January 30, 2013 - To the editor:
In a recent letter to the editor, a citizen of Oakville stated that guns are not the problem and we need to regain our moral compass.
The citizen went on to state many things about marijuana, abortion, religion, politics and then compared our gun control to Switzerland.
I guess the writer was implying that Switzerland has a higher moral compass than we do, basing it on its gun culture and lack of deaths by guns, but are readers aware of the following:
• In Switzerland, abortions are legal through the first trimester of pregnancy, and 15 percent of pregnancies were terminated by abortion in 2005.
• Cannabis possession under 10 grams, or one-third of an ounce, is no longer a criminal infringement, but it can land you a 100 CHF fine, or 108 U.S. dollars.
• The atheism rate in Switzerland is about 18 percent and rising.
That's all fine with me, but by the writer's standards, the Swiss have no moral compass.
The writer also brought up Switzerland's gun law requiring its militia to keep guns in their homes and decided to use that as proof of a civilized culture when it comes to guns. The writer left out some very key points about the Swiss gun laws.
When the militia member's period of service has ended, the member is offered the choice of keeping or returning the rifle.
Twenty-five percent opt not to keep their rifles. The rifles that are kept are sent to a weapons factory where the fully automatic function is removed.
To buy a gun in Switzerland, one must ascertain a weapons acquisition permit by meeting several requirements, including being 18, not posing security problems and not being psychiatrically disqualified.
A permit allows the purchase of three firearms. To carry a gun in public, one must have a gun-carrying permit, which is normally only issued to citizens working in such occupations as security.
One may only transport weapons as long as justification is present, like to and from a gun show, to an army warehouse and back, et cetera.
The Swiss have a very different gun culture and much more restrictive laws when it comes to guns.
In 2010, in Switzerland, the annual homicide rate by guns per 100,000 was 0.52. In the United States during the same year, it was 3.4 per 100,000.
It is not our moral compass that is the problem, it's the lack of gun control.