Ever since the shooting in Colorado, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts proclaiming that we should adopt Switzerland’s policy to owning guns. “Everyone is issued one AND their are trained on how to use them”. Fine and dandy… if that were the whole story.
- Facts are, when the MALES in the County reach 20 years of age, they go through 118 consecutive days of recruit training. After that training, each mail is required to keep their auto assault rifles, ammunition and equipment in their homes until their service ends.
- From the ages of 21-32, you are considered a “Frontline Troop”. For 3 weeks every year (for 8 of those 12 years), you will go through training again.
- From 33-42, you are what we would consider the National Guard. Again, a two week training session is required every few years during this period.
- From 43-50, you are essentially in the Reserves. 13 days in this period will be dedicated to “Home Gun Courses”.
- Once you reach 50 (or 55 for Officers), you are discharged from service, and receive your very own assault rifle. (Officers receive pistols)
Think America can handle that? Do you think the women of this County could sit back and watch the men get armed with no chance of them getting such training? Teenagers, women, and almost everyone else have more freedom in America than in Switzerland. If so, let’s look at some other facts.
- Switzerland’s suicide rate is almost DOUBLE of the United States’
- Gun ownership is only part of the emphasis on Community Duty, something most of America is lacking.
- The Swiss have the weakest central Government in the west. Incase you haven’t noticed, America’s Government is the polar opposite.
- Unlike the rest of Europe, the police force is decentralised. Judges and jurors are popularly elected. With less mobility, and more deeply developed community ties, there is less crime.
- With the exception of murder, prison terms are rarely over a year. And most of those sentences are suspended. As in Japan, the focus of the criminal justice system is on the reintegration of the offender into the community, rather than punishment.
- The Swiss have the lowest percentage of working Mothers of any European Country.
- The Schools are strict and the children are kept in line.
- It is the cohesive social structure of Switzerland that keeps the crime rate low. Gun ownership is only a cog in that wheel.
While it is true that 95% of American citizens could qualify to carry a weapon in Switzerland after training, strong central Governments (like the United States) weaken citizen initiative and individual responsibilities. Therefore, making us unable to handle such responsibility to the point of lowering crime (which is the point you were making in the first place, right?)
I’m not saying we should do away with guns. That will just give the criminal element that much more of an advantage!
Ordinary American citizens use guns competently. Every 48 seconds, someone uses a handgun to defend himself against a crime. Regular American citizens do not shoot each other in moments of passion; the vast majority of such shootings are perpetrated by thugs with a record of violence and substance abuse. And contrary to the claims of the anti-gun lobby, Americans are not so careless that they cannot be trusted with potentially dangerous objects like guns. Gun accidents account for less than 2% of the nation’s 92,000 accidental deaths annually.
Of course the more that U.S. governments can do to make gun use in America even more responsible, the better. Switzerland shows how successful governments can be in promoting responsible gun use.
Elementary schools in America could have gun safety classes which teach children never to touch a gun unless a parent is present, and they should be taught to tell an adult if they see an unattended gun. The NRA actively promotes this idea, and the National Association of Chiefs of Police endorses it. But Handgun Control opposes this reasonable, sensible safety measure.
High schools and colleges wishing to offer target shooting as a sport could be allowed to do so. Unlike football or swimming, scholastic target shooting has never resulted in a fatality. The anti-gun groups oppose the sensible step of allowing the schools to offer students the safest sport ever invented. Finally, local governments should enact reasonable zoning laws, which allow the construction of indoor shooting ranges (properly ventilated and sound insulated) in urban areas. In some cases, governments should subsidise the building of ranges. At target ranges, Americans can take lessons in gun responsibility, and practice safe gun handling skills. As you might expect, the anti-gunners oppose this simple safety measure too.
If we learn anything from Switzerland, its that guns in themselves are not a cause of gun crime; if they were, everyone in Switzerland would long ago have been shot in a domestic quarrel.
Cultural conditions, not gun laws, are the most important factors in a nation’s crime rate. Young adults in Washington, D.C., are subject to strict gun control, but no social control, and they commit a staggering amount of armed crime. Young adults in Zurich are subject to minimal gun control, but strict social control, and they commit almost no crime.
America-with its traditions of individual liberty-cannot import Switzerland’s culture of social control…but there are options!