Friday, October 1, 2010

Swiss Gun Control: The Ability To Hit Where You Are Aiming

From the BBC:

Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.

The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.
This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.
Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.
Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home.
Once discharged, men serve in the Swiss equivalent of the US National Guard, but still have to train occasionally and are given bolt rifles. Women do not have to own firearms, but are encouraged to.

From The American Rifleman:
 
The nation (Switzerland) is ready to mobilise on a moment's notice. Said one Swiss citizen-soldier, "If we start in the morning, we would be mobilised by late afternoon. That is why the gun is at home, the ammunition is at home. The younger people all have automatic rifles. They are ready to fight." 
 
From Wikipedia (granted, not a reliable source, but I can't read the linked references in German.)
 
Police statistics for the year 2006 records 34 killings or attempted killings involving firearms, compared to 69 cases involving bladed weapons and 16 cases of unarmed assault. Cases of assault resulting in bodily harm numbered 89 (firearms) and 526 (bladed weapons). As of 2007, Switzerland had a population of about 7,600,000. This would put the rate of killings or attempted killings with firearms at about one for every quarter million residents yearly. This represents a decline of aggravated assaults involving firearms since the early 1990s. Some 300 deaths per year are due to legally held army ordnance weapons, the large majority of these being suicides.

Remember, Switzerland has a population of 6 million.  And that's 34 killings or attempts that weren't necessarily succesful.  Now, let's bring it all back home.  Here's the Washington Times:

If Chicago were serious about bringing its violent crime problem under control, it would recognize the constitutional right of residents to use firearms to protect themselves.

Chicago's population is around 2.8 million, for purposes of comparison to Switzerland's 6 million.

The city's troubles are so extreme that a pair of state lawmakers are calling on a fellow Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn, to deploy the National Guard to help restore calm. The latest figures show that Chicago had racked up 122 homicides for the year, exceeding the 116 killings over the comparable period in 2009, a very bad year. Among the top 10 U.S. cities, Chicago is within shooting distance of advancing from second place to win the dubious distinction of being the U.S. murder capital. It's no coincidence that the Windy City is already the U.S. gun-control capital.

Since 1982, Chicago has banned the private ownership of handguns and rifles by requiring a convoluted registration process designed to be impossible to complete. Exceptions to the rules enable politicians and their personal friends to own and even carry handguns - but nobody else. This unconstitutional scheme has been a colossal failure. Before the ban took effect, Chicago's murder rate had been falling relative to the nine other largest cities, the 50 largest cities, the five counties that border Cook County, and the United States as a whole. After the ban, Chicago's murder rate rose relative to all these locations. During the first 19 years of the ban, there were just three years when the murder rate was as low as when the ban started.

Here's some video.  Be sure to catch the part where the government actually supplies ammo for recreational target practice and shooting events. 



Best quote in the video: "The key to freedom is the ability to be able to defend yourself, and if you don't have the tools to do that, you are at the mercy of whoever wants to put you away."

When time permits, look up the Nazi invasion of Switzerland. 

9 comments:

Cedric Katesby said...

Wait a minute.

(...dramatic pause for effect...)

No really.
Wait a minute.

What about the states that have the most generous NRA friendly laws on the books?

How do they measure up in comparison to...Switzerland?
Not somewhere else.
Just Switzerland.
That's the good example you were using.
So let's stick with that.


Then there's Chicago.
They're the bad example?
Ok.

What about other countries that beat Chicago's gun crime statistics hands-down in comparison?
Chicago.
Just Chicago.

Are there any countries out there that beat Chicago?

And if so...do they fully support the right to bear arms or have a similar political philosophy?

Or not?

Cherry-picking.

Confirmation bias

Lies, lies and damned statistics.

Dr Ralph said...

I won't comment on Cedric's post...I've pretty much given up arguing 2nd Amendment issues: no one's mind will be changed and there are more enjoyable ways to waste one's breath.

Googling Nazi invasion of Germany reveals a rather large reason the Swiss were left to their own devices had to do with the challenges mounting an invasion in light of the Swiss terrain (location, location, location) and weather.

But since that really didn't make your point I can't expect you to mention that.

Also, the Heinlein quote: "An armed society is a polite society." The US is much more heavily armed than (say) Canada, and I don't see that it's made us any more polite. In fact, listening to some of the more shrill voices after Obama's election, I'd go so far as to say it's made us downright impolite.

Don't forget, Heinlein wrote *fiction,*

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Cedric,
The examples that are the most eye-catching, are D.C. and Chicago. When they do have a shooting, it's usually large numbers of armed vs. unarmed.
Besides, if you're allowed to isolate Greenland's weather from the rest of the globe for a few centuries, I can isolate Switzerland and Chicago.

