Radical anti-gun activists in this country have already called for pump-action firearms to be banned as "assault weapons." Bills to that effect, based on draft legislation developed by the San Francisco-based Legal Community Against Violence, have been introduced at the state level, and Donna Dees-Thomases of the Brady Campaign-affiliated Million Mom March, a close friend of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has advocated a pump-action ban as well.
Now, the so-called Group for a Switzerland Without an Army—a coalition of pacifists, socialists, and religious groups that in 1989 forced a national referendum on abolishing Switzerland's army—and got 36 percent of the vote—is pushing for a referendum to ban pump-actions, along with prohibiting the country's citizen soldiers from keeping their service rifles and pistols at home, prohibiting the private acquisition of firearms by individuals who do not show a "need," prohibiting the private possession of "unused" firearms, and requiring the registration of remaining firearms in private hands.
According to the group, "2.4 million firearms in private hands is 2.4 million too many," and "we must finally break with the fatal manliness-ideal of 'defense-capable is honor.'"
According to Stephen Halbrook, author of The Swiss and the Nazis: How the Alpine Republic Survived in the Shadow of the Third Reich (2006) and Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II (1998), "approval of the referendum would destroy the traditional Swiss militia, which relies on the ability to mobilize instantly to resist any aggressor." Victory for the referendum would also deal a serious blow to private firearm ownership in that country.
Pro-Tell, the Swiss group dedicated to protecting the right to arms in their country, is fighting the referendum. Unfortunately, the voices of sanity are often drowned out by the louder voices of those who, though they know nothing, consider themselves entitled to dictate how others should live. As we prepare to defend our own right to arms from the attacks our opponents have promised, we wish our Swiss friends well.