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Recently, students in my Contemporary World Issues class have been engaged in some serious and at times intense debate over guns, gun violence and the 2nd Amendment. Frequently in those debates, Switzerland has been mentioned as the best proof that more gun ownership does not lead to more gun violence. I admit that I have read this many, many times in blog posts and have heard it many times on television and radio, and in the past I more or less accepted that argument. So, as is often the case, I had to do some quick and serious research to keep up with my students. Since what I found was fascinating, to say the least, I wanted to share a few Internet sources and pass on some information about Switzerland and their gun laws. Sources are cited at the end of the post.

Bullet Points (pun intended) on Firearms in Switzerland

•Nearly every male in Switzerland goes through firearm training at the age of 20.
•Swiss males are allowed to keep their firearms after the end of their military service at age 30. The fully automatic weapons must be converted to semi automatic before they can keep them as civilians.
•Switzerland has universal gun registration on gun ownership.
•Switzerland has universal background checks on all gun purchases.
•Switzerland requires universal reporting of firearm transactions, whether commercial or private transfer of ownership.
•Switzerland's carry laws are highly regulated and very restricted. Other than militia members transporting their firearms on their way to militia training, very few people are allowed to actually carry firearms. And they cannot be loaded.
•Despite the militia requirement in Switzerland, the rate of gun ownership (by percentage) in the United States is much higher than in Switzerland.
•Males between 20 and 30 years of age are required to own firearms in Switzerland because they are the nation's well regulated milita. Switzerland has no standing army. It is their civilian militia (much like the intent of the American 2nd amendment) that defends their nation against foreign aggression.
•The vast majority of militia members are not even allowed to store ammo at home. And for the 2000 or so--that's right only 2000--militia members who do have ammo, it is sealed and inspected regularly.
•Switzerland's gun violence rate is fourth highest in the world. Surprised?

In reality, and perhaps ironically, and to the chagrin of the NRA, Switzerland is a fine model for the intent of the American Constitution's 2nd Amendment. They have a well-regulated militia instead of a standing army. They have universal background checks and universal licensing. They require firearm training before a gun can be owned. They have near total restrictions on the purchase and use of ammunition. In fact, they regulate and restrict much more than America does. Interesting.

http://www.politifact.com/...

http://en.wikipedia.org/...

http://www.ehow.com/...

Find out more at http://talktothemike.com/

Originally posted to talktothemike on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for educating us. The Swiss model is not (19+ / 0-)

    perfect, but it would be a great improvement over the US model.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:29:58 PM PST

    •  Interestingly, Switzerland falls just where (20+ / 0-)

      you would expect in terms of gun deaths per capita, based on the number of guns per capita.  Turns out the #1 predictor of guns deaths among countries with stable regulation and regimes is purely the number of guns.  In that plot, Switzerland falls right on the line.

      Ironically, this suggests that even with regulation and gun training, the number of deaths is not reduced.  Only reducing the availability of guns does that.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 09:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is the point (11+ / 0-)

        That even the well-meaning people here tend to forget. The number of guns MATTERS. Yes, registration and background checks and so on are a nice start. But to actually reduce gun violence, we must reduce the number of guns in circulation. I realize it is not popular, and will not win many elections in 2013-- but the answer really is buyback and confiscation.

      •  If we believe that people killed with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Texas Lefty, noway2

        guns are somehow more dead, that should be a massive cause for concern.

        However, Switzerland clocks in at 0.70 total homicides per 100,000 - an extremely low rate, even by the standards of Western Europe.

        Are you interested in saving lives, or in making sure teh ebil guns don't do it?

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:35:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ? I think you meany to say: guns don't kill ... nt (3+ / 0-)

          Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

          by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 04:06:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you intend to argue with a figment of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Panurge

            your imagination.

            I'm saying exactly what I intend to - that reasonable gun laws save lives, and that people with irrational and purely emotional relationships with guns who insist on denying plainly observable facts are of a kind no matter which positions they stake out.

            They aren't fighting about guns - they're having a purely irrational round of the American sport of "Culture War".

            Reality isn't ever part of that game.

            income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

            by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 05:13:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  well, yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          semiot, cotterperson

          if you want to prevent deaths, the general research is pretty clear that events with guns (both assaults and suicides) are more deadly, and reducing the numbers of guns in society reduces the number of deaths, especially from events like bar fights and arguments.   Really, this data is pretty unequivocal on this point.  The US could save thousands of lives a year by eliminating guns.  

          So, yes, this should be a massive cause for concern.  HOwever, many feel these excess deaths are an acceptable cost for society to pay to have guns easily available.  We make a similar decision with respect to the level of environmental regulation (which could be tighter, saving lives) and traffic (which could be made safer or abandoned, saving lives.

          So, the debate is precisely whether the thousands of lives loss should be a cause for massive concern.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:18:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

            This really gets to the true heart of the matter. A great many decisions like the ones you point out have costs and benefits, and it is reasonable to debate all of them.

            I see the benefits of transportation that could be said to justify some level of risk. I see the benefits of pesticides and fertilizers and fossil fuels and many other such things. They all deserve open discussions about how best to maximize the benefit and minimize the risk.

            Why are we not able to have this discussion about firearms in this country?

            (I, personally, would also welcome a reasonable explanation of the great benefit of firearms that justifies their availability in the face of their obvious risks. To date, no such pro-gun argument has ever been made.)

      •  Good data (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you for posting this and the link.

        Good data on guns is hard to come by - especially when looking at different countries around the world.  

        I did a similar analysis using what I felt to be the most reliable sources of data here in the US: the CDC (for numbers on gun injuries and gun deaths), and the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (FBI NICS)(as an indicator of gun sales - there being no better indicator of gun sales), and looked at trends in guns sales and gun injuries over time in the USA.

        What this revealed was a steady increase in gun sales since the FBI NICS was started in 1999, and a concomittant increase in both gunshot injuries and gunshot deaths over the same period.  Using linear regression, I showed there was a strong positive correlation of guns sales and gunshot injuries - meaning as gun sales increase, gunshot injuries will increase, and as gun sales drop, gunshot injuries will likewise drop.

