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Way to go Switzerland and Protell!

Swiss diehards defy rifle reform

Swiss diehards defy rifle reform

Hugo Miller, Bloomberg Published 10:51 am, Tuesday, May 8, 2018

[Picture embedded in actual article]
A rack of Sig Sauer rifles sit on display at the company's booth during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Dallas on May 5.

Swiss gun-rights activists, whose logo is a muscular William Tell clutching a crossbow, are taking aim at European Union firearm reform, just as Donald Trump says armed Parisians could have stopped terror attacks in 2015.

Seven hundred years after Switzerland's defiant hero was forced by Habsburg oppressors to shoot an apple off his son's head, a gun-advocacy group plans to trigger a referendum to block the implementation of tighter EU restrictions on semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15 assault rifle used by Nikolas Cruz in February to kill 17 classmates at his Florida high school. Protell and its supporters in the nationalist Swiss People's Party bridle at Brussels laying down laws they say are unnecessary in Switzerland, where gun crime is rare.

Backers of the EU proposal say that ignores concessions to Switzerland's tradition of military service. Snubbing the EU also risks Swiss membership of Schengen, according to Pierre-Alain Fridez, councillor with the Social Democratic Party. Being ejected from Schengen - which allows passport-free movement for more than 400 million people across 26 European countries - would cost the Swiss economy as much as 10.7 billion francs ($10.8 billion) a year, according to official estimates.

"We'd be out of Schengen," said Fridez. "We'd lose the freedom of movement."

Switzerland is legally obliged to implement the directive and a failure to do so "would drive a wedge between the EU and Switzerland and could lead to sanction measures," said Bodil Valero, a member of European Parliament who advised on the new law.

The law is aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in which al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists killed 12 people using weapons that hadn't been correctly deactivated and were then legally repurchased, said Valero.

"If one country at the heart of Europe refuses to follow the rules, it could undermine the purpose and effect of these new rules," she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the terror attacks 10 months later that killed 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall and on the streets of Paris could have been stopped if Parisians had been armed. The comments by Trump at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting were labeled "shameful" by former French President Francois Hollande.

The Swiss variant of the law "upholds Switzerland's shooting tradition," while improving "the traceability of arms ownership," said Thomas Dayer, a spokesman for the Federal Police, which will oversee implementation of the new regulations.

The Swiss government supports the tougher EU rules, highlighting concessions that mean ex-soldiers can still get permits to own and use their semi-automatic rifles, which are already converted to eliminate rapid-fire shooting.

Gun-rights activists Protell said the new directive will make it more expensive and complicated to retain an army issue semi-automatic rifle, which is insulting for those who have served their country, according to General Secretary Robin Udry.

"It would mean that the day you leave the army, you're no longer trusted with your SIG 550 and treated like a potential terrorist or criminal," he said, referring to the semi-automatic assault rifle issued to Swiss army conscripts.

Protell, based in the capital Bern, is ready to gather the 50,000 signatures required to trigger a referendum should the EU proposal become law. The issue will be debated next month in Parliament. Udry points to a 50 percent increase in Protell's membership to 12,500 over the past eight months as evidence of public concern.

"It's a clear sign people don't want their rights taken away and are ready to fight," said Udry, a former chief of police training for the canton of Valais, who is also a major in the Swiss Army reserves. "In Switzerland, these kind of guns are all very well-controlled, so why should we now accept legislation from the EU when we don't have this problem?"

David Zuberbuehler, a councillor in the Swiss People's Party, the largest in the lower house of Parliament, dismissed the EU directive as "more bureaucracy for less security."

In February 2014, the far-right party sponsored a referendum against mass immigration, which passed with a 50.3 percent majority. With that vote threatening economically vital Swiss-EU treaties, Parliament sidestepped implementing any substantive measures to block migration.

With guns an emotive issue in Switzerland, another crisis with Brussels looms. In 2011, Swiss voters rejected a plan requiring the registration of all firearms as well as a motion to change the nation's tradition of letting citizens keep army-issue weapons at home.

While it's commonplace to see off-duty conscripts passing through the country's main train stations with SIG rifles strapped to their duffel bags, gun massacres in Switzerland are rare. The last mass shooting was in 2001 when a man armed with a Swiss Army SIG assault rifle killed 14 people in Zug's parliament building. Two Swiss shootings in two months in 2013 also claimed seven lives.

