Gun Control Comes to Switzerland?

The article below describes the continuing effort by the European Union to pressure Switzerland to impose strict gun control, and the apparent capitulation of the Swiss Federal Council to that pressure.

JLH, who translated the piece, includes this prefatory note:

Does Switzerland need a chapter of the NRA? As a surrounded non-member of the otherwise nearly ubiquitous EU, it is constantly under pressure to accommodate the EU’s rules and attitudes. It is reminiscent of an expression I read somewhere: “Being nibbled to death by ducks.”

Note the trilingual heading of “Hands off Swiss gun law! No to the EU fund-control law!’

The translated article from the Swiss gun rights site Finger weg vom Schweizer Waffenrecht:

Quick and Dirty: So Much Humbug From the New EU Gun Control Law

March 7, 2018

According to Duden dictionary, “humbug” means either something that pretends to be significant but is a scam, or a fatuous and silly statement or action. The EU diktat decrees that the well established and functioning Swiss gun control law is to be greatly intensified. What does that change, and why are gun owners so worked up about it? We have been asked that frequently recently. And we would like to offer a few answers.

(A paragraph recommending the reading of the texts of the EU and Swiss laws and other comments)

Legitimacy of EU Guideline as Security Measure Doubtful

1. Basis for the law change is the revision of the guideline known as “Firearms Directive,” on the control of buying and ownership of weapons (91/477/EEC[1]) — a regulation created in 1991 for the control of the internal market, especially as applicable to border-crossing shipment of weapons. This guideline was revised after the 2015 Paris attacks for the prevention of international terrorism.

We opponents of increasing the severity of the law point out that the guideline 91/477/EEC is in no way an instrument of security policy, and the present goal of exerting such massive influence on private gun ownership is absolutely not legitimate. The Czech Republic is appealing the introduction of guideline 91/477/EEC at the European court, on these and similar grounds.

Tightening in 5-Year Rhythm to Be Expected

2. Article 17 of the EU Gun Control Guideline allows the EU, beginning on September 14, 2020 (!) and every five years thereafter to review the suitability of individual provisions and subsequently, case-by-case, make new suggestions for legislation, especially in the realm of firearms.

We opponents of increasing the severity of the law note that the EU with Article 17 is allowing itself to dominate Swiss gun control law and thus removing the influence of direct democracy. Since the Swiss gun law is based on the ancient tradition of the “self-defensive Swiss” and our system of a militia army, this overreach carries great potential for conflict. Should this process become the norm in other areas of life, we are threatened with the loss of the direct influence of parliament and the people on Swiss lawmaking.

Magazine Capacity Alone Decides Lawful and Unlawful

3. So Switzerland adopts from EU’s guideline the banning of certain firearms on their magazine capacity alone, that is, moving them from the category of requiring a permit to forbidden. So the same gun can be interpreted legally in two different ways — allowed or forbidden. The only difference is an object presently not legally defined: the magazine.

We opponents of increasing the severity of the law submit that an object that can be bought easily internationally and is already present in Switzerland by the hundreds of thousands cannot be brought forth to ban a gun. Specifically, a pistol is forbidden if it has a 21-cartridge magazine. With a 20-cartridge magazine, it is eligible for a permit. Both gun and magazine can be taken from the owner if an over-large magazine should be found in the possession of a gun owner with no special permit. The same is true for all long guns. The limit there is 10 bullets. The newer Swiss military service rifles have magazines that hold 20 or 24.

Lawful: Handguns or Small Arms

4. To determine whether a gun with a certain magazine capacity is legally allowed or forbidden, it must be determined whether it is considered a handgun or small arms. Depending on that, differing magazine capacities may be allowed or not allowed. As suggested by the terms handgun and small arms, the distinction is extremely difficult in practice, so it was not made in the applicable legislation. The relevant difference now — independent of the size of a gun — is simply whether it is manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic.

