History of Gun Control: Australia and Switzerland
In the previous article we talked about the history of gun control in America and the UK; how the policies were developed and the dates at which actions were taken by the legislators and why. We also promised you to cover the history of gun control in Australia and Switzerland.
We are really excited about this journey and we hope you are excited as well. So let’s begin!
History of Gun Control: Australia
Usually the public concern is directly affected by the level of violent crime in a certain region or country. The level of violent crime in Australia has been low till recent years and that’s why it only became a political issue in the last two decades of the century which is relatively low compared to other countries such as the United States.
The 1984 Milperra massacre, the 1987 Hoddle Street massacre and the Queen Street massacre are examples of major incidents that aroused public concern.
- 1788: The beginning of gun control was introduced to the Australian territory with the European settlement that took place on the 26th of January 1788.
- 1920: The first real concern to control firearms due to two factors; the rise of communism as well as the murders of three policemen in Western Australia and the rise of organized crime in Sydney and Melbourne.
- 1930: Fully automatic arms were banned on the Australian mainland.
- 1945: Handguns were effectively banned after World War II
- 1956: Melbourne Olympic Games sparked a new interest in the sport of pistol shooting and laws were changed to allow the sport to develop.
- 1973: Firearms Act 1973 in Western Australia.
- 1977: Firearms Act 1977 in South Australia.
- 1990: Control of Weapons Act 1990 was implemented in Victoria and Queensland.
- Before 1996 when all States subscribed to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA), New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia had different gun laws.
- 1996: Firearms Act 1996 which included the following States; New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory.
- 1998: Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 was only implemented in New South Wales.
- 1999: Australia establishes gun control. Law-abiding citizens were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms for destruction.
History of Gun Control: Switzerland
Switzerland is known to have the most permissive policy on gun control in all of Europe. This was achieved by the loose inter-cantonal Weapons Concordat that holds together the cantonal laws, some of which has very permissive gun-control regimes.
Gun-control legislation and militiamen regulations are the two main regulatory systems in Switzerland that exist to prevent the abuse of firearms while upholding the statutory right to bear arms.
- 1990: The Swiss were persuaded to abandon their no-intervention attitude toward firearms which came as a result of an international pressure after the Swiss guns were seen as part of the European terrorist scene and in the wars that destroyed former Yugoslavia.
- 1999: The first federal gun-control law.
- 2008: Switzerland enters the Schengen Agreement where the European Union’s Weapons Directive was transposed into Swiss law.
- 2010: A Regulation was proposed to allow members of the Swiss militia to keep their assigned personal weapon in their home and then it was amended to allow members of the militia to voluntarily deposit their issued firearm in an armory. This Regulation came into existence after several incidents in which militiamen killed themselves or others with the issued weapons.
- 2011: A referendum was held to end to the practice of letting militiamen keep their weapons at home but it was rejected by 56.3% of those voting after the Swiss Parliament and the Federal Cabinet advised against it.
In the next article we will be looking at some myths about gun control while in the fourth article we will be discussing the major incidents (i.e. massacres and shootings) that drove the most important gin control policies around the world.
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