Dr.,
Hope to see you with POW in CA on Monday night, sir !
Yeah, there were other factors, like the Alps, etc etc etc. I read two other pieces on the Swiss during WW2 before pounding this into the laptop, and I thought this one was pretty even-handed:

http://history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz.ch/switzerland-second-world-war-ii.html

I've read tons of stuff on WW2, but this was the first reference I could remember to "Spiritual Defense".

Nick Rowe said...

Vermont has ZERO restrictions on firearms Cedric. Would you care to compare the crime rates of Vermont with any retrictive political entity?

But that's beside the point Cedric. Let me expose your grossest fallacy. The natural human condition is LIBERTY. People do not require justification for their rights. Government must justify EVERY restriction on liberty.

The question is NOT whether an armed society is more or less safe. This is like asking whether a country without free speech is more agreeable.

The question is whether the restriction on arms is both necessary and effective. The fact is that gun control has never worked anywhere it's ever been tried. Examine every mass murder incident with firearms and you'll find one common element: existing gun control laws which failed to protect the victims.

Gun laws are not obeyed by criminals. Gun laws only restrict law abiding citizens.

No one can say with certainty whether armed citizens WOULD have stopped the massacres, but it's plausible they COULD have stopped most of them. The interesting thing is that several of these incidents were stopped by private citizens lawfully carrying weapons.

I do not have to make pleas to government for my rights, Cedric. I do not require a compelling justification for them. I was born with my rights.

I've owned firearms for 25 years and have never fired a shot in anger or necessity. I feel safer knowing they are with me. The only time I ever feel unsafe is when I'm outside my home where I'm not allowed to carry them. I do not deserve to ever be at the mercy of animals who don't give a damn about your gun laws.

Cedric Katesby said...

The examples that are the most eye-catching, are D.C. and Chicago.

Well, yes.
Exactly.
That's the problem.
They've caught your eye.
They fit with what you want to see.
And so you...stop.

When I ask you to compare other data using the SAME CRITERIA that you have used, that's not me being sneaky and unfair.
That's being reasonable and logical.
Try it.
Be a devil.
Compare some more.
See what you get.


Besides, if you're allowed to isolate Greenland's weather from the rest of the globe for a few centuries...

Huh?
What are you talking about?
You've completely lost me.

I'm the one that is always trying to bring you up to speed on how gathering data works.

You, however, are the one that keep on sticking his head out the window and forgets about everybody else's windows on the planet.

You cherry pick data all the time.
I don't.
(Or at least, I make a serious effort not to.)

If you genuinely believe that I have mistakenly cherry-picked scientific data then please point it out.
I promise to listen.

Either you have a good system for getting reliable scientific information...or you don't.

Oh and, for the record...

"Besides, if you're allowed to" (do something I think is unfair and stupid), then I can (do something I think is unfair and stupid.)


If somebody does something wrong, that doesn't entitle you to do something wrong.
The idea is to have good personal standards all the time, no matter what "the other guy" might do.
Wear the white hat.
Be the good guy.

Cedric Katesby said...

Vermont has ZERO restrictions on firearms Cedric. Would you care to compare the crime rates of Vermont with any retrictive political entity?

Me?
I'm not comparing anything.
Allen is.

...retrictive political entity?

A what? I have no idea what you would consider to be a "restrictive" (?) political entity".

The example given as the "good example" was Switzerland.
That's Allen's chosen yard-stick.
That's his criteria.

Allen took Chicago...and compared it to Switzerland.
Ok.
I have no problem with that.

He chose Chicago because it's bans guns and bad stuff like that.

So we are using Chicago as our bad example.
That's his chosen yard-stick.
That's his criteria.
Fine.
So far so good.

When do we get the rest of the story?
Why stop there?

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But that's beside the point Cedric. Let me expose your grossest fallacy.

Please do.
:)

The natural human condition is LIBERTY. People do not require justification for their rights.

Umm....
Ok.....
So, um...
When do we get to the part where I make a fallacy?

Government must justify EVERY restriction on liberty.

Ok. Whatever.
(shrug)
When do we get to the part where you show me where my fallacy was?
Aren't you supposed to quote me or something like that?

The question is NOT whether an armed society is more or less safe. This is like asking whether a country without free speech is more agreeable.

Well, thanks for the advice and I'll be sure to remember that if I ever want to say that but...when do we get to the "I made a fallacy" part?


The question is whether the restriction on arms is both necessary and effective.

Fallacy. Hello?
Still waiting here.

