Number of gun deaths goes down in Switzerland

Fewer people have died of gunshot wounds in Switzerland in recent years.

This content was published on December 28, 2010 - 12:19 and agencies

While 291 fell victim to a bullet in 2007, the figure was 259 in 2008, the Federal Statistics Office announced on Tuesday.

In both years, most of those deaths were suicides: 264 in 2007, and 239 the following year.

Most of 2008’s victims were male; 13 per cent were female. In 2007, women accounted for 19 per cent of victims.

As the office pointed out, the number of gun deaths has sunk by nearly 50 per cent in the past decade. In 1998, there were 466 victims – of which 413 were suicides.

On February 13, Swiss voters will have their say on an initiative to ban Swiss soldiers from keeping their military-issue guns at home. Proponents argue that it is dangerous to have weapons stored in private homes as opposed to arsenals.

Because of the initiative, the statistics office has also provided an analysis of crimes involving a bullet.

Of the 236 homicides and attempted homicides reported by police in 2009, 55 were committed by gun. Among those 55, 24 of the victims actually died.

Meanwhile, there were 524 cases of aggravated assault in 2009, 11 by bullet. Of the 3,500 robbery offences, 416 involved a gun.

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