A story from USA Today says people in Switzerland, recognized as a bastion of tranquility, neutrality, and peace, is doing a brisk gun business.
The increased demand for firearms in Switzerland has been triggered by a growing fear among the public that terrorists could attack their country at any moment, the story says.
Nations around Europe are tightening their already strict gun laws after a series of terror attacks in several countries since 2015. The Swiss are instead turning to firearms for protection, as about half of America is doing as well.
The story says gun sales in some parts of the country are up nearly 50 percent after last year’s attacks in Paris and the March bombings in Brussels. Gun sales have continued to grow after more recent attacks in France and Germany.
In one Swiss gun shop, the owner told USA Today “the demand for pistols, revolvers, and pump-action guns rose by 30 percent to 50 percent after this month’s attacks in Nice and Munich.”
Thought you may not have known it, Switzerland has long been one of the world’s most heavily armed countries, trailing just being the per capita gun numbers of the United States and Yemen, the story says.
About 3.4 million military and private firearms are estimated by the United Nations to be in circulation in the country of only 8.3 million people. And the nation’s crime rate is relatively low, about 7.7 firearm homicides a year per 1 million people.
“Although guns continue to stir heated debate in the United States and much of Europe, the issue in Switzerland is far less contentious. That’s because the Swiss have a deeply ingrained gun culture, rooted in a sense of civic responsibility, patriotic duty and national identity.”
“Military service is compulsory for all men, and weapons are kept at home because of the long-held belief that enemies could invade tiny Switzerland quickly. So every soldier had to be able to fight his way to his regiment’s assembly point.”
“Historians believe Germany didn’t invade Switzerland during World War II because it knew every Swiss man was armed and trained to shoot.”
The Swiss do have gun regulations, including compulsory background checks and permits, but semi-automatic long guns used for hunting are exempt from this requirement, and no license is needed for firearms transactions between individuals.
For the full story from USA Today, go here. For tips on formulating a plan in the event of a terrorist attack, and what you should know about carrying a gun to protect yourself if one occurs, go here.