In mid-February, Swiss voters rejected stricter gun controls.
No one knows how many guns the Swiss own. There’s no national registration system, yet the Swiss do not suffer a high crime rate, like America does.
But the country does have the highest gun suicide rate in Europe.
The stranger issue, though — and in contrast to most countries around the world — is the number of semi-automatic rifles belonging to the army that soldiers and ex-soldiers store at home. It’s part of the Swiss defense plan. The army can quickly rise up in case of an attack.
The gun control proposal would have required solders’ firearms to be locked up in armories. This, it was argued, was to help reduce suicide rates . . . though a few high-profile shootings also gave impetus to the gun control measure. During the debate much was made of the country’s long history of firearm expertise and unique military heritage.
The measure was defeated in 20 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, with over 56 percent of voters rejecting it, nationwide.
Does the Swiss system seem strange?
It’s certainly different.
Switzerland still uses conscripts, while the U.S. rightly recruits an all-volunteer military. But their method of decentralized governance, borrowed more than 150 years ago from us and today far more decentralized than ours, is wise not only for the firepower of national defense, but for more bang for the buck in all areas of government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.