Following an emotional debate over gun control, Swiss voters firmly rejected a referendum that would have forced soldiers to end the longstanding practice of keeping army-issue firearms at home and tightened restrictions over civilian gun ownership.Of course, the Swiss way isn't for everyone-but there's a reason they;ve been able to defend their neutrality for so long...
According to exit polls, 57% of voters rejected the initiative. The referendum sparked a heated debate over the right to bear arms in a country that has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.
Between 1.2 million and 4.5 million firearms are estimated to be in circulation in Switzerland, putting the Alpine country behind only the U.S. and Yemen in guns per capita.
The number is particularly high because members of the Swiss militia have traditionally keep their army-issued rifles or pistols at home, to be ready to defend the nation at a moment's notice. Switzerland has virtually no standing army, relying instead on conscripted militia for national defense.
All Swiss men between 18 and 30 years old are called up to do three months' military training, followed by regular refresher courses. The notion of the citizen-soldier is a cornerstone of Switzerland's armed neutrality policy.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
God, Cheese, And Guns
Switzerland-Europe's version of the NRA?