The development of weapons legislation
The EU addresses loopholes in weapons legislation. As a Schengen-associated member state, Switzerland participates in the consultation procedure. It agrees to amend its statutory provisions accordingly, aiming at a pragmatic solution that will respect the Swiss shooting tradition outside of military service.
The Federal Act on Improving the Exchange of Information between Authorities in Relation to Weapons enters into force on 1 July 2016. Under its provisions, all cantonal firearms registers are linked together via one platform to facilitate the exchange of information, not only between cantons but also between civil and military authorities, on people who for various reasons are not permitted to own weapons.
Following the National Council’s rejection of the post-registration of weapons, the number of firearms remains unknown because not all firearms are registered.
The Weapons Act is amended following revision of the EU Firearms Directive. The amendments prescribe:
- the introduction of electronic cantonal firearms registers.
- that data must now be stored for a minimum of 30 years
- that the smallest packaging unit of ammunition must now be marked
The Weapons Act is revised following Switzerland’s signing of the Schengen agreement (which includes the EU Firearms Directive) in 2004. Under the amendments:
- the buying and selling of weapons between private individuals now requires an acquisition permit
- all firearms must now be marked
- the European Firearms Pass will make it easier for hunters and target shooters to travel around the Schengen zone with their weapon
- information exchange with the Schengen member states will be improved
- all weapons acquisitions must be listed in the cantonal weapons register
- imitation weapons are now classified as weapons
A new, national Weapons Act comes into force, replacing the old intercantonal agreement on weapons, which was inadequate and incomplete. Weapons legislation is now harmonised at national level for the first time.
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