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Swiss Shooting: Country With Gun Problems …

  • January 5th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

daillon.jpgThe multiple shooting at Daillon, Valais (picture) in Switzerland this week underscored the trouble that the mountain country has been having with its tradition of firearms use.

In the background is hunting, and out of that sports shooting, and the long history of armed neutrality that sees all Swiss men called up for military training, and allowed to take their guns home.

On Wednesday in Daillon (2.1.13) a man believed to have been heavily drunk, with a history of mental problems, known to police as a gun hoarder in the past, started shooting at people from a local residence. He had a hunting gun and an old model service rifle dating back over 60 years.

He killed three local women aged from 32, 54 and 72, and injured two men, 33 and 63. The young people shot were parents of a family of children.

Switzerland is one location in a drawn-out campaign for tighter gun laws there, and in Austria and parts of Germany where sports shooting has been popular; one that has the support of lobbies such as the medical profession, concerned about gun suicides, and the opposition of conservative groups of many kinds.

swiss-troops.jpgIn February 2011  Swiss electors voted “no” by 56% to 44%  to a proposal for the nation’s thousands of reservist soldiers to keep their guns back at the armoury, no longer at the house.

The report from EUAustralia Online (“Swiss To Keep Army Guns In The Home”, 15.2.11):

“A small state with just 7.8-million citizens even today, the country has underlined its own isolation by hosting inter-governmental peace conferences and keeping out of organisations like the European Union, and until 2002 even the United Nations.

“Switzerland’s dogged independence has traditionally taken the form of  … defence provided by a policy of not ever declaring war, mountains all around, and compulsory military service for all men aged 18 to 42.

swiss-rifle.jpg“The gun in the cupboard has been a cherished part of all that, these days the standard, and popular weapon being the Sturmgewehre 90 assault rifle – the Stg.90 (picture).

“Modern military doctrine, and technology, tends to put more emphasis on professional troops and advanced weaponry, less on such yeomanry; but the gun was a key player in the referendum, not so much as part of a survival strategy for the nation, rather presented as the symbol of a way of life…”

Reference

Euronews, Leon-Scully, “Motive unclear in deadly Swiss shooting”, 3.1.13.
http://www.euronews.com/2013/01/03/motive-unclear-in-deadly-swiss-shooting/, (5.1.13).

Swissinfo.ch (SRG / SSR), Bern, “Three dead in Swiss village shooting”, 3.1.13. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Three_dead_in_Swiss_village_shooting.html?cid=34637738, (5.1.13).

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