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WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Swiss shootings provoke debate on guns

Switzerland saw mass shootings at a factory near the city of Lucerne.

Three immediately killed (including the gunman), seven injured. One of the injuried later died.

Mountainous Switzerland claims one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, but such shootings have been relatively rare.

This has to do with Switzerland's much cherished neutrality - backed up by mountains and compulsory military service - which has kept the country out of most of Europe's wars.

All healthy Swiss males between 18 to 34 owe the country military service. Consequently, they've all been issued assault rifles or pistols, which - as citizen soldiers - they've kept at home. Many retained their firearms AFTER completing their military service, although the rules have been changing.

Anyway, opposition to gun ownership is rising in Switzerland.

The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey ranks Switzerland third in terms of per capita gun ownership, behind the United States and Yemen.

Very little U.S. big-city type street violence in Switzerland, but the country has endured more domestic homicides and suicides with firearms than virtually any other nation in Europe, except for Finland.


Listen to my interview with Swiss-American (New Jersey) journalist Bob Zanotti, who maintains the "Switzerland in Sound" website. Bob was for many years one of the prominent hosts on Swiss Radio International, and I listened to Bob on shortwave in the late 1960's and 1970's, from the age of 11 onwards...


Audio Here



A late e-mail from Bob Zanotti to me:

"The shooter was identified first as Swiss. But it has come out that he was a Kosovar immigrant who became a naturalized Swiss. Ironically, there has been a ban on gun sales to Kosovars in Switzerland since 1996, due to their notorious and well-documented propensity for violence involving firearms. Of course, as a Swiss citizen, the regulation does not apply..."



Posted at 7:34pm on February 27, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

mrpizza
Wed, Feb 27, 2013 7:56pm
I think this story proves beyond any doubt that the problem is not guns. The problem is murderers.

teatime
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 8:12am

The problem is swiss cheese, shot full of holes by the swiss gunmen.

Ban the swiss cheese!



EarlGrey
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 10:06am
"The shooter was identified first as Swiss. But it has come out that he was a Kosovar immigrant who became a naturalized Swiss. Ironically, there has been a ban on gun sales to Kosovars in Switzerland since 1996, due to their notorious and well-documented propensity for violence involving firearms. Of course, as a Swiss citizen, the regulation does not apply..."

Ditto what mrpizza said...it's not the tool but the person using the tool for violence.


mrpizza
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 7:30pm
Teatime: I really like that one!

EarlGrey
Fri, Mar 1, 2013 9:53am
...Wouldn't that cheese have "lead" poisoning?

kavips
Sat, Mar 2, 2013 4:02am
It is a sad occurrence but it really doesn't apply in any way to the argument being made here. Both sides of the gun debate can point to surrounding pieces of this case and use that piece to their advantage...

That would make using this case by either side, a wash, and therefore not a valid issue for our gun debate over here....

EarlGrey
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 2:43pm
The above Swiss case is just as relevant as Newtown in our current "debate" on gun control. This story once again illustrates that it is the person's mental status and not the firearm used that is to blame. Nothing currently suggested by lawmakers would have prevented the horror in Newtown...Lanza broke numerous laws (theft and murder for starters) before he ever got to the elementary school. Only mental health intervention could have helped prevent the evil that happened, but that is not the solution being pushed.

The same is true of the Virgina Tech, Gabbie Giffords, Columbine, Colorado, Swiss (story above) and Norway killers...MENTAL HEALTH issues.


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