The Swiss referendum that challenged stricter gun control regulations in Switzerland has ended with 64 percent of the people voting FOR the tighter controls according to www.ge.ch/votations. The linked website has an interactive map to show how close each district vote was. Canton Ticino was the only one to have a majority vote against the new regulations. Early polling appears to have been correct in that about two-thirds of the people polled supported compliance with the European Union’s Schengen Agreement gun control measures.
HISTORY THAT LEAD TO THE SWISS REFERENDUM
In February of this year, TFB reported that the people of Switzerland forced a referendum on the firearms regulations. The Swiss government passed the extra firearm regulations in late 2018 to stay ahead of the European Union’s Schengen Agreement, which requires stricter gun control in an effort to reduce crime across the E.U. Even though Switzerland is not an E.U. member, they signed onto the Schengen Agreement in 2008, which was originally meant to increase trade and free movement of people throughout the E.U. Switzerland’s deadline was set to be May 19, the same day the referendum was scheduled. Switzerland has a strong tradition of firearm ownership. The Swiss “Feldschiessen”, or Field Shoot, is the largest shooting competition in the world, with as many as 128,000 people participating. The BBC reported that there are an estimated 2.3 million firearms in the country with a population of 8.5 million. It was also estimated that almost 48 percent of households have a firearm. When Parliament passed the new laws last year, gun owners needed 50,000 verified signatures within 100 days to force the referendum to take the vote directly to the people. In those 100 days, 125,000 signatures were acquired.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SWISS GUN OWNERS?
As it stands right now, automatic and semi-automatic weapons will be more heavily regulated and restricted. Regular training will also be part of the requirements for those keeping weapons. The BBC listed the general requirements to stay compliant with the Schengen Agreement:
- Under a Revised Firearms directive, a ban on weapons capable of rapidly firing multiple rounds
- Automatic and semi-automatic weapons would either be banned or heavily restricted
- Each owner of such a weapon, and the weapon itself, are known to police across Europe
- All essential weapon components should be clearly labeled and registered electronically
Reportedly, the Swiss Parliament had already negotiated a concession for current and former militia members to keep their issued rifles at home. Essentially, for the moment, it seems that registration and more restrictive access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons is the key to the Schengen Agreement gun control measures.
For our Swiss readers, how will this affect your gun ownership? Is there a chance that pro-gun owners will be elected in future elections? For our general readership, what do you think about the results of the Swiss referendum?