Almost 5,000 army guns go AWOL

Between 1969 and 2009 a total of 4,674 military service weapons went missing – the vast majority stolen, the rest lost or unaccounted for for some other reason.

This content was published on January 6, 2011 - 14:50 and agencies

The situation is improving, however, according to the defence ministry. In 2008, the army registered 49 missing weapons; in 2009, the number was 26.

According to a report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, a particularly high number of weapons went missing between 1995 and 2004, when an above-average number of soldiers were dismissed.

Army spokesman Christoph Brunner said in most cases the missing weapons ended up in a civilian environment.

All able-bodied Swiss men must do military service and in most cases must keep their army rifle at home. This has to be kept in a burglar-proof location and any theft must be reported immediately, but missing weapons are usually only reported when the soldier has to go on exercise or when he leaves the army and can’t find his gun.

On February 13 the Swiss go to the polls to vote on an initiative seeking to set up a national arms register and ban army-issue firearms from private households. It also aims to tighten regulations for licensed gun holders in an effort to fight possible abuse.

Articles in this story

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know:

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?