Authorities reopen army-issue gun debate

The army says it wants to work more closely with the cantonal authorities to prevent shootings with army-issue guns.

This content was published on November 13, 2011 and agencies

A spokesman told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper that army chief, André Blattmann, wants the cantonal justice departments to inform the army of any criminal investigations involving men still on active service.

Due to the set-up of Switzerland’s militia army, men on active service are allowed to keep their army-issue firearms at home.

Currently, Swiss law does not allow the justice authorities to reveal details of investigations. Information can only be handed over to the army, for example, once a person has been sentenced.

Karin Keller-Sutter, president of the cantonal conference of police directors, said the army and cantons would set up a working group to see how the flow of information could be improved.

Keller-Sutter said the aim was to find ways “to inform the army of potentially dangerous soldiers before they are sentenced”.

In February, voters threw out an initiative to ban the keeping of army-issue guns at home. However, the debate was given new impetus on November 4 when a young man shot his girlfriend dead with his army rifle.

The man already had a police record for petty crimes and in 2008 received a suspended sentence for issuing threats and damaging property.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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