We opponents of increasing the severity of the law point out that the definitions — small arms/handgun — cannot serve as the basis for a law. Furthermore, there are many small arms that can accept handgun magazines. From this fact arise juridical questions that simply cannot be answered. So someone can obtain the permit to acquire a pistol with a magazine that holds 18 cartridges and, later, also with permission, buy a rifle with a 10-shot magazine, which, however, can also accommodate the pistol’s magazine. This is a legal offense according to the gun control law, and would lead to confiscation. In other words, a gun legally acquired and legally owned can nonetheless be confiscated — blatantly arbitrary and beyond any constitutional legitimacy.

From Permitted to Permitted by Exception

5. In order that private individuals may continue to acquire handguns or small arms with magazines that have a capacity of more than respectively 10 or 20 cartridges, purchasers must have a so-called cantonal special exemption permit which would only be awarded if the purchaser is a collector or a regular member of a shooting club. The proof of this to be submitted after 5 and 10 years.

We opponents of increasing the severity of the law note that this would introduce a requirement of certification which has already been rejected several times by the people and by parliament. The Federal Council, furthermore, before the plebiscite on Schengen, promised that such a requirement of certification would not re-appear. At present, standard grounds for buying/owning a gun are: hunting, sport, gun collecting. An additional requirement to belong to a gun club is not a good solution for gun owners or gun clubs. At present, the status of gun-owner-with-special-exception-permit is like an honorific and is reserved for declared collectors — who, on their part, must endure annual, unannounced police scrutiny. The “permit-by-exception for everyone” undermines a functioning legal system. And the shooting requirement will necessitate much unnecessary transportation of guns and munitions by street and by rail. A bureaucratic monster will be created, which leads to the assumption that the Federation has massively underestimated its costs and economic consequences. Once more, trade is strait-jacketed by a federal decision.

Additional Registration is Happening Against and Despite the Will of the People and the Parliament

6. Anyone who now owns but has not registered legal guns, particularly the Swiss Assault Rife 1957 [2], must register them and accordingly apply for a permit by exception to continue to own them legally.
With this stipulation, the Federal Council is introducing an additional registration requirement which was rejected by the people in 2011 and 2013 and by the parliament in 2015. Clearly, the will of the people aad parliament is being ignored.


1.   European Economic Community
2.   The Swiss system of universal membership in the militia includes each member’s taking ownership of the issued assault rifle, so the law change would reach into practically every home in the country.

18 thoughts on “Gun Control Comes to Switzerland?

  1. Apart from the interventionist protocol which aims at disrupting the balance of power in Switzerland, EU cannot claim any example of policy success.

    The gun related homicide rates are near equal between Switzerland, France and Belgium , for example

    The total suicide rate of France and Belgium is higher

    even though by firearms alone is slightly lower.

    And for gun total ownership estimates legal and not, France is above Switzerland.

    So what exactly are they thinking, as EU is certainly not the example that Switzerland should be following, not on this or most other themes.

    The Swiss should recognise when attempts at corrupting their country are taking place.

  2. The Swiss should recognize that the neo-fascist globalists at the European Union want them disarmed for the same reason Brussels wanted gun control in the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Germany, Holland and other nations now being conquered by the Muslim and other diaspora of the third-world – namely, to make Switzerland an easier conquest.

    Gun-control laws ought to be victim-disarmament laws, for that is exactly their purpose. Gun control isn’t about saving lives; it is about power and the attempt by one group or faction of people to subjugate another. What possible reason could the EU have for wanting to disarm the Swiss, whose people have been rifleman for centuries?
    The only logical answer is that the EU – and its increasingly fascist leader, Jean-Claude Juncker – want control over Switzerland.

    Swiss citizens who are considering whether to give in to this madness are strongly urged to look at Sweden, Germany, France and the U.K. – and realize that Juncker and company have precisely the same outcome in mind for their nation.

