“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” Italian philosopher George Santayna wrote in “The Life of Reason.” Based on recent developments, he could have been talking about the Swiss.
“Swiss voters ... 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,” USA Today reports. “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.”
What’s it all about?
The Swiss already have plenty of “gun control.” The Library of Congress has a good overview, noting:
“Switzerland has a comprehensive gun-control regime that is governed by federal law and implemented by the cantons. This regime may be somewhat less restrictive than that of other European countries, yet since 2008 it has complied with European Union requirements. The Swiss Weapons Act requires an acquisition license for handguns and a carrying license for the carrying of any permitted firearm for defensive purposes. Exceptions exist for hunters. Automatic weapons are banned. Swiss militiamen may keep their issued personal weapon in their home. A popular referendum to prohibit this practice was rejected in February 2011.”
It goes on to summarize the development of laws over the past few decades, statistics, an explanation of the militia system and current laws including those regulating acquisition and carrying.
So it’s fair to ask “What more do the gun-grabbers want?”
The answer, of course, even though they deny it and make noises that changes will be minimal, is, ultimately, “Everything.”
Not that they’ll admit it. Per The Local, “concessions,” meaning cards they are willing to show – for now – include:
“If Swiss voters back the updated EU rules at a referendum on Sunday, the country will not be required to ban all weapons with high-capacity magazines. But it will need to roll out new, more restrictive rules on their ownership (more on that below). The updated EU directive also calls for all essential weapon components to be clearly labeled and registered electronically to help police establish where weapons are coming from.”
“Reasonable regulations,” right? That’s a foot-in-the-door swindler’s trick we’re all too familiar with in the U.S.
“In fact, there is nothing in this ominous article to disarm or tighten arms legislation,” the Google translation of Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger story claims. “It merely states that the EU Commission must report to the European Council and Parliament in autumn 2020 and every five years thereafter on the application of the Directive. If necessary, she can then make legislative proposals. According to Christa Tobler, a professor at the European Institute of the University of Basel, this is a provision that appears in virtually all EU directives: ‘The article does not say anything about the content of any subsequent changes.’"
That leads to fears articulated in the article warning “Further restrictions from Brussels could follow,” leading to fears that invoking Article 17 of the EU Weapons Directive, which provides for “reassessment” every five years, could lead to a total gun ban.
When was the last time you saw incrementalists, who are happy to accept a concession and then press on for more, propose rolling back gun laws? We’re talking would-be globalist rulers here.
In the Beginning...
The referendum news came as a surprise to many in America. The typical understanding of Switzerland’s commitment to armed independence, one that still holds today among many, was reflected in a letter to Guns Magazine’s “Crossfire” letters section over 60 years ago.
“During the past 600 years the Swiss have been in quite a few wars, but there was only one time the nation was overrun,” a reader recalled. “They never forgot about it, and since then have kept prepared ... The Swiss neutral policy is backed with as much force as they can assemble. They know how much treaties are worth when large nations fall out. Switzerland's forces could never defeat a major army. They merely intend to make it cost as much as possible, and they are just the type who can do it.”
The tradition began, at least in legend, with William Tell, a national symbol whose claim to fame was armed resistance to tyranny. Most of us are familiar with the tale of how the Austrian tyrant Albrecht Gessler placed his hat atop a pole, required Swiss subjects to bow to it, and forced Tell to shoot an apple from his son’s head after the independence-minded marksman defied his edict. The upshot: Tell assassinated Gessler in an act of tyrannicide, resulting in him being hailed, remembered and revered as a national hero.
So who would want to change that? Who would want to tamper with a system that has kept the Swiss so relatively prosperous and free? We might as well ask who would trade the birthright of an armed citizenry in America, born out of resistance to tyranny, for globalist disarmament schemes. Guess.
Slow Fist Coming
For those of us who follow such things, it’s not so much the referendum results that are surprising, but that it took this long to happen.
“A women's magazine has collected 17,400 signatures in a bid to rid Swiss households of hundreds of thousands of weapons,” swissinfo reported back in 2006, repeat with a family photo where a grinning dolt obliviously held his rifle with the muzzle pointed at the head of his baby-holding wife. “The petition, ‘No weapons at home,’ is calling for a ban on shotguns at home, for army rifles to be kept in military storage instead of at home and for people not to be able to hold on to army guns after their period of service expires. It is also campaigning for a national weapons register to be created as soon as possible.”
“Pacifists and centre-left parties want voters to have the final say on breaking with a long-standing Swiss tradition of storing personal army rifles and pistols at home,” a 2007 swissinfo article related. “They said they would launch a people's initiative to ban such weapons in households. The announcement came a day after parliament refused to take action over the issue.”
By 2008, the emotional hook for swindling the public out of its rights was settled upon. The thing to exploit was “suicide.”
