In Switzerland voters have rejected any change to the law allowing men to keep firearms in the home.
The referendum was held as a result of pressure from left-wing and pacifist groups, who argued that guns should be registered, locked away, and those keeping them should show they know how to use them.
One woman voting in favour of changing the law said “nowadays there’s no need to keep arms at home. They don’t even have the bullets for them. Keeping rifles at home is useless at this time..and by not having them in the home we can avoid a lot of accidents”.
But many Swiss people defend the tradition of keeping arms in the home, including Xavier Schwytzguebel of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party.
“I think guns represent our whole identity, our democratic system, our freedom. Since Switzerland exists thanks to a militia system, resulting from civilians serving in the army, it has always been the case that firearms were kept at home”
There are an estimated 2 to 3 million guns in Switzerland. Serving and former soldiers are allowed to keep their weapons at home. But the country also has the highest rate of gun suicide in Europe.