'Safest place on Earth'
is gun capital of Europe
by RAYMOND DUNCAN
SWITZERLAND is Europe's gun capital. It has more firepower per person than any other country in the world yet it is said to be one of the safest places on Earth.
Despite the prevalence of lethal hardware, the country has virtually no violent crime, there are only minimal controls at public buildings, and politicians rarely have police protection, although yesterday's events are bound to bring about a review of that situation.
Year after year, Switzerland has one of the world's lowest murder rates while sending machine guns to every member of their citizen army.
All males between 20 and 42 are required to keep rifles and pistols at home for the purposes of national defence and they are not kept in safes or with trigger locks. They are kept at the ready.
It was the Swiss passion for guns matched by their determination to keep their liberty that kept the Nazi war machine at bay.
When the Swiss government thought an invasion was imminent, it ordered every able-bodied man to stand by his post and defend it to the last round. Their determination, shooting skills, and the sheer quantity of weapons at their disposal persuaded Hitler that an invasion of Switzerland was not worth the cost and he should concentrate his efforts on conquering countries with strict gun control laws.
The nation's militia system requires males over 18 to be ready for a call to service.
Every Monday and Friday, men wearing uniforms and carrying weapons can be seen on commuter trains travelling to and from military camp for compulsory training.
Other countries have tennis courts and golf courses, the Swiss have shooting ranges. Almost every town has one, where reservists have to fire a set number of rounds each year to keep their weapons.
In restaurants and coffee shops, tourists sometimes find themselves competing with guns for places to hang their coats.
However, Switzerland is facing pressures for gun control.
Neighbouring countries are clamouring for tougher restrictions and the state parliament building shootings are likely to accelerate the demands.
article from The Herald.
See GUNS: IT'S TIME TO GET SERIOUS
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