The New American – The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and other mass shooting in the past few years have prompted the usual outcries for more gun control from those who choose to disregard the Second Amendment. Among those clamoring for more restrictions on gun ownership were thousands of students who were manipulated into attending the “March for Our Lives” demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other cities on March 24. Some observers have said that these demonstrations reminded them of National Socialist Adolf Hitler’s “Youth Parades,” a favorite propaganda gimmick of anti-gun Nazis.
Fortunately, the calls for more gun control have also inspired several reports in the media noting that Switzerland, despite having one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, has an overall murder rate near zero. Among these was a March 24 report in Business Insider by science reporter Hilary Brueck. In her report, Brueck noted that Switzerland hasn’t had a mass shooting since 2001, when a man attacked the local parliament in Zug (the capital of the Swiss canton of the same name), killing 14 people and then himself.
The report went on to state that Switzerland, a nation of 8.3 million people, has about two million privately owned guns. Despite this large number of guns in private hands, the country had only 47 homicides in which firearms were used in 2016 and the country’s overall murder rate is near zero.
Business Insider explored some of the cultural differences between the United States and Switzerland and, in particular, the role that firearms ownership and training plays in Swiss society. Brueck cited some of the traditional gun-related events that are popular in Switzerland. One such event is Knabenschiessen, a traditional target shooting competition in Zürich every September. The festival has officially been held since 1889, but unofficially dates back to the 17th century and was first mentioned in a document in 1656. The competition is open to 13- to 17-year-olds who either reside or are enrolled in a school in the canton of Zürich. It was originally open only to boys, but girls have been eligible to enter since 1991.
More significantly, Business Insider notes that Switzerland’s history of having an armed citizenry has helped keep the Alpine country neutral for more than 200 years. Switzerland hasn’t taken part in any international armed conflicts since 1815.
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