Peaceful Swiss keep their guns

Peaceful Swiss keep their guns

February 21st, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

When you think of the nation of Switzerland, you may think of its Alpine peaks, its high-quality watches or its renowned chocolate. You may also think of the peaceful nature of its people. Not only have the Swiss long stayed out of the wars that raged around them, but the rate of violent crime is low.

One other thing for which Switzerland is famous is its high rate of private gun ownership. By one estimate, there are 46 guns for every 100 people in Switzerland, according to Reuters news service.

But the rate of murder involving guns is low in Switzerland. In 2009, for instance, only one murder per 300,000 people was committed with a gun.

That's a pretty strong indication that gun rights are not the "cause" of violent crime. In fact, private gun ownership heads off many violent crimes, because criminals cannot be sure which of their potential victims might be armed.

It's not surprising, therefore, that the peaceful Swiss recently voted strongly against tight gun-control proposals. That makes sense. Law-abiding Swiss will retain their broad right to possess firearms, rather than leave guns mainly in the hands of criminals who do not mind breaking gun-control laws.

Not everyone desires to have a gun. Nor is everyone competent or responsible enough to own a firearm. But whether in Switzerland or the United States, responsible, legal gun ownership is not the cause of violent crime.