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Swiss gun control: Projects suggest voters approve EU rules



  A visitor tries a CO2 air gun during the 45th edition of the Lucerne Arms Trade Fair, Switzerland on March 29, 2019 Copyright
AFP

Caption

Nearly 48% of Households in Switzerland own a pistol

The votes in Switzerland have supported a tightening of arms laws that are in line with EU rules, as evidenced by early projections.

The projections show that 67% of voters in Sunday's referendum supported harder restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. 1

9659007] Switzerland is not a member of the EU but risks being removed from the Schengen area outside the country if it had voted no.

Switzerland has a long tradition of gun ownership.

Nearly 48% of households own a gun and put it among the highest private property rights in Europe.

The EU urged the country to tighten its laws in accordance with the rules adopted by the block after the 2015 Paris terrorist attack.

The rules restrict semi-automatic and automatic rifles and make it easier to track weapons in national databases.

The original proposal of the EU derived criticism in Switzerland because it meant that banning the tradition of former soldiers continued their assault rifles.

Swiss officials negotiated concessions, but some weapons activists claimed that the rules were still in conflict with citizens' rights.

What does the projected result say?

Analysis of Imogen Foulke's BBC News, Geneva

Opponents of the new pistol laws described them as a dictation from Brussels, forced to non-EU member Switzerland against their will. The Swiss national identity, with its long tradition of gun ownership, was, they argued for, undermined.

But Sunday's nationwide referendum shows that voters are thinking differently: they have overwhelmingly supported the new arms laws according to their government council.

The Swiss would like to collaborate in EU attempts to prevent terrorist attacks and keep their often difficult relations with Brussels as smooth as possible.

Why is the EU concerned about Swiss arms law?

Following the attack in Paris in 2015, EU Schengen members issued new restrictions on automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

The rules required:

  • A ban on weapons that can quickly fire several rounds
  • Automatic and semi-automatic weapons to either be banned or severely restricted
  • Every owner of such a weapon and the weapon itself must be known to polish across Europe
  • All major weapon components must be clearly labeled and recorded electronically

The EU hoped the rules would help protect people across Europe and prevent the recurrence of the 2015 attacks.

Failure to adopt the amendments could have forced Switzerland to leave the Schengen zone and the Dublin system for processing asylum journeys uests.

What did Swiss officials say?

The Swiss government called on the voters to back the changes.

It said that gun enthusiasts would not notice the new rules while their adoption would allow Switzerland to retain its Schengen membership. [19659007] Officials said the membership of the zone had been beneficial to the economy and the fight against crime.


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