It is proving to be a challenge to make gun control reforms in some countries compared to others after acts of terrorism. Among the countries where it seems much difficult is the United States. On the contrary, in New Zealand, semi-automatic rifles were banned after a terrorist attack that happened in Christchurch in March.
The European Union initiated a similar move in 2017 but which took a slower response rate by making gun reforms tough after Paris attack in 2015 where 130 people lost their lives.
It is emerging that the 28 member states are seeing it more difficult than they think of agreeing to the reforms. Reforms passed appear to be weaker due to some exceptions that need some consideration. For example, hunters and people who belong to a firearms club have to be considered to allow them to continue holding firearms.
The reforms aim at making it difficult for civilians to obtain guns by creating uniform regulations in weapon registration especially in Schengen area where there lack such controls.
Swiss voters will vote on whether the rules will be applicable in Switzerland which is not part of the E.U. However, Switzerland tends to abide by the laws of the bloc. It is known for having the highest number of people holding guns, yet there are very few reports of shooting to kill. Semiautomatic rifles and weapons are part of the Swiss culture which began during the mandatory military service. After the end of the compulsory service, half of the conscripts went to their homes with their weapons. Swiss leaders considered this to be a good move to promote the country’s defense. However, the number of conscripts who go home with rifles has significantly reduced indicating a change in the Swiss weapons culture.
In the existing law, the state is not allowing people it is presuming to be a threat to the country’s defense to hold firearms. They that have purchased guns are expected to return them to the authority.
The referendum expected in the coming month will tighten the weapon laws. It will change gun ownership history of the country and also determine how Switzerland will relate with E.U. in future. The outcome of the referendum will have a significant effect on the country’s ability to fight for gun ownership rights which will lead to more reforms not thought of in the last ten years. However, there will be no change for gun holders who can purchase semiautomatic rifles and prove they will use them or train with them.
Switzerland affected E.U.’s gun reforms although the country is not part of the bloc. However, it belongs to the prevailing market and the borderless Schengen zone and it is part of agreements made. Supporters of Brexit will learn a lesson from Switzerland’s lobby for Brussels over the reforms. Britain is bound to follow the same path as Switzerland whereby laws of the European Union will bind Britain without the power of determining the rules.
The coming referendum is proof that E.U. is a political and legal bloc which can determine its own rules when need be. E.U. has realized that the reforms will have a significant effect in Switzerland and therefore established a concession to give away for specific groups of people to hold firearms such as former soldiers.
In as much as the E.U. has made it easier for the Swiss to accept the tough gun reforms in the coming referendum, although there is still criticism of the plan. Among those against the idea are the firearms clubs and veteran groups. Through their social media, they say that the move will deny them their right to own guns.
Such battles with the E.U. are a significant contribution to a majority of votes in Britain to leave the bloc in 2016. In Switzerland, such a move would have opposite effects because their votes are not just for the gun reforms. If majority Swiss votes are against the E.U. reforms, there will be an end to the de facto membership in the common market and also in the Schengen zone.
Failure to vote for the E.U. reforms in the coming referendum will lead to a vote against Brexit in Switzerland, a scenario that most Europeans don’t realize. Police in Switzerland will not access data sharing agreements with Europe. Vehicles will flood at the border and the GDP of the country will reduce by 3.7 percent based on a parliamentary assessment.
The realization that may have been evident from Britain from such scenarios will be an eye-opening for Swiss voters as they head to the referendum on 19th May. At the time those supporting the E.U.’s move have two choices about Switzerland, either a country with a prosperous economy or a country with prosperous gun stores.