        Interested reader can see the details here: http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Both my own study and the one you cite arrive at the same conclusion: injuries and deaths from guns will rise and fall with the availability of guns.

        I do think there is a role for regulations, such as licensing, registering gun ownership and gun sales, and criminal background checks.  Such efforts will discourage some people from obtaining and owning guns, thereby reducing gun availability.  And declines in gun availability will be accompanied by declines in gunshot injuries.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:14:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is one misstatement here. (13+ / 0-)
    The vast majority of militia members are not even allowed to store ammo at home. And for the 2000 or so--that's right only 2000--militia members who do have ammo, it is sealed and inspected regularly.
    They can't store government issue ammo at home, which is kept in the armory.   They can have as much personal ammo as they care to own.  

    Many hands make light work, but light hearts make heavy work the lightest of all.

    by SpamNunn on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:39:20 PM PST

  •  Say what? "they are the nation's well regulated (27+ / 0-)

    militia. Switzerland has no standing army. It is their civilian militia (much like the intent of the American 2nd amendment) that defends their nation against foreign aggression."

    You mean the 2A was meant against the Brits or other Europeans?  <<<<<< Cue in heads exploding. >>>>>>  You mean it is not meant to take up arms against our own Government?

    But, but - FREEDUUUUUM!

    /snark

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:42:15 PM PST

    •  it's about fear of slave rebellions & indian wars (7+ / 0-)

      always has been.

    •  The Ted Nugents of the gun world (0+ / 0-)

      Ted Nugent is very quick to tell us that he is a patriotic American and that he loves to go hunting with his guns.

      And when Ted Nugent was offered the opportunity to use powerful guns in the service of the nation he claims to love so much, he had an unusual response: he soiled himself, quite literally!!!  Ted shit his pants rather than serve in the military.

      Gun enthusiasts (like Ted) only like guns when they are the ones pointing the thing.  If there is any possibility that they could be at the receiving end of a gun, suddenly gun enthusiasts have no desire to be anywhere near a gun.

      Which to me is a reasonable and sane response to guns; much more sane than the gun enthusiasts' "I love guns so long as I'm the guy pointing the thing".

       

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:26:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They're allowed to store ammo at home. They're (5+ / 0-)

    no longer issued ammo for home.

    That's not the same thing.  Ammo is available.

    They have near total restrictions on the purchase and use of ammunition.
    No, they don't.  Any law abiding citizen who can pass a background check can buy most long guns.  

    The response to NRA bullshit needs to be accurate.

    income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

    by JesseCW on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:18:10 PM PST

    •  According to the sources in this article... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jane Lew, Kevskos, Smoh

      Ammo can be purchased at shooting ranges but must be expended at the shooting range. All other ammo must be registered with the government.

      As for long guns, are you referring to breech and muzzle loading black powder rifles? I agree, they can be purchased without a permit. I find it interesting that that very type of weapon is exactly what the American founders were familiar with when they penned the 2nd amendment.

      •  Not sure which article you mean (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, MGross

        I didn't see a link in your comment and you link to several in the diary.  But in any case, the Wikipedia link you have notes that ammunition at the range must be used at the range. (Whether everyone does that is another story.)

        But the link also notes that the only regulation on ammunition sales otherwise is that (1) hollow points are only for hunting purposes and (2) the buyer's name must be recorded in a bound book. That is a restriction, true, but it is far from "near total restrictions on the purchase and use of ammunition."

        Those are under the 1999 Gun Act per the Wikipedia article. As it notes, there were some changes in 2008. As for records of sale, I didn't find any change in my cursory research.

        I did find some other types of forbidden ammunition enumerated, though. You can read the 2008 Waffenverordnung's restrictions on ammunition types here: http://www.admin.ch/...

        Final thought: in the US, you also can buy a breechloading black powder weapon without any permit or licensing. You could order one in the mail or online without issue, in fact.

        •  There is a program for subsidized ammo for the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andalusi, MGross

          licensed shooting ranges, in order to promote marksmanship.

          The ammo purchased under that subsidized program must be used at the range.

          This seems to be the source of confusion.

          income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

          by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:31:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Permits aren't at all hard to get, and you don't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andalusi, MGross

        have to serve in the militia to get one.  Women and people physically unfit for military service are not excluded from owning firearms.

        "Long Gun" is a term that refer to firearm that is not a handgun.  A wide variety of rifles and shotguns, all too large to easily conceal.

        As far as not needing a permit - in Switzerland this applies to single shot breech loaders as well as muzzle loaders.  However - permits are very easy to get.

        Permits are a formality.  If you are a law abiding citizen with no history of dangerous mental illness, you just apply and you get one.

        You're confusing a government subsidized program providing very cheap ammunition for service weapons at ranges (all unused ammo purchased under this program must be left at the range) with ammunition in general.

        It's perfectly legal to purchase ammunition for a wide range of weapons at gun stores.  Each purchase is recorded by the dealer.  Hollow points are only allowed for hunting, armor piercing and some other exotic bullets are effectively banned.

        The answer to the outright lies of the NRA is not sloppy "reporting" that ignores the facts in favor of promoting an agenda.

        It's the truth.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:28:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well-intentioned Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, Glen The Plumber, john07801

    I believe the few misinformation errors were notintentional.

    Thank you for the end run around the Republican and NRA liars and charlatans.

  •  Do you have a reference for the statement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ray, noway2

    that Switzerland has the fourth  highest gun violence rate in the world? That's devastating if true, but I'd like to know where those stats are documented.

    •  Everything written in this post... (7+ / 0-)

      even if inaccurate comes from the sources listed at the end of the post. That particular piece of info comes from the Politifact site. According to them, and they cite gunpolicy.org, Switzerland is fourth behind the US, Greece and Ireland. (Gunpolicy.org now rates Switzerland as 3rd highest in the world.)