Switzerland has at least one gun for every four people, but the country's gun homicide rate is about a 15th of that in the U.S., according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

Should opinion polls show the gun activists gaining traction, then backers of the EU proposals are likely to highlight the risks of leaving Schengen, according to Rene Schwok, director of the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva. If Protell wins, the Swiss government is likely to activate a plan B, he said.

"The Federal Council and the parliaments will ultimately not automatically abandon Schengen just because of this vote," said Schwok. "They will try to negotiate an arrangement with Brussels."

- With assistance from Bloomberg's Dylan Griffiths.
 
Posts: 3859 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Swiss should leave the EU entirely. Their financial gains would likely exceed the imaginary loss projected, as they would be the sole place of freedom on continental Europe. Plus, they keep their rights and the ability to remain a sovereign people.
 
Posts: 1644 | Location: Escaped Upstate NY for Texas | Registered: April 08, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Clear example of democracy at its worst....

If enough idiots agree (vote) you are an idiot, does that make you one?
 
Posts: 326 | Location: Greenville, SC | Registered: January 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fuck the EU thugs.


You MATTER. Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared. Then you ENERGY.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.
-- Robert Frost
 
Posts: 6932 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Slayer of Agapanthus


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The Swiss are being hosed by the EU. Get out now.


"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye". The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, pilot and author, lost on mission, July 1944, Med Theatre.
 
Posts: 4453 | Location: Central Texas | Registered: September 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We're not a member of the European Union.

We did sign the Schengen treaty though, since we are closely tied to the other european countries. If we can't do trade with them, we're done in a very short time.

One thing the Schengen treaty affects are the "weapons law", which now puts us in a difficult place.

There's a huge discussion about this over here. Right now it's not even clear if we would be kicked out of Schengen if we didn't adopt the new laws. The politicians of course are already pissing their pants.


The citizen watches the watchman, not the taxpayer.
 
Posts: 652 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would hope the Swiss will tell the EU bureaucrats to go pound sand.

Most of the European countries have only kept their independence with entangling alliances. (And often, even that hasn't worked.) The Swiss have kept their independence, without alliances, by means of their readiness policies. Such as, given their relatively small manpower pool, being able to rapidly assemble considerable defensive military force with all the military-trained civilians being ready to go.

quote:
"It would mean that the day you leave the army, you're no longer trusted with your SIG 550 and treated like a potential terrorist or criminal," he said, referring to the semi-automatic assault rifle issued to Swiss army conscripts.

Semi-automatic? I thought the 550 was the real deal.
 
Posts: 12025 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: October 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by joel9507:
I would hope the Swiss will tell the EU bureaucrats to go pound sand.

Most of the European countries have only kept their independence with entangling alliances. (And often, even that hasn't worked.) The Swiss have kept their independence, without alliances, by means of their readiness policies. Such as, given their relatively small manpower pool, being able to rapidly assemble considerable defensive military force with all the military-trained civilians being ready to go.

quote:
"It would mean that the day you leave the army, you're no longer trusted with your SIG 550 and treated like a potential terrorist or criminal," he said, referring to the semi-automatic assault rifle issued to Swiss army conscripts.

Semi-automatic? I thought the 550 was the real deal.


It's my understanding that once a Swiss soldier completes their military service obligation they have the option of buying their service rifle however it must go through a factory conversion process to allow only semi-automatic fire.
 
Posts: 3859 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Kampfhamster:
We're not a member of the European Union.

We did sign the Schengen treaty though, since we are closely tied to the other european countries. If we can't do trade with them, we're done in a very short time.

One thing the Schengen treaty affects are the "weapons law", which now puts us in a difficult place.

There's a huge discussion about this over here. Right now it's not even clear if we would be kicked out of Schengen if we didn't adopt the new laws. The politicians of course are already pissing their pants.


kampfhamster I was hoping that one of our Swiss members would give us some feedback on this topic so thanks for doing so!

The article doesn't give much in the way of detail regarding what exactly the EU proposed law on semi-automatic rifles would regulate...would you fill us in?

The article also mentions that the law has made concessions for the Swiss soldiers and their tradition of military service. What sort of concessions are proposed?

