Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved gun control in a referendum on May 19, 2019.
These gun control restrictions would put Switzerland more in line with European Union rules on firearms.
This ballot initiative passed the referendum by a 64-36 percent margin. Before the referendum took place, gun rights activists in Switzerland worried about this measure and its potential for gun rights infringements.
The restrictions apply to non-EU member Switzerland because it is part of Europe’s Schengen open-border system. Switzerland’s failure to comply with these restrictions could have seen the country kicked out of the passport-free Schengen zone and the Dublin joint system for dealing with asylum requests.
After Islamic terrorists killed hundreds of people in mass shootings in Paris in 2015, the EU tightened laws on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles that were used in those massacres. Further, the EU made the tracking of weapons in national databases easier.
The initial proposal that the EU wanted Switzerland to comply with received pushback because it entailed a ban on a Swiss tradition of veterans keeping their rifles. Swiss officials were able to negotiate certain compromises for veterans and shooting sports participants. However, there was still pushback from Swiss gun owners who viewed this ballot initiative as a potential infringement on the country’s sovereignty.
Switzerland has built a reputation over the past century as one of the most pro-gun countries in the world next to the U.S. So this move definitely deals a major blow to its pro-gun reputation.
This is just a firm reminder, that despite all the gun control regulations that Americans must endure at the federal and state levels, the U.S. remains the most pro-gun country on the planet.
However, there is still much work to be done. Switzerland shows that even relatively pro-gun countries can fall for gun control.
Now more than ever, those who believe in freedom must be prepared to fight back in the culture and political spheres to uphold our rights.
If not, we will most assuredly see our rights slowly wither away.