      •  UN figures (4+ / 0-)

        From the UN Office on Drugs and Crime you can download their report on the subject for 2011.

        The firearms homicide rate in Switzerland is .77 per 100,00 people. The rate in the US is 3.21. Of the countries listed, 12 are higher than Switzerland (including the US), and 5 are higher than the US.

        All of the ones higher than the US have stricter gun control than either the US or Switzerland, but to be fair the closest one of them to a first world democracy would be Mexico, at 9.97 per 100,000.

        Everything written in this post even if inaccurate comes from the sources listed at the end of the post
        Not sure that "even if inaccurate, I found it on the internet" and "I'm a teacher and I'm passing this on to my students" are things I want to hear together.
        •  Does this source work for you? (4+ / 0-)

          http://www.gunpolicy.org/...

          Obviously, there are a number of ways to use statistics. But I believe I have done due rigor here, specifically on this question.

          I take seriously how the Internet is used, but use it we must. I have weeded through a number of sources before writing this article and, in fact, have multiple sources for each statement in the article.

          •  Switzerland doesn't look so bad... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JR, andalusi, JesseCW, Smoh

            When you compare it to the right (Wrong?) countries:  http://www.gunpolicy.org/... (Same site, different choice of countries)

          •  You've misused that site's chart (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Flying Goat, andalusi, JesseCW, MGross

            Switch out the countries and a completely different picture emerges. Common sense should tell you that there are a) more countries than the ones on your graph, and b) that many of those not on the list are likely--owing to recent instability, ethnic conflict or war--to have higher violence rates than Switzerland.

            The claim seems to be wildly inaccurate, and should be edited to reflect that fact.

            "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

            by JR on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 09:34:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  we should compare the US to countries at war...? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bensdad

              ... and countries involved in other types of instability to get a fair comparison for the amount of gun violence in the US...?

              Cheers.

              •  Didn't say that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW

                I said the claim the diarist made was inaccurate. (And having had a recent war is not the same as being "at war" in any case, so your counterpoint falls flat as well. I don't think we get to exclude post-war countries from the list of "countries of the world," do you?)

                Look, I completely agree that the comparisons are largely irrelevant, and that our levels of gun violence are unacceptable. I'll be standing in the cold in front of the state house in Annapolis in about eight hours (I really should get to bed, "Love Actually" be damned) to make that point to my legislators, and even a cursory glance at my comment history should be enough to establish my views on the subject. But I don't allow sympathy with a position to trump the need for accurate arguments, and the argument the diarist made--the specific, verifiable statement being claimed as truth--is just wrong. There is no metric by which you can accurately claim that "Switzerland's gun violence rate is fourth highest in the world" and even the citations he provided undermine his claim. Why waste the time to defend that?

                "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

                by JR on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:54:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm responding to your comment, not... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...to the diary in general.

                  My question seems a completely valid question considering your comment, and it could probably be slightly rephrased and accurately characterized as an accurate observation.

                  Congrats on the action tomorrow, tho' I don't see my question as discussing anything other than a comparison of US gun violence and that in other countries with high rates of gun violence.

                  Cheers.

              •  We have lots of wars going on in the US (0+ / 0-)

                Afghanistan for sure but then there's the war on drugs, the war on Christmas, the war on obnoxious rightwing blowhards, the war on freedoms etc.

                "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

                by newfie on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:33:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andalusi
            I take seriously how the Internet is used, but use it we must. I have weeded through a number of sources before writing this article and, in fact, have multiple sources for each statement in the article.
            I agree. I may come across as ragging on you, but the subject matter is important enough that we (all of us) should be accurate as possible, both with our sources and our language. Errors taint the whole.

            So, if you say that Switzerland has strong ammunition controls because of a third-hand source and a copy of actual Swiss law says otherwise, it reduces the credibility of your sources in general, even though they may be right on other particulars. Similarly, your claim for the 4th highest gun homicide rate in Switzerland was based on a very specific selection of countries, while the claim was a broad "4th highest in the world", which is not the case. This would be an instance where listing the countries or the characteristics of the countries on the list would have eliminated a large number of comments on that statement's accuracy.

            On the matter of percentage of guns owner, I believe you are correct. My original question was not saying you were wrong, it just seemed odd considering their system. After digging around, the numbers I was able to find approximate yours. Here is another article on their system, attitudes and some of their own gun violence:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

        •  Misleading or Erroneous (0+ / 0-)

          Your link is for the UN's "2011 Global Study on Homicide".

          Homicide is different from gun injuries and gun deaths: homicide may include gun deaths, but should in no way be considered equivalent to deaths due to guns.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:33:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Mostly suicides (0+ / 0-)

      "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

      by Texas Lefty on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:48:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So suicides don't count? WTF? n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos

        Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

        by DefendOurConstitution on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 09:13:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, they don't. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steve Canella, noway2

          There are other methods of suicide. Banning an item that is convenient to it's execution will not diminish suicide rates.

          •  You could not be more wrong if you tried (14+ / 0-)

            Please provide a source to support your uninformed claim.

            Out here in the real world where we use actual data, the facts contradict you.

            Turns out that in the US, suicide attempt by firearm is about 80% successful, while attempts by poisoning or cutting are only about 3% successful (other more rare methods fall in between). Since mental health professionals consider that suicide attempts are often impulsive acts, it is clear that the method of attempt is a critical factor in reducing the rate of successful suicide.

            Suicide prevention is one of the primary benefits of strong gun control/firearms bans

            Miller, M; Azrael, D; Barber, C (2012 Apr). "Suicide mortality in the United States: the importance of attending to method in understanding population-level disparities in the burden of suicide.". Annual review of public health 33: 393–408. PMID 22224886.

            •  Thank you for this. nt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DefendOurConstitution, Smoh

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:56:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You're conflating parasuicide with suicide (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MGross

              which it makes it just about impossible to come to any useful policy decisions.

