posted on May, 22 2008 @ 02:40 PM
I thinkt it's time to clear up some misconceptions here about Switzerland, the Swiss people and our relationship to our guns and our army.
Firstly, not everybody is required by law or otherwise to own a gun. In fact, gun ownership, carrying and transfer are regulated pretty strictly. I
will go into detail about this later.
Secondly, not every man and woman HAVE to be in the army.
Fact is, in the year they turn 18, every man has to go to a 3 day test, called "Aushebung". This is not mandatory, but possible for females. There
it's determined if your fit enough for the army and what branch of service fits your performance. Then we have 21 weeks of basic training, splittet
in 6 weeks general training and the rest in branch specific training. Here, you receive your service rifle, gas mask and some other stuff that you
keep in your home.
After basic training, we have a reoccuring term of service. Every year, soldiers have a so called "WK", "Wiederholungs-/ Weiterbildungskurs",
basically a 3 week refresher and to get people fit with the updates in tech and tactics. You also have to go to the 300m shooting range once a year
and shoot a mandatory program to prove that you can handle your gun. This goes on until you have served your mandatory days or have reached a certain
age. Then you give your stuff back, and, depending on some conditions, you either keep your rifle, or give it back. If you fulfill the requirements to
keep it, it will be "neutered", meaning no more fully automatic or 3round burst fire.
Between basic training and the repeating terms, you do in fact keep a fully automatic assault rifle at home. This has caused some unrest with our
leftwingers, because some people abused their rifles for amok runs, passion-killings and suicides.
Thus it was decided in 2007 that the soldiers can't keep the ammo, but continue to keep the rifles. This has stirred up the rightwingers that see our
democracy in danger since it looks like the politicians no longer trust their "subjects".
Ironically, shortly after the ammo started to be withheld after basic training, a deranged individual killed a young girl with his rifle and a round
that he had stolen during service.
The future of having one's service rifle at home is currently being widely and passionately debated, and our relations to the EU influence this
debate as well.
Now to our laws of privately owning a gun. There are currently two ways of lawfully obtaining a gun that is not explicitly restricted:
You buy it from another citizen with a paper contract that you have to keep for ten years. This will be changed this fall when the Schengen/Dublin
treaties come to full work, then you will need a permit for this kind of transfer as well.
You obtain a permit, for which you need an extensive background check and a chat with the local authorities. You will get get your permit IF you
haven't been convicted of violent crime (not sure where the line is drawn) or are taking any drugs that affect your judgement. The permit is also
basically a registration of the gun you purchased, as a copy of it will be sent to the police.
However, you won't get a carry-permit EVER if you can't provide a darn good reason why you need this permit.
To get fully automatic weapons or silencers, you need a collectors license. I'm not sure about requirements to get one of those, but silencers were
outlawed on January 1st 1999 and were freely available before, so there's a lot of pre-ban stuff around (that's not used in crimes, btw).
So, I hope I could shed some light on our situation here in the center of Europe. Should any specific questions arise, just ask, I'll do my best to