Gun Ownership in Switzerland, Condensed

   08.04.14

Gun Ownership in Switzerland, Condensed

Once upon a time, I read an anecdote that may or may not be true. Prior to World War 2, a German visited Switzerland to observe its military. The officer idly asked a Swiss man, “What do you think would happen if Germany invaded Switzerland?” The Swiss reply was, “Every Swiss man would fire once, and the battle would be over.”

Myths and legends about guns in Switzerland are many, and a recent post on reddit looks to clear up misunderstandings about Swiss gun ownership. Many folks have the wrong idea about Swiss guns, i.e. that gun ownership in Switzerland is only due to militia service or that Swiss citizens can’t own ammo due to a 2007 law that stopped government ammo distribution. Still others think Swiss folks tote their guns to the grocery store on a daily basis. This post by Zorthianator strives to provide us with correct info.

Here are some of the high points:

  • Militia gun ownership does equate with civilian gun ownership; civilians don’t have to follow militia rules.
  • Swiss citizens can own all the ammo they want (but must submit to a background check to buy it).
  • After serving in the Swiss military, one can opt to continue possessing the gun, or not. They don’t have to keep the gun, and it’s not free.
  • Former militia guns are converted to semi-auto-only before they go to citizens.
  • About half the guns in Switzerland are former militia guns (K31s, K11s, Stgw 57, P210, P220, Stgw 90, etc).
  • Open carry is not common in Switzerland. Guns may only be taken straight to the range and back, not to the supermarket.
  • A background check and/or permit is necessary to own any gun.
  • Citizens need a police-issued permit to own semi-automatic guns.
  • Most Swiss guns are not owned or used for self defense.
  • Most Swiss guns are sporting arms for hunting and target shooting and are not widely considered to be tools to fight tyranny.
  • It is very difficult to get a concealed carry license.
  • There is no limit on the number of guns you can own.
  • The Swiss have no “assault weapons” ban, and if you go through the proper procedure you can legally own fully automatic guns, short-barreled rifles, silencers, and the like.
  • Immigrants are generally allowed to own guns

It’s pretty interesting; check out the reddit post if you’re interested in learning more.

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