              People choose guns, ropes, and leaps from over 100 feet when they intend to kill themselves.

              People who cut or use pills are almost always making a cry for desperately (and sincerely) needed help.

              If fewer guns meant fewer suicides, Japan and South Korea wouldn't be at the top of the suicide charts and the US wouldn't be in the middle.

              income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

              by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:39:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your claim is ridiculous unless you have (0+ / 0-)

                A source (or 6). You have no idea how many parasuicides become real suicides because the gun is in the house. Give some stats or stop playing psychologist.

                Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

                by Smoh on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 05:37:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Stop pretending that facts are irrelevant. There (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MGross

                  are essentially no guns in private hands in Japan, and they've got the highest suicide rate in the world.  

                  Highly effective methods are available to anyone who wants to use them and is not on a 24 hour suicide watch.

                  No one uses a gun in a parasuicide. That completely misses the point of what parasuicide is.  Anyone over the age of 10 understand that pointing a gun at your head and pulling the trigger is final.

                  When people intend to kill themselves, they pick the most effective method available.  In India, that's pesticides.  In Australia, it used to be guns but is now hanging.

                  Through the 1980's in Australia, gun suicides dropped as fewer and fewer Australians owned guns.  Suicide by hanging, however, increased enough to more than make up the difference.

                  Heavily restricting firearms didn't lower their suicide rate.  They had to institute a national suicide prevention strategy to do that (and it's working).

                  There has to come a time when the NRA and their inverse number both stop ignoring the facts.

                  Countries awash in unregulated guns have very high murder rates.  This is a cold hard fact that gun fetishists refuse to recognize, in the face of overwhelming evidence.

                  Guns do not reduce crime, no matter how passionately they believe it.

                  There is no correlation between suicide rates and availability of firearms, and this is a cold hard fact that people who have morphed guns into demonic forces refuse to recognize.

                  Access to guns does not increase the suicide rate, in and of itself, no matter how passionately they believe it.

                  US - Guns fucking everywhere in hands they shouldn't be - middle of the pack on suicide.

                  Japan and North Korea - No guns at all, top of the list.

                  Finland - fairly high number of guns, better regulated than the US, near the top of the list.

                  Switzerland - Fairly high number of guns, middle of the pack.

                  The leading cause of suicide is untreated depression.  

                  The correlation to high suicide rates in other countries isn't tied to firearms - it's tied to the social stigma against seeking mental health care.  The greater that cultural baggage, the more people kill themselves.

                  Men in America kill themselves 4.5 times more often than women.  Do you think this is because men are far more likely to have access to firearms? (not the case)

                  Or do you think this just might be because there is a far greater stigma against men seeking mental health care?

                  We can pretend that gun laws can stop suicide, and waste time while people die like Australia did, or we can make sure mental health care is available to everyone who needs it while striving to erase the stigma that prevents people from seeking it out.

                  Gun control and suicide prevention simply are not the same issue.

                  income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                  by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:19:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your post (0+ / 0-)

                    Is simply full of factual inaccuracies, but you did write one meaningful thing:

                    "When people intend to kill themselves, they pick the most effective method available."

                    As suicide is often an impulsive act, this has a tendency to be true. When guns (~80-90% effective) are available, they are chosen. When they're not, suffocation/hanging (~60-70% effective) or falls from a height (~30% effective) are.

                    This is borne out by the Australian experience which you cite but somehow manage to get completely wrong.

                    "Considered nationally, the falls in suicide were due to significant reductions in shooting, gassing and poisoning, and occurred despite an increase in suicide by hanging....[] . These results are consistent with the hypothesis that that measures to control the availability of firearms, the requirement for new cars to be fitted with catalytic converters and the decline in the prescription of tricyclic antidepressants have resulted in a decline in total suicide rates." This study found that while suicidal ideation and even attempts did not fall, the drop in suicide rate seen for Australia was due to the decreased lethality of the available options after firearms less available.

                    (Large MM, Nielssen OB.Suicide in Australia: meta-analysis of rates and methods of suicide between 1988 and 2007.Med J Aust. 2010 Apr 19;192(8):432-7.)

                    The odds of unsuccessful suicide attempt are increased when guns are not available. This is FACT, unlike most of what you have posted here.

                    Gun laws can and do reduce the success rate of suicide attempts. I realize this is an uncomfortable fact for some but it is best to be honest.

                    Certainly, improved access to mental health is important but in the presence of guns fewer people will ever make it to the psychiatrist's office. The authors of the above paper put it better:

                    "The limited capacity to predict who will commit suicide is evident from the statistic that more than 2% of the Australian population experience suicidal ideas in any given year, but fewer than one in 10 000 complete suicide. Hence, the intervention that would be most likely to further reduce the rate of suicide would be to further limit the availability of lethal means"

                    •  Nielssen's paper used data through 2007. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW

                      Suicide rates have since rebounded (although not to the levels seen in decades past.)  Then there's also the fact that suicide by firearms was a small percentage of total suicides as far back as 1997 (PDF)

                      There's also the fact the decline of this relatively small segment began well prior to the implementation of tighter gun control (PDF)

                    •  Again. Most "failed" jumping and hanging (0+ / 0-)

                      attempts weren't attempts.  They were parasuicide.  

                      You're simply pretending that this does not exist.  You're dedicated to the proposition that the person who leaps from a second floor window is just as intent on comitting suicide as the person who leaps from a 200 foot office tower.

                      The overwhelming majority of suicide "attempts" are parasuicide.  They are not suicide attempts.

                      Australian suicides by year -

                      2010: 2,359
                      2009: 2,284
                      2008: 2,340
                      2007: 2,227
                      2006: 2,118
                      2005: 2,101
                      2004: 2,098
                      2003: 2,213
                      2002: 2,320
                      2001: 2,454
                      2000: 2,363
                      1999: 2,492
                      1998: 2,683
                      1997: 2,720
                      1996: 2,393
                      1995: 2,368
                      1994: 2,258
                      1993: 2,081
                      1992: 2,294
                      1991: 2,360
                      1990: 2,161
                      1989: 2,096
                      1988: 2,197

                      http://www.gunpolicy.org/...

