Why Gun-Loving Switzerland Voted to Tighten Restrictions on Firearms

Why Gun-Loving Switzerland Voted to Tighten Restrictions on Firearms
A man trains with an air gun on a shooting range in Buren an der Aare, near Bern, Switzerland, Feb. 8, 2011 (AP photo by Frank Jordans).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on gun policy and the debate over gun control around the world.

Though the changes to Swiss gun laws passed easily, implementation is likely to prove a bit more difficult.

Switzerland has historically been known as a gun-friendly country due to a tradition of military conscription and the popularity of hunting and other shooting sports. But in May, voters agreed to tighten Swiss gun laws to bring them in line with new European Union antiterrorism legislation that was passed in 2017. Switzerland is not part of the 28-nation bloc, but it is part of the Schengen area, which allows free movement among 26 European countries. In an email interview with WPR, Nora Markwalder, an assistant professor of law and criminology at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, discusses the history of gun rights in Switzerland and why voters there agreed to restrict access to certain types of firearms.

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