Frank B writes:
According to TIME, dateline Geneva, there is more to it than what the recent comments above say: “The biggest change to the firearms legislation was made in 2007, requiring soldiers to store their bullets in an arsenal rather than in the households, but they were allowed to continue to keep their firearms at home. However, people who own private guns can purchase ammunition freely, as long as their weapon is registered.” So the implied argument that all Swiss have guns but no ammo is false, according to TIME. As you see here, many many many guns and mucho mucho mucho ammo, but very low gun crimes: “Because of these traditions, gun ownership in Switzerland is among the highest in the world, trailing behind only the U.S. and Yemen. Between 2.3 million and 4.5 million are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people. But while the gun-suicide rate is fairly high — about 300 cases a year — the number of violent crimes is relatively low: government figures show about 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. By comparison, the U.S. rate in the same year was about five firearm killings per 100,000 people, according to a 2011 U.N. report.” So yes, the “Switzerland Argument” has merit in support of private gun and ammo ownership. “Shooting is also a popular pastime. The Swiss learn to shoot from an early age, master safety techniques and develop a sense of responsibility toward their firearms. It is not unusual to see entire families — kids as young as 12 and their grandparents — participating in target practice or sharpshooting competitions that are held in towns and villages across the country.” Safety with firearms is learned from a young age. The article references two mass shootings in Switzerland. One was very recent, April 2013. The overall rate of gun violence though is low, statistically low. Nope, actually the Swiss example has absolutely no merit whatsoever in terms of private possession of guns.
So what’s your point? In Switzerland, there may or may not be a lot loaded weapons in homes – the article did not state how many Swiss actually bought ammo and then loaded it into their guns and kept loaded guns around the home. Perhaps most Swiss who have these guns do not purchase ammo on the private market, and anyway, the home gun loaded or not must be locked away at home. Also those guns must be locked away when they are in the home. It’s really going to do a lot of good defending your home against an invader with a locked away gun, huh? I suppose they can take their guns out of their locked cases where they are stored at home in order to go to the shooting competition in town, but then they have to bring the guns back to the home and lock them up again. How many are going to leave the shooting competition and go on a shooting spree? Even if it is true that somehow Switzerland has lots of loaded guns lying around in homes all over the land and somehow manages a low crime rate nevertheless, it is utterly irrelevant to the US. Because here, in spite of the possible Swiss experience, a locked and loaded society deluged with guns is in fact causing a tsunami of gun crimes. Yeah, if we were like Switzerland, that might not be so. But we are not like Switzerland. So what is the point of bringing up the irrelevant example in the first place? The point about gun safety is also irrelevant. Whenever we discuss accidents, which by the way, kill 1,000 Americans every year or three every day, the gun nuts say, “Well those people are idiots who do not know any good gun safety. If they knew gun safety, this would never have happened.” This argument is also irrelevant. How long have the gun nuts been yelling about gun safety and how people are supposed to learn it and then we will not have any more gun issues. 40 years? 50 years? So what has happened in the interim period? Have Americans learned any better gun safety than they had 40-50 years ago? Of course not. Will they learn it well before I die? Probably not. We seem doomed to have a nation of gun safety morons into the forseeable future. Also this argument is horribly hypocritical in that many times we gun controllers have passed laws mandating gun safety courses before one can purchase a firearm. Guess how the NRA reacted to each and every attempt to do that? They oppose and continue to oppose all of our efforts to mandate passing a gun safety course before you buy a gun. Those gun safety courses are not that great either. A gun safety instructor recently committed suicide with the gun he was demonstrating in front of his horror-striken class. Gun nuts are just like all conservatives. Most of their arguments are just wrong.