                      It took 5 years for them to get back to normal after the severe firearm restriction laws went into effect.  Now, you might argue that's got to do with compliance, or that guns were still out there, or....

                      but here are gun suicides.  They went down, while suicides went up.

                      2010: 162
                      2009: 169
                      2008: 183
                      2007: 190
                      2006: 181
                      2005: 147
                      2004: 167
                      2003: 193
                      2002: 217
                      2001: 261
                      2000: 222
                      1999: 269
                      1998: 235
                      1997: 329
                      1996: 382
                      1995: 388
                      1994: 420
                      1993: 431
                      1992: 488
                      1991: 505
                      1990: 486
                      1989: 450
                      1988: 521

                      That's the gun suicide rate.  You can see that it was already tanking drastically, and kept right on tanking.

                      80% of all firearm suicide deaths in the US are white males.  White women have an almost identical degree of access to firearms.  They rarely use them.

                      If access to firearms changes parasuicide into suicide, why does this only apply to one gender?

                      Why are white males 12 times more likely to kill themselves when they "attempt" suicide than white women?  They live in the same homes, the same distance from the gun cabinet.

                      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:37:30 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You have no idea (0+ / 0-)

                        what you're talking about.

                        How are you able to conclude that "failed hangings and jumps were "parasuicide""? Did you examine the patients afterwards? Did you read a study in which this was done? Are you even board certified in psychiatry (like I am?)

                        Your easy dismissal of suicide attempts that are unsuccessful as "must be parasuicide" ignores what actual data and mental health professionals have shown over decades of actual research: suicide is most often an impulsive act. When a gun is around, many (mostly men, as they're more prone to the violent methods) use them. When they're not, they may try less lethal methods.

                        I am enjoying the hubris that has you pretending to know better than the editors at NEJM and so on, though.

                        I will also point out that you posted numbers, not rates. The suicide rate in Australia has decreased with strict gun control. As one would fully expect with substitution of less lethal methods, some but not all suicide attempts were converted into failed suicides. This is consistent with what I have been explaining to you, and the opposite of what you proposed.

                        If what you claim were true, you would expect no change in the overall suicide rate with fewer guns because anyone who is "really serious" will always manage to kill themselves. And yet, the overall (non-firearm) suicide RATE in Australia fell by 27% by 2006!

                        It is true that men are more prone to violence (including self-violence) than women. You're hardly breaking new ground there.

                    •  If you'd like to question any of my facts, please (0+ / 0-)

                      point what you've got a problem with.

                      I can back them up.

                      You're left hanging with the proposition that a person who slits their wrist side to side and shallow has the same intent as a person who jumps from the Brooklyn Bridge.

                      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:42:01 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your "facts" (0+ / 0-)

                        You claim to somehow omnisciently know which suicide attempts are "real" and which are "parasuicide", when even trained professionals don't know (and usually the patients themselves don't know). That is not "fact", it is your self-serving supposition.

                        You posted raw numbers but not rates, which do in fact show a drop in Australia's OVERALL successful suicide rate by nearly one-third in the decade following strict gun control.

                        So, yes, I have a problem with your "facts".

                        •  You're now arguing with claims not made. It took (0+ / 0-)

                          five years for suicide rates to get back below the pre-restriction level.

                          I haven't argued at all that it has not fallen.  It has.  And it's because of a massive national effort to reduce it.

                          In the US, the rate of homes with guns has been falling for thirty years. It peaked in 1977 at 54% and in 2011 was at 32.2 .

                          http://www.upi.com/...

                          What has happened to the suicide rate?

                          http://www.suicide.org/...

                          From 13.2 in 1980 to 10.8 in 2003.  This, even though we've had massive demographic shifts.  Whites, who commit suicide at twice the rate of some other ethnic groups, now make up much less of the population.

                          Gun fetishists think a gun is answer to every problem.  Their mirror images think guns are the cause of every problem.

                          income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                          by JesseCW on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:21:03 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Your error (0+ / 0-)

                --and it is a major one-- is assuming that there is only one factor in suicide. Suicide is a multifactorial problem: cultural, medical, practical. Reducing the lethality of available methods is one major way of converting successful suicides into patients in treatment. This is borne out by the available research and not just someone's suppositions (the best controlled example is Australia, as I post below).

                •  Wait. So the correlation between gun access (0+ / 0-)

                  as gun crime is valid evidence.

                  The total lack of correlation between gun access and gun suicide is irrelevant.

                  I can see by your efforts to distort plain facts from Australia that this isn't about truth for you.

                  Suicide rates did not fall their until they stopped treating the issue as a "gun problem".  You want to completely ignore massive increases in suicide prevention funding, simply because you don't like the where the truth leads.

                  income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                  by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:07:19 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                    There is a strong correlation between gun access and gun suicide. Did you miss seeing that data or are you ignoring that?

                    I am the one posting the facts (and the peer-reviewed references containing them) about Australia's experience... apparently you're not very interested in the truth yourself. Because, to you, there's no way that having a gun vs not having a gun could possibly change what happens to a mentally unstable person, no siree.

            •  O rly? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankRose

              "Suicide prevention is one of the primary benefits of strong gun control/firearms bans"

              Japan has an almost total ban on guns, and the highest suicide rate on Earth. Must not be a very significant benefit.

          •  Erroneous (0+ / 0-)
            Banning an item that is convenient to it's execution will not diminish suicide rates.
            You statement is wrong on the facts.  Objective empirc studies of suicide tell us that removing an opportunity to kill oneself reduces the number of completed suicides.  

            That is why they put tall fences on high bridges or around the public observation platforms of tall buildings.
             

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:38:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You cannot remove the opportunity (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankRose

              to commit suicide.

              Rope, pestacides and a warm bath with a razor are all very effective methods having little to do with guns.

