Gun Control: How Does the U.S. Compare to Say, Switzerland?

by Admin on January 28, 2013

Last week we told you about how a South Carolina lawmaker was proposing a bill to offer gun training  classes in South Carolina high schools. This week, guns are again making their way back into the classroom.

A Maine Senator is proposing legislation that would arm teachers. Teachers and other school officials would be allowed to carry concealed weapons following a psychological exam and gun training course. The bill would require the school board, superintendent and principal to sign off first, and would also give school districts the ability to hire armed security guards.

And in Wisconsin, we find a Milwaukee sheriff on TV telling the public to learn firearm defense, saying, “I need you in the game.”

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. was urging residents to learn how to properly use firearms for their own personal safety, in the event they need to defend themselves prior to the police arrival.

“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke said. “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

The ad has generated criticism from anti-violence advocates and other area officials.

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Since the Newton, Connecticut elementary school shooting last month, the gun debate has deepened the rift between gun rights advocates and those opposing firearms. What’s interesting is how that conflict has evolved into other related debates: state vs. federal, First Amendment vs. Second Amendmentalternative media vs. mainstream media, conspiracy theorists vs. propagandists. These arguments are great, as they’re finally shedding a broad light on topics that aren’t typically addressed in mainstream news.

But, they’re taking the spotlight off the real issue, which may be the United State’s gun culture. In a recent article on the gun culture in Switzerland, Time does a great job describing the state of gun control in America’s antithesis.

Chaninat & Leeds’ US and Thai Attorneys have been representing clients in Thailand and abroad for over 40 years.

The Swiss, as we all know, have a laid-back sort of society. The country hasn’t been in a war since 1815. They’re the second oldest neutral country. This “armed neutrality” is juxtaposed with their attitude towards gun ownership: it’s deeply rooted and generally accepted. Make that encouraged. The country historically advocated arming its citizens to protect themselves from invasion. To chance upon a civilian bearing arms  – say someone with a rifle slung across their back while riding the bus – is normal.

Consider the numbers Time presents:

“Switzerland trails behind only the U.S, Yemen and Serbia in the number of guns per capita; between 2.3 million and 4.5 million military and private firearms are estimated to be in circulation in a country of only 8 million people. Yet, despite the prevalence of guns, the violent-crime rate is low: government figures show about 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. By comparison, the U.S rate in the same year was about 5 firearm killings per 100,000 people, according to a 2011 U.N. report.”

“If people have a responsible, disciplined and organized introduction into an activity like shooting, there will be less risk of gun violence,” said Peter Squires, professor of criminology and public policy at the University of Brighton in Great Britain.

Switzerland’s “gun culture that works” is such a contrast from that of the U.S. Their sense of national identity, pride in gun ownership, civic responsibility – a “culture of support” – is what keeps those numbers low. Americans are more focused on individualism and independence. Proper gun handling and training isn’t mandatory in the U.S. Neither are background checks – yet.

The American media, ever sensationalizing the gun issue, probably doesn’t help either.


Related articles: UN Set to Impose Worldwide Regulations on Guns

Related videos: Exploring Gun Culture in Thailand

Can I Own A Gun in Thailand?

Related blog posts: Biden Says Obama to File Exec Orders to Restrict Guns

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