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Gun owners give weapons up for scrap

Swiss gun owners have handed in nearly 15,000 weapons this year since a revised law obliged owners to declare them or give them up.

Lucerne was the canton which handed in the most: 3,483 weapons and 700 kilograms of ammunition. In canton Jura only 20 weapons were surrendered.

The authorities were sometimes surprised by what they received. In Basel, several guns were loaded and ready to go off when handed in. Someone in Schaffhausen brought in a 1916 shell.

Three rare carbines handed over in canton Vaud will go on show in the military history museum in Morges. However, the vast majority of the guns received have been destroyed.

Most of the weapons originally came from the Swiss army, and have been hanging around people's homes for years, a police spokesman in Vaud told the Swiss News Agency.

The law came into force in December 2008, and since then several cantons have held special days to encourage citizens to hand in their weapons.

Those wishing to keep them have until the end of December to register ownership with the authorities.

Since there is no central register of weapons, it is not known how many are in private hands. Estimates vary from between one and three million.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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