What I learned hitchhiking in Switzerland

by Tim Condon

This is kind of interesting:

The thing is, I remember asking about just this issue when I was a hippie back in the 1970’s, hitchhiking across Europe and North Africa. When I entered Switzerland across the northern border of Italy…

…I got a ride with a young businessman (he was really exercised about the superhighways that were then being built, saying “We’re a small country, we don’t need this crap!”). I asked him if it was true that everyone had a machine gun (aka a battle rifle with a selector on it) and hand grenades and the such in their home. He said yes, every young man (and woman? I can’t remember), when s/he turned a certain age had to report for several months training with the Swiss military. It kind of sounded like a three or four-month program. Part of that program was getting issued a battle rifle and ammunition, which were required to be kept in one’s home. “Well, wouldn’t that mean that someone could use the rifle to rob a bank or something?” I asked. “Oh no!” he responded. “No one would ever do that!”

“No one would ever rob a bank in Switzerland?” I asked back.

“No, no,” he said. “They might rob a bank, but they would never use their military rifle! That is for the fatherland. They would get another gun to rob a bank….”

I smiled. Those Swiss! Are they great or what?

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  • Kevin Kervick

    Yes, but the interesting part is that the gun is issued by the federal government, apparently to protect the people from invasion. I would imagine that all guns are thus registered too. This is inconsistent with the US second amendment philosophy that holds guns are primarily for protecting people from crime and from their own government.

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