              If you remove guns, another method will be chosen in their place, for those who actually intend to kill themselves, versus crying for help.

              •  Wrong again (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mudfud27

                It is entirely possible - and done on a regular basis - to reduce opportunities to commit suicide.

                Again, that is why bridge builders put high fences on the pedestrian walkways of tall bridges: to reduce the opportunity to commit suicide.

                Without the tall fences, people jump off the bridge to their deaths.  With the fences in place, fewer people are able to jump off the bridge to their death.

                Some of those thwarted jumpers find other ways to kill themselves.  You are correct that it is not possible to eliminate ALL methods of killing oneself.

                Objective empirc studies of people who have tried but failed to kill themselves shows us that the MAJORITY of people who have been blocked in a suicide attempt DO NOT die by suicide, nor even make subsequent attmepts at suicide.  So there is evidence that blocking or stopping a suicide attempt does indeed save lives.

                Besides, do you really want to be the guy yelling "Jump!" at the poor soul standing on a high ledge, just so you aren't inconvenienced in your playing with your guns?

                "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:19:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Japan has a higher suicide rate than the US & (0+ / 0-)

                  virtually zero firearms.

                  "inconvenienced"
                  Is warrantless wiretaps simply an 'inconvenience' as well?
                  I don't find liberties to be inconveniences. Why do you?

                  Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                  by FrankRose on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:42:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The fact that Japan has a higher rate (0+ / 0-)

                    The fact that Japan has a higher rate of suicide (can you please provide a supporting reference?) is not an argument for ignoring or eliminating gun laws here in the USA.

                    While guns sales have increased every year since 2000, Americans have seen increased restrictions on a wide number of civil rights.  So more guns DOES NOT result in more rights, freedoms, or liberties.

                    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 11:30:48 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Your answer to this: (0+ / 0-)

                      "Americans have seen increased restrictions on a wide number of civil rights."

                      ......is to push for more restrictions on rights?!?

                      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                      by FrankRose on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 11:52:10 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  30,000+ dead would like to enjoy rights (0+ / 0-)

                        Last year, more than 30,000 Americans died due to gunshot injuries.

                        Those 30,000+ dead Americans would like to enjoy their civil rights, and would be doing so today were it not for their needless and preventable deaths due to guns.

                        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:43:33 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Over twice as many people were murdered (0+ / 0-)

                          with bare hands than with all rifles combined. Over six times as many people were murdered with knives than by all rifles combined.

                          If you want to focus on objects instead of murderers, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

                          Further, 3000 people who died on 911 would like to enjoy rights......as such I assume that you are all in favor of the Patriot Act & warrantless wiretaps.

                          For the record I'm not in favor of either the Patriot Act or warrantless wiretaps or AWB, all for the same reason:
                          I do not believe in taking rights from innocent Americans for the acts of murderers.
                          You do.

                          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                          by FrankRose on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 10:53:29 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Guns and murders (0+ / 0-)

                            Guns are the instrument of choice for murderers: over 60% of all murders are accomplished by guns.  For every murder accomplished with bare hands, ten or more are accomplished with a gun.

                            If we would like to try and increase the number of people who are able to enjoy their civil rights, reducing the  number of guns available to the public is a good way to do this - because the scientific evidence shows us that the number of guns is positively correlated with the number of gun injuries and gun deaths.

                            As you point out, rifles are rarely used to kill Americans.  I suggest that gun enthusiasts be allowed to keep and bare muzzle-loading flintlock long rifles, just as our founding fathers intended in the constitution.

                            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:13:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your proposal is irrelevent. (0+ / 0-)

                            As is your laughable interpretation of what the founding fathers intended.

                            You want to take liberties from innocent Americans for your irrational fears.
                            I don't.

                            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                            by FrankRose on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:53:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  None of those methods (0+ / 0-)

                are as effective as a gun. They all present more opportunity for rescue than a gun. This is documented fact (as well as simple common sense).

                Why, in your love for guns, are you so willing to ignore fact, reason, and logic?

            •  Correct. (0+ / 0-)

              And, apparently, an uncomfortable fact for some people here. I wonder why.

        •  Never said that (0+ / 0-)

          "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

          by Texas Lefty on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 09:30:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Dis-counting deaths (0+ / 0-)

          To partisan gun enthusiasts, the over 30,000 American deaths due to gun fire every year should be discounted or ignored because some of those deaths are suicides.

          Of course, a person dead by suicide is just as dead as a person dead by homicide,  And while homicides are needless and preventable deaths, so too are suicides.

          And nowadays, a good many of those who kill themselves are active duty military personnel or service veterans

          So that they will never be in any way inconvenienced in their gun play, some gun enthusiasts would prefer that large numbers of Americans shoot themselves.

          Which, to me, is kind of like those people who shout "Jump!" to the guy standing on a high ledge.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:50:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  4th highest in the world? (3+ / 0-)

    Switzerland's gun violence rate is 4th highest in the world? Is that a typo? And if not, why is Switzerland being looked to for what works?

  •  Query and clarifications (5+ / 0-)

    Being on the pointy end of the gun debate, I've looked into this quite a bit as well, and most of the diary is correct.

    Despite the militia requirement in Switzerland, the rate of gun ownership (by percentage) in the United States is much higher than in Switzerland.
    This, however, I am wondering about. If every adult male has a rifle (and most of them do keep their issue weapon after leaving the reserves), and women are allowed (but not required to be) in the reserves and may also keep their weapons, it would seem mathematically difficult for the US to have a "much higher" percentage of people who own guns.
    They have near total restrictions on the purchase and use of ammunition.
    From the copy of Swiss law that I have, the only ammunition requirement is proof of age. You must meet the qualifications for general weapon ownership (age, not being criminally barred, etc), but proof of age/Swiss identity is the only thing you have to show at time of an ammunition purchase.