I can certainly understand the desire for Europeans to travel freely throughout Europe and I'm certain that Schengen facilitates that...it would be roughly the same as U.S. citizens travelling through the various lower 48 states without having to show any form of I.D.

But I'm curious, in a scenario in which the Swiss decided not to implement this EU law and if they did lose Schengen wouldn't the worst that would happen be that those entering or departing Switzerland be required to show a passport? Would that really present that much of a difficulty...especially considering that was the process prior to the EU?
 
Posts: 3859 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
SIGSauer
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quote:
I can certainly understand the desire for Europeans to travel freely throughout Europe and I'm certain that Schengen facilitates that...it would be roughly the same as U.S. citizens travelling through the various lower 48 states without having to show any form of I.D.

No it’s not. While you are travelling in your country, the USA, travelling in Schengen means open borders with independent countries. It would mean free travelling from Canada to Mexico without border control. Schengen is on only about free travelling. It means also the opportunity to work in foreing Schengen countries without a working permit of the hosting country and studying in a country of your choice. It’ an agreement about the cooperation in matters of internal security. Gun control is such a matter and Switzerland has to participate due to its agreement. It’s not a cherry picking agreement. It’s either all or nothing. This agreement was fundamental alternative to avoid an EU membership, because Switzerland is an exporting country without natural resources. Human resources in Switzerland is to small to provide enough manpower so we rely on immigrants. 50% of all job provided in Switzerland are held by foreigners. If Switzerland would revoke the Schengen because of the guns, those foreigners had to leave and we would loose a lot of know how, the capital of Switzerland would be lost. We would have to suck on the guns in the future.
The SIG 550 is a Swiss Army gun. Defense is not a matter of the Schengen treaty is excluded for this reason. Holding the gun at home after the service is. So this is what the debate in Switzerland is all about, not the guns that have been purchased previously under the Swiss gun law nor the guns. So the big chest humping fuck you seems to sound freedom loving, but the consequences for the country could be fatal if the over all picture is lost over a gun. So, it's not the classic pro gun anti gun debate. It's either future or back to pre war standards. Swiss people have the chance to decide about the future of the country. This is the democratic principle in Switzerland the country is based on for 800 years.
 
Posts: 3435 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: January 24, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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that's the big question: would they really kick us out of Schengen over this? It's pretty unclear.


The citizen watches the watchman, not the taxpayer.
 
Posts: 652 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
quote:
Originally posted by Kampfhamster:
We're not a member of the European Union.

We did sign the Schengen treaty though, since we are closely tied to the other european countries. If we can't do trade with them, we're done in a very short time.

One thing the Schengen treaty affects are the "weapons law", which now puts us in a difficult place.

There's a huge discussion about this over here. Right now it's not even clear if we would be kicked out of Schengen if we didn't adopt the new laws. The politicians of course are already pissing their pants.


kampfhamster I was hoping that one of our Swiss members would give us some feedback on this topic so thanks for doing so!

The article doesn't give much in the way of detail regarding what exactly the EU proposed law on semi-automatic rifles would regulate...would you fill us in?


They want to change the category of the semi-automatic guns, and those with large capacity magazines to "prohibited", or at least in a matter that the purchase requires a "sound reason", such as being a member of a shooting club.

quote:

The article also mentions that the law has made concessions for the Swiss soldiers and their tradition of military service. What sort of concessions are proposed?

I can certainly understand the desire for Europeans to travel freely throughout Europe and I'm certain that Schengen facilitates that...it would be roughly the same as U.S. citizens travelling through the various lower 48 states without having to show any form of I.D.



Consessions are: the soldiers are able to keep their rifles once they finish their military service. The rifles would be converted to semi-auto only (as already was the case since the introduction of the Stgw 57)

Fun fact: right now, with the new law, a converted Stgw 90 would be in category "B", while a semi-auto only SIG 550 would be in category "A" and be a prohibited weapon.

quote:

But I'm curious, in a scenario in which the Swiss decided not to implement this EU law and if they did lose Schengen wouldn't the worst that would happen be that those entering or departing Switzerland be required to show a passport? Would that really present that much of a difficulty...especially considering that was the process prior to the EU?


the big question is as stated above: would they really kick us out of Schengen over this?

Schengen and the trade with the rest of Europe is vital for us, we can't live without it.


The citizen watches the watchman, not the taxpayer.
 
Posts: 652 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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