More Gun Ownership Means Higher Crime, Right?

Not in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the fact that many of the nation’s citizens own a firearm does not lead to higher crime. In fact, Switzerland has very low gun crime.


There’s one country that comes up time and time again in the gun control debate, often used as a paradox that proves American gun laws do not have to be tightened: Switzerland.

The neutral country has a tradition of a gun in every closet, and ranks amongst the highest levels of gun ownership in the world — with estimate of as many as 4.5 million guns in a country of just 7.9 million people (few countries have more guns per capitathe US and Yemen are two).

However, gun related crime is remarkably low, with only 24 gun murders in 2009 — 0.3 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 2007 figures in the US of 4.2 per 100,000 people, according to Time Magazine.

However, attempts to compare the US to Switzerland gloss over the vast differences between the two countries.

For example, the nature of gun ownership in Switzerland is tied to the military. Switzerland has a very small standing army, and citizens are expected to act as militiamen should the country be invaded. Every 18-30 years old Swiss male between has to do three months’ military training, and many more regular refresher courses. The majority of guns are army-issued, though rules on private gun ownership are very lax compared to other European countries.

This is also a country with a population smaller than New York CityAccording to 2011 data from the IMF, Switzerland has a GDP per capita of $83,073, almost double that of the US, or other European countries like the UK or France. The CIA says 6.9 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, compared to 15.1 in the US or 14 in the UK.

Finally, it would be wrong to ignore that gun control has become a hot topic in Switzerland in recent years. Last year a vote was held on whether the country should end the practice of keeping army-issue firearms at home and tighten over private gun ownership restrictions. While the plans were rejected by 57% of voters, the movement appears to be growing. Switzerland’s notion of direct democracy (citizens are able to call constitutional and legislative referendums, but only on laws passed by the legislature) means that more votes are likely in the future.



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  1. Citizens in the US are also expected to act as militia if the country is ever invaded and the military fails or if the government takes away our rights without our consent (which would be sad if we gave them that consent but we do), and that would have no effect on gun-related crime in either country. Gun control should mean more education and promoting responsible ownership, not removing guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens. Militias should be encouraged, not discouraged, as the 2nd amendment states. That is the greatest lesson to be learned from Switzerland’s gun laws.

  2. lovegodlovehistory says:

    Guns dont kill – crazy people do. America is one ‘sick puppy’. Look at the ‘games’ our children play? “Killing” the ‘bad guys’, indulging in constant views of violence, and lack of parental control, atheistic views with little or no morality, Hollywood demonizing Christians. Take your pick. It all starts in the home with parents who exercise little or no authority, and liberal teachers and professors who promote acceptance of “all viewpoints” and “diversity”. This isn’t “America” as we used to know it – IT’S THE WORLD – and it’s EVIL!

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