Ex army-officers back anti-gun move

A group of former army officers has come out in favour of an initiative restricting access to firearms that will come to a nationwide vote on February 13.

This content was published on January 18, 2011 minutes and agencies

The former majors and lieutenant-colonels told a news conference that the proposal did not undermine the Swiss militia army but helped reduce the risk of gun violence and gun thefts.

The group rejected allegations that it wants to abolish the army. Members say they represented a “considerable number of officers and former officers”, but refused to mention a figure.

The group, one of more than 70 organisations backing the initiative, argues that it no longer makes sense to store army-issue guns at home to defend Switzerland against a military invasion.

Opponents of the initiative, including most political parties, the government, the armed forces and the gun lobby, say it endangers cherished Swiss values and weakened Switzerland’s defence.

The initiative was launched in the wake of an attack by a lone gunman against a cantonal parliament in 2001 and a number of high-profile family killings.

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