    Some additional bullet points to add:
    • The Swiss government actively supports civilian firearms ownership and training
    • Switzerland is home to the largest yearly shooting competition in the world
    • Transfers between individuals do not require a background check, but do require personal record-keeping of the transfer
    • Some firearms are limited in the number of them that you may own
    • However, Swiss law guarantees that someone who is not prohibited from owning weapons may own an unlimited number of the non-limited weapon types

    This information can be found online directly from the Swiss government, an example of which is here, so you do not have to use third party sources as reference.

    •  Thanks for the great info. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      As for the comparative gun ownership...I have found numerous sources. If you Google it you will find it restated in hundreds of papers. The most reliable might be the BBC and the Associated Press. CNS, a news source designed specifically to address the "shortcomings" of the liberal media bias, also makes that claim.

      "According to the latest Small Arms Survey conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the U.S. tops the world in civilian gun ownership. We have 89 guns for ever 100 residents. That’s well above Yemen’s second place rate of 55 guns per 100 and nearly twice the rate of Switzerland which comes in third at 46 guns per 100 residents." - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/...

      •  Conflation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JR, JesseCW

        You did not say "guns per capita", you said

        the rate of gun ownership (by percentage)
        These are two very different things. If there are 10 guns and 10 people, that tells us nothing of the percentage of people who own those guns. It could be one per person, or one person with all 10 guns.

        You may be correct in that the US has a higher per capita number of guns in circulation, but that is not what you said. But as the diary creator, you have the option to edit it to be correct.

        •  I'm not sure what you are trying to say here but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling

          Whether you want to read my words as a percentage of households with guns (my intent) or percentage of the population who own guns (similar intent) or comparative percentage of guns in the population (not my intent, though it seems to be yours), I stand by the statement as true. Yes, the per capita rate of guns in America is much higher than Switzerland and that could be because of the hypothetical you list above. But I did not misstate my point that the percentage rate of gun owning households in America is also much higher than that of Switzerland: about 45% of American households and about 28% of Swiss households. America has more guns, more houses with guns and more individuals who own guns, both in terms of raw numbers and in terms of rate--no matter how you measure it.  But as the author of this diary I took your challenge, redid the research and came to the same answers and am confident that the way I stated this point is accurate. Or I am mistaken and you can show me a source instead of a hypothetical to disprove me. Then I will stand corrected.

      •  Question about loaded carry (0+ / 0-)

        None of the sources you provided, nor this one from Shamash, mentioned any restriction on loaded carry for those licensed to bear arms in public. May I ask your source for that information? Having a license to carry for protection, but not being allowed to load the weapon, seems to be directly in conflict with the purpose of the permit being granted in the first place.

        Or is this perhaps confusion with the general restriction on transporting loaded firearms in Switzerland?

    •  I believe that this (0+ / 0-)
      Transfers between individuals do not require a background check, but do require personal record-keeping of the transfer
      changed in the last few years.

      Other than that, on point.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:41:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Last I checked, Switzerland's gun crime rate (4+ / 0-)

    was so low, it was rare for statistics to be kept. It was a Foreign Policy newsletter article; I'll see if I can dig it up again.

    But otherwise, thank you for bringing up the Swiss model, which is something I've been pushing for months here to little avail. Maybe if someone with a "shut down the NRA!" membership tag says the same thing, then magically the listen-ears will turn on. :-)

    •  The majority of Swiss gun deaths are suicides (5+ / 0-)

      3.84 total firearm deaths per 100,000

      3.15 firearm suicides per 100,000
      0.52 firearm homicides per 100,000
      0.10 unintentional firearm deaths per 100,000
      0.07 undetermined firearm deaths per 100,000

      Link

      "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

      by Texas Lefty on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:34:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and so what? (3+ / 0-)

        Are you saying suicides don't really count as death-by-gun?

        I followed your link and the only two European countries that have a higher rate of gun deaths are Serbia and Montenegro.

        If you subtract out suicides and unintentional gun deaths and undetermined and just look at homicides, there are four European countries with a higher rate of homicide by gun -- Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Greece. (Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia were former parts of Yugoslavia, involved in a bloody civil war in the 1990s, so I suspect a lot of people still have guns there.)

        “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

        by Dbug on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:57:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was responding to a gun crime post (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andalusi, JesseCW

          Suicide is not a crime. Of course they count as a firearm death; I included all firearm deaths in my numbers.

          "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

          by Texas Lefty on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:13:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it can be argued that suicides by gun (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Texas Lefty

          might have happened anyway even without the gun being present. Someone suffering from such depression would also be apt to use a rope or O.D., etc, if guns weren't around-- so you can't say that those deaths can be solely attributable to guns.

          The flipside is that methods such as poison, cutting wrists, hanging, etc take time so there is opportunity for someone to intervene and save the would-be suicide... but again, if they go on to kill themselves by other means then again the arguments become moot.

          Face it, with suicide, there are other, deeper problems that have taken root long before we start arguing over the means. Debating the means is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

          •  But even if you exclude suicides (0+ / 0-)

            The number of homicides by gun in Switzerland is higher than in most other European countries. A lot of Swiss citizens have guns and the murder-by-gun rate is higher than most other European countries. And the suicide rate by gun is higher than in most other European countries. People have guns there. So they have a higher murder rate and a higher suicide rate.

            Let me guess, you're going to tell me that gun control doesn't work because Switzerland makes people register their guns and the country keeps track of ammunition, right? So you will say, I'm guessing, that because they have some gun control, that means gun control doesn't work.

            Are you saying that it's good that lots of Swiss citizens have guns? Or are you saying it's bad that Switzerland has lot of laws controlling the ownership of guns and ammunition?

            "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

            by Dbug on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 10:12:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They do not have a higher murder rate or a (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catesby, notrouble, MGross

              higher suicide rate.

              People have guns there. So they have a higher murder rate and a higher suicide rate.
              Their murder rate is very, very low and their suicide rate is below average for Western Europe.

              You're leaping to the conclusion that having far more firearm homicides per capita than France or Great Britain means they have more homicides.

