Murder rate near zero in Switzerland where teens enter shooting competitions

by WorldTribune Staff, March 26, 2018

Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership, a murder rate near zero, and no mass shootings.

The Knabenschiessen shooting competition is a highly popular event for Swiss teens.

The country of 8.3 million people has about 2 million privately owned guns. In 2016, there were 47 homicides with firearms, according to a report by Business Insider.

There has not been a mass shooting in Switzerland since 2001, when a man entered the local parliament in Zug, killing 14 people and then himself, according to the report.

Media outlets, including Time magazine and the BBC have reported that the Swiss view gun ownership as a “patriotic duty” and gun owners take training very seriously.

Switzerland also has a hugely popular annual shooting contest for teens aged 13 to 17.

The contest, Zurich’s Knabenschiessen, dates back to the 1600s. The competition, once open only to boys, has included teenage girls since 1991.

“Kids in the country flock to the competition every September to compete in target shooting using Swiss army service rifles. They’re proud to show off how well they can shoot,” Business Insider noted in a March 24 report.

“Accuracy is prized above all else, and a Schutzenkonig – a king or queen of marksmen – is crowned.”

Military service is mandatory for men in Switzerland and all men between the ages of 18 and 34 deemed “fit for service” are given a pistol or a rifle and trained.

“After they’ve finished their service, the men can typically buy and keep their service weapons, but they have to get a permit for them,” the report said.

Having an armed citizenry has “helped keep the Swiss neutral for more than 200 years,” the report added. “Switzerland hasn’t taken part in any international armed conflict since 1815, but some Swiss soldiers help with peacekeeping missions around the world.”

In Switzerland, those convicted of a crime or with an alcohol or drug addiction record are prohibited from buying guns and anyone who “expresses a violent or dangerous attitude” is not allowed to own a gun.

Gun owners who want to carry their weapon for “defensive purposes” also have to prove they can properly load, unload, and shoot their weapon and must pass a test to get a license.

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