Switzerland is proud of being a democracy, of being internationally neutral and of not having been involved in conflict since a civil war in 1848. But is still has the second largest armed force per head of population in the world. Why?

Military service is mandatory with almost all eligible males trained as soldiers and women also serving as volunteers: «For me, joining the army was patriotic decision,» says Sergeant Laetitia Geiser. «I’m intrigued when it comes to serving my country.»

Military training camps are a common across Switzerland, as are civilians carrying shotguns over their shoulders.

Behind only the US and Yemen in the number of guns per capita; there are around 29 guns for every 100 people. And in a country of only 8 million people, that means at least one in four households has a gun.

The pro-military culture has made target shooting a popular national sport, even amongst children. «I inherited my passion for shooting from my parents,» says nine-year old Luca.

Despite the strong gun culture, there are rarely more than forty gun homicides a year, compared with the US — with its 30,000 gun murders a year and 31 every day.

Nonetheless, a fresh debate over gun control has been rekindled in Switzerland.

Sandro Cattacin from Geneva University doesn’t believe keeping arms at home creates greater security; and anti-gun lobbyist Amanda Gavilanes launched a campaign five years ago with the slogan «for a better protection from armed violence.»

But with guns so engrained in Swiss culture and the crime statistics so relatively low, is it a debate that will ever lead anywhere?


  1. why would they want to dissolve their army when their army during World War II was more Fierce than any army during that era. Also it's because of the Swiss Army and its terrain that's why Hitler was afraid of Switzerland because he knew his troops wouldn't get out of Switzerland because of the rough Terrain in the mountains period also with an armed population in armed population of people who pretty much are good respectable people who just fire guns just for fun and also to defend themselves against Tyrant government. That's the same thinking that we have in the US the moment you take away guns from citizens you end up with a government that can dictate anything to the people just like the Soviet Union did with an unarmed population. Which is why Switzerland has a lot of gun background checks and has less gun crimes in the US because it has less people crazy to go kill other people. as for the United States we already have 22 gun background check laws why would we want another law that would prevent people buying any type of gun that they want. and that does violate any gun owners rights. if they want to get rid of guns in Switzerland I think that would be the dumbest and stupidest idea I've ever heard.

  2. Theres only one reason for most of the guns/rifles in switzerland: the military service is mandatory for men and they're allowed to keep their guns (mostely rifles).

  3. We have more guns per capita here in Finland yet we don't even have that many guns around. Why does this documentary show that Swiss would have a lot of guns when in fact they don't?

  4. Military service is maybe one of the best bonds to build between a country and its citizens. Everywhere where there is a professional army, the goverment seems to distance itself from the people and wage wars without consent of the electorate.

    I wish Germany wouldn't have paused the mandatory military service.

  5. Now you know why Switzerland is the most safest country in the world. unlike USA where the majority of gun crimes occur in areas with gun control and those statistics are propogated as the national gun violence rate by the pro-ISIS leftist fake news factories.

  6. THE DIRTY SECRET IS THAT MIDDLE CLASS WHITE AMERICANS AND SWISS HAVE THE SAME LOW LEVEL OF GUN VIOLENCE — however when you add black and hispanic super violent ghettos, the USA looks much worse

  7. And why does this work?  Because forced military conscription has a side benefit… besides mustering a sizeable army during times of need it teaches young people how to be part of a unit, how to be part of a larger whole.  It is ingraining in them the traditions and values of the nation during a formative period of their lives.  That is why the state trusts them with firearms, that is why crime is so low…Not just that they have firearms, nor just that they all served…but both!    So the very things that most progressives abhor:   Like guns, military service and early regimented teaching  are the things that can bring about their diversity utopia.

  8. Man you would think that the solution to gun violence was putting more guns in the hands of upstanding citizens with proper training instead of making it harder and harder for law abiding people to own them legally. I mean because gangbangers always get their FOID card and buy from legal gun stores right?