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Giving up guns Swiss arms surrender events yield thousands of weapons

Switzerland regularly holds events where residents can safely surrender their weapons.

(Keystone)

Swiss police collected several hundred weapons, rounds of ammunition and explosives at voluntary arms surrender events in locations across the country. 

In all, people in the Swiss cantons of Solothurn, Thurgau and Zurich surrendered hundreds of firearms – most of which were old rifles - and thousands of rounds of ammunition in addition to 40 knives, daggers and bayonets, two flare pistols and a training grenade. Police also collected 500 grammes of explosives, 200 detonators, and 40 pyrotechnic items. 

The weapons will now be destroyed in a controlled environment, according to police. 

Gun violence The Swiss and their guns

Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world because of its militia army. The defence ministry estimates that some two million guns are in private hands in a population of eight million. Despite the fact that army-issue guns are involved in around 300 deaths per year, voters in recent years have rejected tighter controls.

Swiss law enforcement officials regularly hold such arms surrender events to allow residents to safely dispose of weapons. The country has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, due in large part to its militia army. In the past, officials have struggled to recoup missing guns issued by the army, and lack of regulation of those weapons was a flash point in the country’s debate over gun control. 

However, in the past decade, the number of military-issued weapons kept in homes by members of the army has declined dramatically from nearly 32,000 in 2004 to about 2,200 in 2015.


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