Poll shows support for gun control waning

Pollsters expect a high turnout in the February vote Reuters

A proposal to restrict access to firearms appears to be losing support ahead of a nationwide vote on February 13.

This content was published on February 2, 2011 minutes

The margin between backers and opponents of the initiative has dwindled to two per cent, from 13 per cent, according to a survey commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

The latest survey was conducted across the country last week.

Supporters still hold the edge with 47 per cent, while eight per cent of respondents said they were undecided.

Political scientist Claude Longchamp – head of the gfs.bern research institute – points out that the race remains open because of last-minute developments in the campaign.

“No side has an absolute majority. But the no trend is most likely to gain further ground,” Longchamp said.

He adds that a majority of women respondents are still in favour of the anti-gun move, but female opponents are catching up.

“Women could be an additional decisive factor in the vote,” Longchamp said.

The poll found striking divisions between citizens in urban and rural areas as well as between the centre-left and the rightwing political grassroots.

The initiative, banning army-issue weapons at home and setting up a national gun register, was launched by an alliance of non-governmental groups in the wake of a series of high profile family killings and suicides.

The government, most political parties in parliament and the gun lobby have rejected the initiative saying it undermines a long-standing Swiss tradition.

Supporters, including the centre-left, the unions and doctors, argue stricter gun control will help improve safety and reduce the number of deaths by firearms.

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