Like many in the United States who defend loose gun laws, more and more Swiss are deciding guns will make them safer. Martin Boess, Director of the Swiss centre for crime prevention, disagrees.
Compared to 2014, requests for permits to buy guns went up an average of 20% across 12 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons in 2015. The picturesque canton of Vaud, which borders Lake Geneva saw the greatest increase with the number jumping from 2,427 to 4,200, a 73% increase. Pierre-Olivier Gaudard, head of crime prevention at Vaud police, puts this down to an increased fear of burglary. Gun venders share this view. One said that some install new windows and doors or an alarm system. Others go further and buy a hand gun.
This trend concerns Martin Boess, Director of the Swiss centre for crime prevention. He thinks that if more guns are in circulation, it’s the public that is more at risk. The United States shows this. Where there are more guns there are more accidents.
An estimated two million guns are now owned by the Swiss public. Since 12 December 2008, all new gun purchases must be registered. There is however, no requirement to register guns in circulation prior to this date. Despite this, in September 2015, Switzerland’s parliament rejected a proposal to create a centralised gun register. Instead it limited improvements to better exchange of information between authorities.
Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.