The Swiss government has submitted to parliament gun law reform proposals to bring Switzerland into line with a European directive.
Its proposals are broadly similar to a European Union directive aimed at tightening gun laws between now and the end of 2019, but with some concessions.
The EU directive aims to make access more difficult to arms that can cause a large number of deaths, such as some semi-automatic weapons.
Switzerland is not an EU member, but is a member of the Schengen Agreement on freedom of movement. As such, it must also reform its legislation or risk its Schengen membership.
The Swiss government has nevertheless obtained some concessions. With regard to arms for military service, they may still be kept at home after service has ended, and they may be used for sports. Twenty-shot guns will not be prohibited.
The issue is highly controversial, and shooting associations have from the outset threatened to take it to a popular vote.
In parliament, the government’s proposals face criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. The conservative right People’s Party does not want to hear of these reforms, while the left wants the law to be tightened further.
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