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Swiss Referendum on Firearms
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Thread: Swiss Referendum on Firearms

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Pennsylvania, USA

    Default Swiss Referendum on Firearms

    I heard on the BBC today that the people of Switzerland voted to keep the tradition of keeping Army weapons in their homes. I applaud this outcome. This Swiss law puts to bed the idea that more guns equals more crime. Despite fully automatic fireams in the peoples' home, the crime rate in Switzerland is very low. Bravo to the Swiss!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Up in the land of the Yoopers.

    Default Re: Swiss Referendum on Firearms

    It also speaks to the integrity, and character of the Swiss people, and their personal responsibility as Citizens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Swiss Referendum on Firearms

    I used to live in Switzerland for abt 5 years,. worked, drinks and yes,. occassionally problems at the local bars,. despite of brawl i had with the locals,. whatever the outcome,. they re not seduced to use the weapons in their cabinet to seek some scores.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Poncarale (BS) - ITALY

    Default Re: Swiss Referendum on Firearms

    I completely agree with you, Laconia. It's a good outcome for the Swiss tradition as well as other European Countries, like the one where i live, where most part of the people and many politicians believe that " more guns equals more crime". Well done!!! Best regards.
    Kill one man, terrify a thousand

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Swiss Referendum on Firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Laconia View Post
    This Swiss law puts to bed the idea that more guns equals more crime.
    No, it doesn't.

    Because there is no comparison between Switzerland's unique position where those holding the guns referred to in the article are soldiers subject to military discipline if they misuse their weapons and any other country where citizens and sundry others who happen to be in the country can acquire, legally or illegally, and use weapons free of the military controls placed upon Swiss citizen / soldiers.

    At the other extreme we have the so-called rebels and tribal or private armies in parts of Africa where the possession of guns by undisciplined thugs not subject to any overriding control allows them to engage in crimes against humanity on a scale beyond the comprehension of anyone in Switzerland or other European or similar societies. Denying them guns would push them back to the Mau Mau period where machetes were used with equal brutality but without the power in force and numbers of casualties which possession of firearms allows.

    Would Somali pirates have any impact if they were reduced to trying to capture ships and take hostages with machetes etc? They’d be blown off the boarding ladders, if they got that far, by the ship’s hoses with no risk to the crew manning the hoses, unlike crews facing pirates armed with firearms.

    It is as simplistic to claim that access to guns has no bearing on gun crime as it is to claim that gun control will stop gun crimes.

    The essential problem is not that guns are available to people but whether they are available to people who shouldn’t have them.

    At a state, national and international level it would make a lot more sense to emulate the Swiss example, where you don’t get the weapon until you’ve been properly trained as a soldier or otherwise to a similar level and where you’re subject to military or police discipline by a properly constituted and responsible authority if you misuse it than to allow anyone who wants a gun to have it.

    It would also make a lot more sense to make it a serious crime with a mandatory penalty to be in possession of a firearm without the necessary license, to the extent that anyone, criminal or not, would not want to take the risk. But if they did and were caught, they'd be off the streets and no risk to the community for a long time. And not inclined to repeat the offence when they came out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laconia View Post
    Despite fully automatic fireams in the peoples' home, the crime rate in Switzerland is very low.
    The firearm crime rate in Switzerland might be low, but the country is built on profiting from the proceeds of crime at all levels. But that's a different topic.

    The firearm suicide rate in Switzerland is actually abnormally high by European standards, which might lend support to the view that access to means increases the likelihood of suicide attempts succeeding.

    Switzerland’s troubling record of suicide

    Here’s one record the Swiss may not be so enthusiastic about holding: more suicides are committed here using guns per capita than anywhere else in Europe.

    The issues of gun suicide and Switzerland’s high rate of weapon ownership came under the spotlight again in January. The police chief overseeing security at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos turned his service revolver against himself a day before the event began.

    His case is hardly unique. From 1996 to 2005, 3,410 suicides, or between 24 and 28 per cent of all those in Switzerland, were committed using firearms.

    That percentage trails the United States, it is true, where 57 per cent of suicides involve a gun. But few European countries come anywhere near Switzerland.

    And of other English-speaking countries, the highest rate is in Canada, where 19 per cent of suicides were by firearm in 2000. In England and Wales the figure stands at 2.8 per cent, and in Scotland at 1.8 per cent.

    Guns are highly efficient: experts say that 90 per cent of suicide attempts involving firearms are successful.


    Some 95 per cent of gun suicides in Switzerland are committed by men, and of all men that kill themselves, about one in three use this method.

    Women are more likely to choose less certain methods – such as poisoning, or using a sharp implement – while men choose the more lethal courses of action.

    Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross, sociologist and senior lecturer at Zurich University Hospital’s psychiatric clinic, said that knowing how to use the particular method is one reason for the difference in choice.

    “Swiss data shows that women do not handle weapons nearly as well as men do. Therefore they don’t use weapons to commit suicide either,” he told swissinfo.ch.

    Ajdacic-Gross was one of the authors of a Zurich University study published in 2006 which found a correlation between the availability of weapons and the number of suicides by firearm. The study estimated that firearms were kept in 37.5 per cent of Swiss households.

    Another study published in 2007 by the Geneva-based non-governmental organisation Small Arms Survey estimated that there were 3.4 million firearms in private households across the country.

    The defence and sport ministry, on the other hand, the same year put the figure at 2.2 million. Of this number 535,000 were army weapons, either in the possession of current or retired soldiers, or hired out to gun clubs.

    Ajdacic-Gross says about 40 per cent of gun suicides use army-issue weapons, while the remainder are committed with types that can be legally purchased in gun shops.


    “In Switzerland, firearms are like pesticides in developing countries. They are accessible,” Ajdacic-Gross explained. “Many suicides are impulsive. In other words, the decision is taken very quickly.”

    At such moments, availability – or a lack of it – is crucial. “If somebody has to make a lot of effort to find something that will kill them, that’s a strong preventative factor.”

    The Zurich University study found that suicides by firearm dropped sharply in countries – including Britain, Canada and Australia - where gun control legislation reduced the number of weapons kept at home. Could the same thing work in Switzerland? Or would people simply resort to other methods?

    “We know that people turn to alternatives that are similar,” Ajdacic-Gross said. “If someone thinks of committing suicide using drugs, they are unlikely to resort to a firearm as an option.”

    But a suicide who for some reason is prevented from using a gun, may decide instead to hang themselves, which is also a highly efficient method.

    Ajdacic-Gross says that between half and two-thirds of people who are unable to access their method of choice, will fall back on another.

    “Preventative measures certainly cannot prevent all suicides, but a large number,” he said.
    A rational army would run away.

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