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Cabinet turns down ban on arms at home

The Swiss government has rejected a people’s initiative that aims to ban more than one million military weapons from Swiss households.

It said on Wednesday that current legislation on weapons offered enough protection against abuse and that it was not going to put forward a counter-proposal to the initiative.

Launched in February by the centre-left Social Democratic Party and a number of pacifist organisations, the initiative calls for army weapons to remain in barracks and for a national gun register to be created. It also wants to ban private individuals from buying or owning particularly dangerous guns such as automatic weapons and pump-action shotguns.

The government noted that several prevention measures had been put in place.

From January 1, 2010, soldiers in Switzerland’s militia army can deposit their weapon at a local army base. They will also have to present a permit if they want to keep their weapon after compulsory military service.

The issue has been a political hot potato in Switzerland after a number of tragedies involving army weapons.

These have included the 2001 killings of 14 people in the cantonal parliament of Zug and the murder of Swiss skier Corinne Rey-Bellet by her husband in April 2006. and agencies