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Gun suicides among young worst in Switzerland

The percentage of young people who use a gun to kill themselves is higher in Switzerland than any other European country, according to an international survey.

This content was published on August 3, 2008 - 10:59

This is directly connected to liberal Swiss gun laws and the easy availability of weapons, said researchers from the European Alliance Against Depression, whose study is published in the current edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Almost half (43.6 per cent) of suicides in Switzerland committed by 15- to 24-year-old men involve guns. This compares with 28 per cent in Finland and 19.1 per cent in France, which were second and third. In neighbouring Germany, the figure was only five per cent.

The researchers examined 15,000 suicides in 15 countries.

All able-bodied Swiss men aged 20-30 are conscripted for about three months and issued with a rifle. After initial training, they are required to do three or four weeks of army service a year until they have served a total of 260 days or reached the age of 34. Throughout this time they keep their rifles and 50 rounds of ammunition at home.

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