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Switzerland — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Switzerland is 3,400,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Switzerland is 45.71 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Switzerland ranked at No. 222

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Switzerland ranked at No. 31

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Switzerland are reported to have 324,4843 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Switzerland are reported to have 26,7754 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Switzerland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 2395
2010: 241
2009: 277
2008: 259
2007: 291
2006: 285
2005: 299
2004: 318
2003: 339
2002: 397
2001: 408
2000: 387
1999: 392
1998: 466
1997: 434
1996: 454
1995: 436

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 3.046
2010: 3.10
2009: 3.60
2008: 3.40
2007: 3.86
2006: 3.81
2005: 4.01
2004: 4.29
2003: 4.59
2002: 5.40
2001: 5.58
2000: 5.32
1999: 5.41
1998: 6.46
1997: 6.03
1996: 6.32
1995: 6.09

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Switzerland, annual homicides by any means total

2013: 587
2012: 458
2011: 468 9
2010: 5310 11 12 9
2009: 5113 14 12 9
2008: 5415 9
2007: 51
2006: 6016 9
2005: 75
2004: 7917 9
2003: 73
2002: 8618 9
2001: 869
2000: 69
1999: 89
1998: 76
1997: 87
1996: 83
1995: 82

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.736
2012: 0.57
2011: 0.596 9
2010: 0.68
2009: 0.66
2008: 0.71
2007: 0.68
2006: 0.80
2005: 1.01
2004: 1.07
2003: 0.99
2002: 1.17
2001: 1.279
2000: 1.0
1999: 1.2
1998: 1.1
1997: 1.2
1996: 1.2
1995: 1.2
1994: 1.3219

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Switzerland, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1820
2012: 13
2011: 22
2010: 15
2009: 24

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.236
2012: 0.16
2011: 0.28
2010: 0.19
2009: 0.31
1994: 0.5821

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Switzerland, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 1,03422
2010: 1,004
2009: 1,105
2008: 1,313
2007: 1,368
2006: 1,31223
2005: 1,304
2004: 1,292
2003: 1,280
2002: 1,451
2001: 1,331
2000: 1,378
1999: 1,297
1998: 1,371
1997: 1,341
1996: 1,431
1995: 1,419

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 13.176
2010: 12.92
2009: 14.36
2008: 17.25
2007: 18.17
2006: 17.54
2005: 17.51
2004: 17.42
2003: 17.33
2002: 19.75
2001: 18.20
2000: 18.94
1999: 17.91
1998: 19.00
1997: 18.62
1996: 19.916 24
1995: 19.816
1994: 21.2825

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Switzerland, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 21022
2010: 222
2009: 253
2008: 23923
2007: 264
2006: 259
2005: 262
2004: 271
2003: 300
2002: 351
2001: 349
2000: 351
1999: 346
1998: 413
1997: 358
1996: 397
1995: 392

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 2.686
2010: 2.86
2009: 3.29
2008: 3.14
2007: 3.51
2006: 3.46
2005: 3.52
2004: 3.65
2003: 4.06
2002: 4.78
2001: 4.77
2000: 4.82
1999: 4.78
1998: 5.726 24
1997: 4.976
1996: 5.52
1995: 5.47
1994: 5.6126

Unintentional Gun Deaths

In Switzerland, annual unintentional shooting deaths total 1998: 724

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Switzerland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

1998: 0.1024
1994: 0.1327

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

In Switzerland, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is 1994: 0.0728

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

ChartIn Switzerland, the reported, or estimated annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries is

2012: 1129
2011: 13
2010: 1030

Rate of Non-fatal Gun Injury per 100,000 People

ChartIn Switzerland, the reported, or estimated annual rate or proportion of non-fatal firearm injury is

2012: 0.146
2011: 0.17
2010: 0.13

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Switzerland, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence31 32

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, Switzerland is ranked 'medium'33

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Switzerland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law34 35

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Switzerland is reported by Customs to be US$255,181,25236 (2011)37 38

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, Switzerland is categorized as 'mid-level'39 38

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Switzerland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law40 41 34 42 43

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Switzerland is reported by Customs to be US$85,884,33636 (2011)

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Switzerland is moderate44

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Switzerland, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law45

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Switzerland do not include46 47 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

In the most recent survey of state transparency in declaring firearm and ammunition exports among major small arms exporting nations, Switzerland was ranked at No. 148

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Switzerland is categorised as restrictive49

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Switzerland includes the Federal Law on Arms, Arms Accessories and Ammunitions 199750 and the Ordinance on Arms, Arms Accessories and Ammunitions 200851

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Switzerland are regulated by the Federal Legislative Authority44

Right to Possess Firearms

In Switzerland, the right to private gun ownership is guaranteed by law50

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Switzerland, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms, some automatic firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms,52 incendiary or armour-piercing ammunition, and 'expansive projectiles for handguns'53

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Switzerland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited52 54

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Switzerland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted under licence52 54

Regulation of Handguns

In Switzerland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence55 54

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Switzerland, some 'manual repetition rifles' for sport and hunting may be owned without a licence, but in other cases only licensed gun owners56 57 58 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Switzerland are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, target shooting, self-defence, and collection56 59 60 61

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Switzerland is 18 years56

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Switzerland must pass a background check which considers mental, criminal and domestic violence56 62 60 61 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Switzerland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required44

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Switzerland stipulates62 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Switzerland, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required for a permit to carry a hidden handgun, but is not required63 64 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Switzerland gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every five years (license to carry)65

Licensing Records

In Switzerland, authorities maintains a record54 66 of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Switzerland are permitted to possess any number of firearms46 47

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Switzerland are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition46 47

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Switzerland, the law requires67 55 54 66 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In Switzerland, licensed firearm dealers are required67 54 66 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Switzerland, licensed gun makers are required66 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Switzerland, State agencies are required67 55 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in Switzerland is obliged58 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Switzerland, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited68 69 70

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Switzerland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful68 69 70

Limit on Gun Dealer Sales

In Switzerland, the number and type of firearms which can be sold by a licensed gun dealer to a single gun owner is limited to 1 firearm per licence holder (up to 3 firearms allowed with special authorisation)71 72 and only persons authorised to acquire a firearm may purchase ammunition for that particular firearm73

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Switzerland, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined46 47

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Switzerland, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated46 47 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Switzerland include74 75 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in Switzerland do not include46 47 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Switzerland include76 77 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Switzerland include78 34 79 80 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Switzerland, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law81 82 83 84

Firearm Tracing

In Switzerland, state authorities carry out81 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Switzerland, state authorities do not employ46 47 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Switzerland, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed, often subject to a valid licence, depending on the type of firearm63 64

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Switzerland, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed only with proof of genuine need and tangible danger, following mental health, criminal record and good character background checks, and after passing a police examination in firearm law and handgun safety63 56

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Switzerland, the maximum penalty for illicit firearm possession is up to 3 years prison85

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Switzerland are known to have86 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In Switzerland, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 19,27086

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Switzerland, it is state policy87 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 200688 by Switzerland.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified89 by Switzerland

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed and ratified90 by Switzerland

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Switzerland committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects91

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Switzerland has submitted one or more national reports92 93 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Switzerland, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated94 93

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Switzerland, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated94 95

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Switzerland submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent93 96

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated93 by Switzerland to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Switzerland has declared97 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Switzerland has been a Member State of the United Nations since 200298

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists99 Switzerland as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Global Peace Index

To see where Switzerland ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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