    As long as free Swiss maintain their arms, they will be safe from such predations; the moment they surrender them, that safety will be gone.

    • You’re exactly correct.

      The US leftists hate guns because an armed populace tends to be self-reliant, and thus skeptical of the welfare state.

      Also, a primary tool of a government morphing consciously into tyranny is to use violent street gangs, ostensibly independent, but actually sanctioned implicitly by the government. This was illustrated almost painfully transparently in the Charlottesville protests, where the police arrested and charged the protesters who defended themselves against the violent street thugs associated with Antifa. Indeed, the government usually can’t be that blatantly supportive of violent street fighters.

      Anyway, to the point, armed citizens cannot have much hope in fighting a professional military, but can very well defend themselves against the anarchist groups used as a deniable front by the government. The coup has to be quite advanced before that government resorts to the blatant support shown by the Charlottesville and North Carolina governments. In a way, that’s scary: the leftists are seeing themselves as beyond accountability.

      I this this same phenomenon in the defiance of Asst Attorney General Rob Rosenstein to the threat of impeachment by Congress. He might indeed be impeached by a Republican-majority House, but would never have 2/3 of the Senate vote to convict him, knowing the Democrats would vote straight party line against. Thus, Rosenstein sees himself as a totally unaccountable bureaucrat.

      The EU is a totally toxic bureaucracy, and any country valuing its identity and people would do very, very well to withdraw totally, including withdrawing from any trade, legal or financial dealings with it.

      Switzerland is, sensibly, not an EU member, but adheres to its rules to maintain trade and financial benefits. The Swiss will be hoist on their own petard in trying to maintain their financial benefits. The EU bureaucrats will continue to create their Swiss accounts. In fact, Switzerland ought to toughen, not weaken, its banking secrecy laws. The EU is less likely to physically invade Switzerland if the bureaucrats hold secret accounts there. The price would be some criticism from the world courts, and facilitating the continued retirement comfort of some old Nazis long past senility at this point.

  3. The EU wouldn’t be planning an invasion of Switzerland aided and abetted by pro-European Swiss polticians? Disarming the Swiss people would be a good preliminary step if the trusting Swiss population would tolerate it.

    After all, they are creating their own army.

    • The Swiss women need to show the same fawning enchantment with Swiss soldiers that German women do with brown Muslim immigrants.

  4. I used to get a loan from the Swiss. But after seeing how liberal his society has become, I just do not care. I see them with the same eyes I see the Swedes.

    • They’re on the cusp. Perhaps, if you allow them to loan money to you, it will stiffen their backbones while there’s still time.

  5. “Does Switzerland need a chapter of the NRA?”

    Hell, no. Switzerland already has PROTELL, an organization that (unlike the NRA) doesn’t stoop to compromising away its owns members’ rights for political advantage.

    • Could you be a little more detailed on that accusation? As far as my impression, the NRA is pretty protective of second amendment rights. I would be interested in charges they act otherwise.

      • Ronald,

        The NRA has bragged about how much they have compromised in favor of gun control. If you can find an August 1968 copy of the American Rifleman, you will read their own admission that they helped write both the NFA in 1934 and the GCA in 1968. In fact they have helped write every major piece of gun control (including the Lautenberg Amendment), and many of the minor pieces as well.

        They claim they wanted to prove they can be “reasonable” and “willing to compromise”, and it is true – they are willing to compromise our gun rights away, as they have been doing almost since their inception. And when new gun control legislation is being considered, the NRA hits its members with mailings which rave about how we have to fight it, please send in your donations.

        They are working on compromising more rights away over bump-fire stocks, the legal age for purchasing firearms, etc. Do you realize they also send some of the money you pay in dues and extra donations to Democrats, even some who are ardent gun control supporters. When I questioned them about that, the guy I spoke to (in the upper tier of NRA administration) said, “That’s they way the game is played here in D.C.”