Examine every mass murder incident...

Maybe later? After we are finished with Allen's Switzerland and Chicago?

....whether armed citizens WOULD have stopped the massacres...

Massacres? Mass murders?
When did the conversation suddenly be about massacres and mass murders?
Danger Will Robinson: Does not compute.

I do not have to make pleas to government for my rights, Cedric.

Gosh darn it. You've outfoxed me.
Here I was all set up to insist that that you should plead for your rights but...you've told me that you don't have to.
Damn.
My plan is foiled and it would have worked if not for Nick and those meddling kids!
(shakes impotent fist in the air)

I've owned firearms for 25 years...

That's nice. Thank you for sharing.

Dr Ralph said...

"An armed society is a polite society."

Is politeness a higher civic virtue than the freedom to speak one's mind without fear of intimidation?

...This is why I no longer discuss 2nd amendment issues.

BTW - when in Fairfax VA for Parents' Weekend at GMU in couple of weeks I'll be staying at the Marriott right around the corner from the NRA's national headquarters. I plan to stand in the parking lot and fart in their general direction.

Nick Rowe said...

Your fallacy, Cedric, is demanding that Allen provide any examples to you. It is the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.

He doesn't need to prove why we need or should have the liberty to keep and bear arms. You and everyone who desires gun control must demonstrate the efficacy and necessity of such measures and an absence of all less restrictive alternatives.

He made an argument, and you supposed he must defend it to the death of all logic. But this is not so. Allen is rebutting the arguments for gun control with a counter-example. Allen pointed out several places where gun contol have failed miserably, and you're back on your heels.

Allen provided you an example of a free, gun-owning society with low crime as a courtesy to you - to penetrate the dense layer of dogmatism which leads you to believe such a land is a fairy tale. I gave you a second such place. There are many more. The only question is whether you will persist in error.

Massacres, mass murder, daily murders... What's the difference? I was giving you the most eggregious and remarkable of cases to spare you the nuisance of persisting in your folly. They clearly show that gun laws protected no one. You would derive more protection from bullets from those laws by slipping them under your shirt. They are what's called a "parchment barrier."

Gun control does not work because anyone so inclined to commit a crime with a firearm certainly won't obey gun laws. But when law abiding citizens have guns, it's the criminals who are afraid.

More guns, less crime.

Cedric Katesby said...

Your fallacy, Cedric, is demanding that Allen provide any examples to you.

Huh?

It is the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.

Shifting the burden of proof?
From what?

Burden of proof

He doesn't need to prove why we need or should have the liberty to keep and bear arms.

Umm, ok?
And you feel this is important to the flow of the conversation because...?

You and everyone who desires gun control...

Actually I didn't say what I desire about gun control.
It's not really relevent to the situation at hand.

He made an argument, and you supposed he must defend it to the death of all logic.

That's what I supposed?
Wow.
I didn't know that.

Allen, my bad. I seem to have been supposing that you must defend your post to the death of all logic or something. Sorry.
I had no idea I was doing that.
Don't know how that happened.
Heck, I don't even remember saying that.
Boy, is my face red.
:(

Allen pointed out several places where gun contol have failed miserably...

He did?
What "several places"?

I know he mentioned Chicago as a bad example. There was also a quick mention of D.C.
What were the other places?
You did say there were "several" right?
What were the others?
Sounds interesting.

The only other place that Allen has mentioned so far is Switzerland.
But that's the good example.
Are you saying that Switzerland is a place where gun control has failed miserably?
Hmm.

...leads you to believe such a land is a fairy tale.

Wait. Switzerland?
I believe that Switzerland is a fairy-tale?
Damn.
And here's me thinking that I've travelled to Switzerland.
Hmm, must have been a very realistic dream or something.
Oh well.

Massacres, mass murder, daily murders... What's the difference?

Who knows? Who cares?
You brought them up.
Allen did not.
I did not.
If you want to talk about them, we can. After we're done with Switzerland and Chicago.

Gun control does not work because anyone so inclined to commit a crime with a firearm certainly won't obey gun laws.

Umm, ok?
(shrug)

Are you done now? Can we return to the real world?
Y'know, the part about Chicago and Switzerland?

Good. That's a relief.

The example given as the "good example" was Switzerland.
That's Allen's chosen yard-stick.
That's his criteria.

Allen took Chicago...and compared it to Switzerland.
Ok.
I have no problem with that.

He chose Chicago because it's bans guns and bad stuff like that.

So we are using Chicago as our bad example.
That's his chosen yard-stick.
That's his criteria.
Fine.
So far so good.

When do we get the rest of the story?
Why stop there?

I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.