“The percentage of young people who use a gun to kill themselves is higher in Switzerland than any other European country, according to an international survey,” a report, again by swissinfo, parroted. “This is directly connected to liberal Swiss gun laws and the easy availability of weapons, said researchers from the European Alliance Against Depression, whose study is published in the current edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.”
Leftist saying “For the children” and blaming gun laws... Where have we seen that before? And the “solution” is national suicide...?
A New Approach
Blood dancing and exploiting the feelings of the uninformed and easily manipulated are SOP for the gun-grabbers. Up until now, though, they have not generated the momentum to break down the wall of tradition. Add perceived economic and security incentives and there seems to be no shortage of latter-day Esaus, willing to trade their (and your) birthrights for a mess of pottage.
In this case, per a EuroNews analysis of the Swiss gun vote, the new hook is the Schengen Area, “a zone that can be visited without a visa or passport by citizens of 26 European nations.” Switzerland is not part of the European Union, and if they didn’t play ball with the EU on guns, they faced the potential of not being allowed to participate. Access to the Schengen Information System, with all the power-enhancing benefits for those who would rule, is a fundamental reason why, again as reported by TheLocal.ch, everyone who is anyone in the Swiss government hierarchy and in business, was for the gun referendum. Not being privy to the data sharing would have negative impacts on the economy, deprive law enforcement of critical information, and open the door to more asylum requests, they insisted.
In other words, they preferred being extorted with EU disarmament edicts as the demanded payment to keep their seats at the table. And the stated “reasons” for concerns that everyone “standardize” gun rules?
“Following terrorist gun attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016, the EU tightened gun rules, known as the ‘EU Gun Ban",’ the bloc encouraged Switzerland to comply with its laws,” EuroNews explained. The Washington Post provided another relevant piece of information, noting “the borderless Schengen zone where arms traffickers have so far found loopholes in abundance.”
We could do a whole ‘nother article on mass globalist-engineered “migration” and resulting cultural terraforming, and make a good case for being more selective on who’s allowed in as a more effective deterrent to terrorism. Instead, the minds behind it all find it more in their interests to enable lethal threats while rendering the law-abiding more vulnerable.
Just like here.
An Old Story
The WaPo noted another trend, one that no doubt factored into a sense that the time is “right” to introduce infringements:
“After the end of their mandatory military service, about half of all conscripts would take their military-issued weapons back home, in what Swiss leaders long argued was an effective way to uphold the country’s ability to defend itself. But the ratio of former soldiers taking their weapons home has fallen to about 10 percent, amid other signs that the Swiss weapons culture is changing.”
As aging “heritage” populations dwindle, so too does their political influence. The majority of the young in Western culture appear to have embraced the path that circumvents the graveyard of history.
Remember “The Time Machine”? Cavorting Eloi have no need of books from the dead past when the Morlocks provide for all their needs.
Fighting the Tide
Something else I learned from the previously-cited TheLocal.ch report is “The referendum on the issue is being held because the Swiss Shooting Interest Group, supported by the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP) launched a popular initiative calling for Swiss voters to reject the EU Firearms Directive.”
Perhaps they weren’t counting on the modern trend of rejecting hard-won traditions for siren songs of a global utopia winning the day. Perhaps there was no other choice and this was the best way to expose the dangers and shake a critical mass of the populace into waking up. In any case, a leader in the fight to oppose the new infringements is PROTELL, “a non-partisan organization that protects the interests of all arms-owning and weapons-bearing citizens.”
“The Swiss people have decided to adopt the EU weapons directive (read our press release),” they say. Unfortunately, it’s not in English (a representative told me it’s only available in German and French, and sent me the unformatted text to put through Google Translate).
“A majority of the Swiss who voted gave in to the fear of millions by economic lobbies and state propaganda in a veritable campaign of disinformation,” the release charges. “No illusion, alas. Because we know they tricked us. As in 2005, when the Federal Council promised us that ratification of the Schengen agreement would not result in the tightening of the law that we are now going to undergo.
“PROTELL will remain active on the political scene. In the forthcoming cantonal elections and especially in the federal elections this fall, PROTELL will remind the voters who defended their rights and who sacrificed them or let them sacrifice them,” the release promises. “Behind those who have stirred the Scarecrow of the death of our economy and our tourism, there are those who work to disarm the Swiss. These must know that they will always find PROTELL in their way. We will not let ourselves be disarmed!”
They have their work cut out for them. Especially considering that, per a May 19 Associated Press and Agence France-Presse report, “The ProTell gun lobby voiced concern at the consequences of Sunday's referendum, in which some 43 percent of eligible voters participated.”
Too many worthless heirs of Liberty, there and here, cannot and will not remember the past. They are clueless about and even contemptuous of those who do remember and who warn them that showing fealty to the rules of foreign powers is no different than bowing to a damned hat on a pole.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a regular featured contributor for Firearms News
and AmmoLand Shooting Sports News
, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,”
and posts onTwitter: @dcodrea