Teaching Swiss children to fire a gun

When the city of Bern tried to stop shooting practice at a summer camp, they were surprised at the backlash. Now the courses are coming back. (SRF,

This content was published on July 7, 2016 - 07:59

Every summer, children in Swiss cities can take part in a wide range activities to keep busy during the holiday months.

One course offered by Bern’s youth office and the surrounding municipalities is aimed at children from the age of five. They can do activities ranging from art to sport and nature camps.

The activities on offer are put forward by private individuals, associations and artists. Anyone who thinks they have an interesting activity on offer for children can put forward a proposal. It should be offered on a voluntary basis.

As of 2015 Bern’s city authorities refused to include air rifle and air pistol training in the holiday programme course list because they felt these activities could encourage violent behaviour.

The authorities have revoked that decision after several municipalities around Bern threatened not to participate in the programme. As the communities contribute a substantial part of the budget for the programme, it would have put the 300 different courses at risk.

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.