SWITZERLAND FIREARMS LEGISLATION
In Switzerland, the latest amendment of the firearm legislation caused certain problems in separating the new legislation from the military legislation.
It is worth noting that the Swiss weapons legislation as a Federal Law is now eliminated and differences on "Kanton"-level are no longer existing. Furthermore, the "Kantone" are no longer allowed to introduce stricter regulations.
The new legislation caused a tightening up of the purchase of weapons. A "Firearms-Purchase-License" is now required for every firearm instead of only for short weapons, as it was the rule before. Following Article 10 some firearms could be purchased without having a "Firearms-Purchase-License" like e.g. One-shot rifles or rifles with several barrels and hunting rifles that are authorised by the Kantons, sporting rifles used in national and international competitions etc. The firearm dealers are bound by law to provide a written contract for selling a weapon and each contracting party has to keep the contract for at least 10 years. This contract has to contain the personal data of the buyer and seller as well as detailed description of the firearm in question, the date of selling, etc.
Who is now able to purchase a weapon? The Swiss firearm legislation foresees a "catalogue of negative exceptions". All persons that do not appear in this catalogue are allowed to purchase firearms (Article 8). A "Firearms-Purchase-License" will not receive who:
has not completed his 18 year of life;
is does not have the necessary reliability;
is sentenced because of a major offence;
is legally incapacitated.
With this license, which is valid for six months and could be prolonged for three months, persons could purchase three firearms at the same time at the same dealer everywhere in Switzerland. A written contract is needed as well if a firearm is purchased from a private person. This is one of the novelties in the new legislation. Interesting to know that in the latte case a "Firearms-Purchase-License" is not requested. The only requirement is that the contracting parties have to ensure that none of them fits to the catalogue of positive exceptions of Article 8. In certain cases where the seller has some doubts concerning the reliability of the buyer he is authorised to ask the authorities in charge for personal information on the buyer subject to his approval.
It is not allowed to let a German have a firearm. For purchasing a firearm in Switzerland a German needs a special allowance from the "Central Department for Firearms". For receiving this license he has to present his needs to the authority.
Owners of firearms have to ensure that their weapons, ammunition and parts of the weapons are kept safely. The breech of half-automatic rifles has to be stored in a safe separated from the weapon. Persons who do not follow these requirements have to expect fines or imprisonment.
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