        • The paradox – one might say moral hazard – of an advocacy organization like the National Rifle Association, is that if they are too successful at the accomplishment of their mission, it hurts their funding and ultimately, calls into question the need for them to exist at all.

          Logically, since they are an organization whose purported mission is the perpetuation and strengthening of firearms-related rights, one might think that the NRA would call for not only opposing new legislation, but rolling back existing gun control laws, such as the Hughes Amendment, the GCA of 1968, or the National Firearms Act of 1934.

          However, the NRA hasn’t done any of this. Why? For the simple reason that their funding-raising and influence are most-successful and at their height when gun rights are endangered. Thus, the NRA has a perverse incentive for leftist legislators and their GOP allies to propose gun control measures – since these proposals give the NRA fuel for their fund-raising and increase their membership.

          In short, the NRA – contrary to its publicity and PR – isn’t always on the side of gun rights and firearm owners. The organization and its top people have become part of the very political establishment they claim to be fighting.

          On a per-dollar basis, GOA – Gun Owners of America – is a much better and more-effective organization.

        • Thanks for the article.

          I do have my doubts on the wisdom of completely unfettered gun ownership. Here is part of the article by the NRA describing those people whose access to guns would be restricted:

          ” It specifically forbids delivery of pistols to convicts, drug addicts, habitual drunkards, incompetents, and minors under the age of 18. Other salient provisions of the Act require a license to carry a pistol concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle; require the purchaser of a pistol to give information about himself which is submitted by the seller to local police authorities; specify a 48-hour time lapse between application for purchase and delivery.”

          Is this an unreasonable restriction of the second amendment, which specifically mentions “well-regulated militia”.

          We know that the Parkland shooter and many of the mass killers of recent years have been raving, raging nut-cases who openly declared for years they were going to kill someone. Does it make any sense, from a civilization or cultural sense, to allow these persons access to machine guns until they actually shoot up a crowd?

          My interpretation of the Second Amendment is that “well-regulated militia”, the militia being the people, means exactly what it says. The government (state governments, not the federal government) has the right to regulate ownership, but not the right to forbid ownership to the law-abiding citizen. This means to forbid the ownership of machine guns (again, the state government, not the federal), although not the ownership of rifles or handguns. It even means the right of the government to limit the capacity of magazines (state government, not federal).

          We know that the Parkland shooter committed acts which were felonies, had he not been given a pass because of his vaguely-hispanic name. Do you object to felons having their gun rights removed? The Constitution can’t cover every single detail. It is a remarkably sophisticated outline for a population of free men of intelligence and character to govern themselves in spite of regional and cultural differences. It even anticipates the need for state governments to pass some sort of gun regulation.

          • Given that they actively lobbied for this legislation, only the foolish would expect them an uncomplimentary description of it to appear on their own website. For a contrasting opinion, see here:

            “Your interpretation” of the Second Amendment notwithstanding, the Supreme Court put the final nail into the coffin of the “regulated militia” argument in Heller; you ought to read and understand it. They absolutely refuted what gun banning organizations have been claiming for years.

            And as far as “completely unfettered gun ownership” goes (have you been stealing Sarah Brady’s talking points?) here’s the bottom line — any person who can’t be trusted on the street with a gun can’t be trusted without a full-time custodian. Anybody who turns dangerous people out on the street and expects a piece of paper somewhere in their statehouse to keep them from acquiring a gun, should they want one, is an idiot. Streets were never meant to be “extension prisons,” and from all experience, they fail quite handily at it.

          • For Henry:

            I can sympathize with the temptation to read quickly and put a somewhat lengthy paragraph into a preconceived category. For example, you scanned my paragraph and put me into the category of “well-regulated militia means you restrict the use of firearms however you wish”. The Heller decision says the government (Washington D.C. in this case) cannot put such onerous conditions on storing a gun such that it is obviously impossible to use for defense.

