The Latest on Switzerland’s referendum on tightening Swiss gun laws (all times local):
Swiss voters have approved a measure to tighten the Alpine nation’s gun laws, bringing the country in line with many of its European partners despite the objections of local gun owners, Swiss media reported, citing official results.
Switzerland’s public broadcaster said more than 63% of voters nationwide agreed to align with European Union firearms rules adopted two years ago after deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.
The vote was part of Switzerland’s regular referendums that give citizens a direct say in policymaking. It had stoked passions in a country with long, proud traditions of gun ownership and sport and target shooting. Switzerland, unlike many other European nations, allows veterans of its obligatory military service for men to take home their service weapons after tours of duty.
Swiss media are reporting that early exit polls show voters have approved a measure to tighten Switzerland’s gun laws, bringing the Alpine country in line with many of its European partners over the objections of some law-abiding gun owners.
Switzerland’s public broadcaster says preliminary estimates show a solid majority nationwide has voted to align with a European Union directive on firearms adopted in 2017.
The Swiss proposal would, among other things, require regular training on the use of firearms, special waivers for possession of some semi-automatic weapons and serial-numbering of major parts of some guns to help track them.
Switzerland is not an EU member, but is in Europe’s Schengen visa-free travel zone.
Swiss voters are casting ballots in a referendum to decide whether to enact new restrictions on guns and line up with Switzerland’s partners in the European visa-free travel zone who have already tightened gun rules following extremist attacks in Europe.
The proposal could require regular training on the use of firearms, special waivers for possession of some semi-automatic weapons and serial-numbering of major parts of some guns to help track them.
Supporters, including the Swiss parliament and executive branch, say similar measures adopted by the European Union after deadly extremist attacks in France are needed to ensure strong police cooperation and economic ties with Switzerland’s partners in Europe’s Schengen zone of visa-free travel.
Switzerland is in the Schengen zone but is not one of the EU’s 28 nations.