Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Swiss Politician Attacks Military Officers' Association Over Pro-Rights Stance

Friday, May 3, 2019

Swiss Politician Attacks Military Officers' Association Over Pro-Rights Stance

As NRA-ILA previously reported, on May 19 Swiss citizens will vote in a referendum to determine whether the idyllic and well-armed mountain nation will conform their domestic gun laws to the new European Firearms Directive. Expedited following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the new European Firearms Directive requires European Union member states to enact a host of minimum gun control laws, including new registration and licensing requirements and restrictions on centerfire semi-automatic firearms. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is a member of the Schengen Area. Swiss gun control proponents have claimed that a failure to align domestic law with the European Firearms Directive would endanger the neutral nation’s Schengen status.

The Swiss shooting community, gun rights supporters, and the largest party in the National Council (the Swiss People’s Party), have joined forces to oppose the EU gun controls with the “Nein” campaign. Groups that support Switzerland’s militia-based system of national defense, such as the Schweizerische Offiziersgesellschaft (Swiss Officers' Association, or SOG), have also expressed their opposition to the EU mandate.

The SOG has roughly 22,000 members and serves as the umbrella organization for Switzerland’s regional military officers’ associations. The organization is independent of the Swiss government. According to its website (translated from the original German using Google translate) the purpose of the SOG,

is to exercise the military policy responsibility and interests of the officers within the framework of Swiss security policy. It advocates the promotion of an efficient army in terms of inventory, organization, equipment, training and leadership, as well as maintaining relations with national and international authorities and organizations with security policy objectives.

As Switzerland relies on a citizen militia as a significant component of its national defense, it is logical that an organization with these objectives would defend the right of the Swiss people to keep and bear arms. However, this defense of freedom and an armed citizenry proved too much for at least one Swiss politician.

According to an April 29 article in the French-language publication Tribune de Geneve, National Councilor Benoît Genecand has offered virulent criticism of the SOG for their stance on the referendum, in part because it is at odds with the official position of the Swiss Federal Government.

Genecand’s criticism gained further attention when President of the Society of Valais Romand Officers Roger Haupt took to Facebook to register his objection to Genecand’s comments. According to the article, Haupt explained (translated from French using Google translate), “In Switzerland, unlike other states, our army is not the guarantor of a government, but in the service of the people in the interest of the country and its people.” Haupt later reiterated his statement on Valais radio, noting, “Yes, the [SOG] encourages to refuse this law. We have a duty to be critical of our leaders. It is not because one is an officer that one does not have the right to give our opinion. Otherwise we must abolish the right to vote.” In criticizing the officers’ group Genecand had likened the SOG position to “sedition” and raised the specter of “military dictatorship.”

The SOG expressed support for Haupt, with SOG President Holenstein noting, “I am happy that he responded to the provocations of Mr. Genecand, although I would have preferred to avoid all this controversy.” Holenstein further explained that “The [SOG] is not the armed wing of the Department of Defense (DDPS). We are an independent militia association that tries to have an objective look at military objects.”

Genecand’s bizarre statements show that American politicians do not have a monopoly on fevered gun control rhetoric. NRA-ILA will continue to monitor Switzerland’s European Firearms Directive Referendum and keep American gun owners apprised of the latest developments.

TRENDING NOW
Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

On May 21st, the Illinois state House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to pass House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966.  While it has not yet been scheduled for further action, the House may take it ...

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

On May 20th, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington rejected a motion by the government defendants to dismiss the lawsuit filed by NRA and the SAF against Washington’s gun control ...

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

Can we finally put the claim that “gun violence” research is underfunded to rest? The Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Webster, and his colleagues at the Hopkins ...

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Monday, May 20, 2019

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Last week, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees took up their respective suspense files ahead of the Friday, May 17, fiscal deadline. Some of the more egregious gun bills failed to meet the deadline including ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday for signing NRA-backed legislation that protects tenants’ rights by prohibiting “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.   

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

On May 21st, the Illinois state House of Representatives Rules Committee will hear House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966 and send it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  HA 1 to SB 1966 would ...

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

News  

Hunting  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

When I started with NRA in 1995, most of the attention our organization received was over legislative efforts in Congress. Firearm-related legislation at the federal level obviously has an impact on far more law-abiding gun ...

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens does not believe a law-abiding citizen has a right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. He made his ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.