            The argument that was decisively, and correctly, overruled was that the second amendment merely permitted states for form a militia, and had no effect on individuals. The second amendment quite obviously had the background assumption that the population as a whole was the resource for the militia, and thus the second amendment extended to each individual in the state and not simply the state government.

            But, and this is an important point, laws have to be taken for what they say, and not for what you think is a good idea. If the state (not federal) government considers the possession of a machine gun to be undesirable, the state may declare, because of the “well-regulated” clause that individuals may not possess machine guns; or that the states may require a reasonable waiting period for purchase of a firearm. Yes, this puts the term “reasonable” up for legal dispute. The Constitution is not a nit-picking recipe for threading needles. The Constitution is a remarkable outline for a free, intelligent, moral, somewhat diverse collection of different states to have an effective and limited government.

            Where is the point that “well-regulated” become “infringe upon”? Obviously, forbidding people to keep a gun in the house except disassembled, unloaded, and locked up, is an infringement. Requiring a two-week waiting period is not. I would argue that flatly forbidding people of good character from carrying pistols is an infringement.

            You make an additional argument that seems to say, once you let a person out of prison, he ought to be considered eligible for possession of a firearm. If he is not eligible, he should not be allowed out of prison, or should have been executed, as was the case in England before the 19th century.

            Well, again, without arguing the merits of this one way or another, all I’ll say is, the laws of the country do not consider a convicted felon to be in full possession of all the rights of a citizen, in or out of prison. And it’s certainly a reasonable interpretation of the second amendment that “well-regulated” includes the exclusion of convicted felons.

            Again, the law has to be read as written, rather than as you would like it to be.

          • “If the state (not federal) government considers the possession of a machine gun to be undesirable, the state may declare, because of the “well-regulated” clause that individuals may not possess machine guns…”

            Sorry, but you this is still absolutely wrong. The “scanning” issue cuts both ways. From the Heller decision:

            “The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

            The McDonald decision ruled that “the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause incorporates [upon the states] the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.”

            Furthermore, you insist on the fallacy that “well-regulated” means “controlled by a government.” It does not, and it never has. Again, from Heller: “the adjective ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training. See Johnson 1619 (“Regulate”: “To adjust by rule or method”);”

            All the crucial parts of your argument have been explicit refuted by Supreme Court holdings. They are simply not so.

            You write:
            “Well, again, without arguing the merits of this one way or another, all I’ll say is, the laws of the country do not consider a convicted felon to be in full possession of all the rights of a citizen, in or out of prison.”

            And yet, they did once. There is no constitutional barrier to it. With different laws, this could again be the situation. Laws are mutable, the constitution much less so. I make here an argument of political philosophy, and if enough people agree, laws will change.

    • Thank God it’s not “2nd Amendment Foundation”; there isn’t an intolerable act, for which Alan Gottlieb won’t shill from the get-go!

      • Gottlieb has some unfortunate ideas about the strategic effectiveness of capitulation — but the SAF deserves a lot of consideration for its generous funding of pro-second-amendment court battles, many of which (like Parker/Heller) were significant watersheds.

        Conversely, NRA’s behavior with respect to Heller (then Parker) was shameful. From Wikipedia (I witnessed these events in real-time; I use Wikipedia’s description because it is accurate and widely available):

        ‘Attorney Alan Gura, in a 2003 filing, used the term “sham litigation” to describe the NRA’s attempts to have Parker (aka Heller) consolidated with its own case challenging the D.C. law. Gura also stated that “the NRA was adamant about not wanting the Supreme Court to hear the case”. These concerns were based on NRA lawyers’ assessment that the justices at the time the case was filed might reach an unfavorable decision. Cato Institute senior fellow Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, has stated that the Parker plaintiffs “faced repeated attempts by the NRA to derail the litigation.” He also stated that “The N.R.A.’s interference in this process set us back and almost killed the case. It was a very acrimonious relationship.”’

        Of course, when the activism of other parties won the day, NRA was quick to stand up and solicit the applause.

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