Farewell to Army? Best-armed Swiss shift opinion to abolish militia
RT VIDEO REPORThttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnQ2I4Nkxhs
Despite its neutral and peaceful image, Switzerland has a strong military tradition. It is Europe's best-armed nation, where every male citizen under 50 years old is a reserve soldier. Many question why a country that hasn't been involved in any military conflict for 200 years should have an army at all.
In the past...Why Switzerland Has The Lowest Crime Rate In The Worldhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nf1OgV449g
Swiss Get Ready to Vote on Stricter Gun Controls
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH
Published: February 10, 2011
GENEVA — The affinity with weapons in this small, landlocked country runs deep, from the legend of William Tell to the mercenaries of late medieval Europe to the Swiss guards who defended the French monarchy and the would-be defenders of national neutrality in the 20th century.
That tradition — which for many is embellished by heavy doses of folklore — will be tested Sunday in a referendum on gun laws. If passed, it would curb the right of soldiers to keep their weapons at home and put the onus on private citizens to prove their need for a gun.
The vote has opened debates that run deeper — raising sensitive questions about national identity, individual liberty, the suicide rate and the army’s role in this neutral state. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/world/europe/11iht-swiss11.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
Disarming the Swiss
by John R. Lott, Jr.
Two years ago — on September 27, 2001 — a lone gunman shot and killed shot 14 people in the cantonal parliament in Zug, near Zurich. To the Swiss justice minister, Ruth Metzler, the country's liberal gun laws were responsible. Joined by the Swiss People's party, the Radical party, and the Swiss business federation, Metzler has called for registering guns, banning others, and tightening controls on buying guns as obvious solutions to make sure nothing like that happens again.
Ever since Switzerland's founding in 1291, an armed citizenry has been a cornerstone of its defense. The Swiss Militia also inspired American revolutionaries from John Adams to Patrick Henry and served as the model for the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
The tradition still lives in Switzerland today. All able-bodied males from 20 to 42 years of age are required to keep rifles or handguns at home. Gun shops are everywhere. A Zurich tourist brochure recommends people visit September's Knabenschiessen (a young person's shooting contest): "The oldest Zurich tradition . . . consists of a shooting contest at the Albisguetli (range) for 12 to 16 year-old boys and girls and a colorful three-day fair."
Yet, Swiss gun laws have already started to give up some of this freedom that they are so well know for. In January 1999, nationwide regulations greatly restricted people's ability to carry concealed handguns. But the new proposals — including registration — represent the greatest challenge to Swiss traditions. As some Swiss point out, registration in other countries has often preceded confiscation.
Registration could supposedly help identify criminals and prevent them from getting guns. For example, if a gun is left at the scene of the crime, registration could allow it to be traced back to the criminal who used it.
Nice theory, but it just doesn't work. Despite spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of man-hours by police administering these laws in different areas of the United States (such as Hawaii, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.), there is not even a single case where the laws have been key in identifying someone who has committed a crime.