keep their assault rifles.

Swiss officials negotiated with concessions, but some gun activists argued that the rules were still encroaching on civil rights.

What does the projected result say?

Analysis of Imogen Foulke’s BBC News, Geneva

Opponents of the new arms laws described them as a dictation from Brussels, which had to be a member of the Union of Switzerland against its will. The Swiss national identity, with its long tradition of gun ownership, was, they argued, undermined.

But Sunday’s nationwide referendum shows that voters are thinking differently: they have been overwhelmingly on the new arms laws, after the government’s advice.

Switzerland seems to want to cooperate in the EU’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and keep their often difficult relations with Brussels as smooth as possible.

Why is the EU concerned about Swiss arms laws?

Following the 2015 attacks in Paris, EU Schengen members issued new restrictions on automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

The rules required:

  • A ban on weapons that can quickly shoot several rounds
  • Automatic and semi-automatic weapons are either banned or severely restricted
  • Every owner of such a weapon and the weapon itself is known for police all over Europe
  • All key weapon components should be clearly labeled and registered electronically

The EU hoped that the rules would help protect people across Europe and prevent a repetition of the attacks in 2015.

Failure to adopt the changes could have forced Switzerland to leave the Schengen area and the Dublin system for handling asylum applications uests.

What did Swiss officials say?

The Swiss government urged voters to save the changes.

It said that gun enthusiasts would not notice the new rules, while allowing Switzerland to retain its Schengen membership. [19659007] Officials said the membership of the zone had been beneficial to the economy and to fighting crime.

Share
Published by
Faela