Swiss to vote on tighter gun controls

Geneva (AP) — Campaigners said Monday they have collected enough
signatures to force a referendum in Switzerland on whether to
confine army weapons to military compounds.

Service in the country’s militia army is compulsory for men, and
conscripts have to take their guns home between call-ups.

“Almost every day a person commits suicide with a firearm in
Switzerland,’’ said Josef Lang, a parliament member for the Green
Party who is campaigning for the proposal alongside the Social
Democrats, rights groups and others.

The referendum, a date for which has yet to be set, would also
ask voters to decide whether to set up a countrywide firearms
register and forbid citizens from buying particularly dangerous
guns, such as pump-action rifles or automatic weapons, for personal
use.

It goes far beyond a 2007 law that requires military ammunition
to be stored on base _ a move that was seen by many as the first
step to dismantling the guns-at-home tradition.

Anita Fetz, a lawmaker for the Social Democrat Party, said a
register would lead to more security and was worth the cost, which
opponents claim would be immense. “Every single car and every cow
in Switzerland are registered. Of course that costs something,’’
she said.

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