              It's doesn't.  They don't.

              Murder rates

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              0.7 for Switzerland, 1.2 for the UK.

              Suicide rates

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              11.1 Switzerland, 11.8 UK.

              income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

              by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:56:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You know, telling me what I think about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Texas Lefty, noway2

              gun control is about as smart as me telling you what you think about guns and gun owners. Sure, I might believe I have a good guess on your point of view given your tone, but I'm containing my opinion until I know more.

              Actually, rudely assumptive person, my angle is that training makes a huge difference-- training and familiarity. A person should know what they're doing not only with the mechanics of the weapon, but also the legalities of its use. A registry is something that I wouldn't mind overall, except it is important to remember that a registry does nothing  to prevent crime, it just makes it easier for authorities to track criminal use of a weapon post facto; and also it would be hard to sell the notion of a national registry in the US because of associations with arbitrary confiscations in the past (state and city registries in the past, implemented "only for crime tracking", ended up being used for blanket confiscations even against non-criminal gun owners). So there's a trust gap.

              My opinions about firearms and associated laws are far, far more nuanced than your attempt to corral me into some category that is easily summed up and dismissed by an arrogant presumption. By all means you can look through comments here or in other gun diaries I have commented in, or even the gun diaries I myself have posted. Unless it is just easier for you to shorthand people into irrelevance for the sin of having another take on an issue than you.

          •  You could argue that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dbug, elfling

            But it would be wrong. Suicide is very (difficult to say "most") often an impulsive, desperate act. The failure of an initial suicide attempt is a tremendously important opportunity for intervention.

            In the US, suicide attempt by firearm is about 80% successful, while attempts by poisoning or cutting are only about 3% successful (other more rare methods fall in between). It is therefore clear that the method of attempt is a critical factor in reducing the rate of successful suicide.

            Suicide prevention is one of the primary benefits of strong gun control/firearms bans

            Miller, M; Azrael, D; Barber, C (2012 Apr). "Suicide mortality in the United States: the importance of attending to method in understanding population-level disparities in the burden of suicide.". Annual review of public health 33: 393–408. PMID 22224886.

            •  And no matter how many times you copy paste (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Texas Lefty

              the same argument, there is no link between international rates of firearm ownership and international rates of suicide.

              income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

              by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:57:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And yet (0+ / 0-)

                There is a link between suicide attempts with firearms and successful suicide attempts, which was my point.

                Reduced access to firearms means reduced success rate in suicides, nationally and internationally.

            •  If you look carefully, you'll see (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Texas Lefty

              that I recognized that a gun is more likely to succeed, whereas other means are less likely to succeed. I admit that, of suicide means, firearms are pretty certain ways to end oneself.

              But I'm also saying that a suicide intervention can be meaningless if the person goes on to try it again... and again...

              In any case, the fact that a person is contemplating, and trying to carry out, suicide is the problem we should be rooting out. Because I know that no one here is trying to argue that only suicide with guns is "bad", but suicide by rope, car exhaust, pills, etc are "okay" and tolerable by society. 'Cause that would be crazy talk.

              •  The point is (0+ / 0-)

                Most people do not "go on to try it again... and again". Most people who make a suicide attempt try once. If that once is with a gun, there is much less chance to intervene.

                The way we "root out" the problem that a person is contemplating suicide is by identifying and intervening with the person at risk. Most often the identification only comes with a suicidal gesture. There is no denying the fact that if that gesture is made with a gun, intervention is vastly less likely to be possible than if that initial gesture is made with a toxin, cutting, car exhauset, etc.

                (As a physician I know I'd rather treat an overdose than a GSW.)

                Your argument is fine as far as it goes but it posits some kind of omniscience on the part of family, friends, and mental health professionals that simply doesn't exist.

                •  Suicide is a problem we have kept (0+ / 0-)

                  hidden, or just beneath the surface, for some time. Only recently, with the rash of veteran's suicides, has it (finally) been getting any traction. My Army Reserve group is constantly saying the same things you are pointing out: ask, monitor, ask again... intervene when necessary. But even now we're just learning how to do these things, and only recently has it become sorta-kinda-partially OK to talk about all this out loud.

                  Which is another reason why I'm not afraid of, and quietly looking forward to the results of, Obama's lifting of the stoppage on federal research at CDC into firearm deaths as a health issue-- because the stats are something like 2/3's or so of gun deaths are suicides. If the CDC investigates gun deaths, then they will de facto be investigating suicide, and it's about damn time.

                  I'm not against gun control as long as it is smart, rational, respectfully implemented and relevant. But I also say that logic has to take into account millions of safe, law-abiding, non-criminal firearms owners, and logic also means that we have to look at gun deaths not in a bubble of ideology based on liking guns or not liking them, but we also need to look at root causes like gun deaths as a result of crime, and what is causing the crime? Gun deaths as a result of suicide, and what is causing the suicide?

          •  There is no "might". When Australia massively (0+ / 0-)

            restricted firearms ownership, suicides went up for the next three years. (I am not for a moment suggesting the restrictions caused this).

            When they created and funded a national program to reduce suicide, it started going back down.

            income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

            by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:49:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  well maybe we have been talking past (3+ / 0-)

      each other...the above is much stricter than anything I or most  of the others have asked for...seriously.

      I guess the louder we yell...the less we hear each other.


      We are not broke, we are being robbed.

      by Glen The Plumber on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:38:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You want mandatory (0+ / 0-)

      national military service and mandatory firearms training for all citizens?

      I have to admit I do not hear that very often, especially from fellow progressives.

  •  google Swiss lumber company killing. (3+ / 0-)
    MENZNAU, Switzerland (AP) - A longtime employee opened fire at a wood-processing company in central Switzerland on Wednesday, leaving three people dead, including the assailant, in the country's second multiple-fatality shooting in two months, police said.
    Link

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:10:05 PM PST

  •  I think what matters is.... (2+ / 0-)

    ....how gun obsessed you are. In Switzerland, it is mandated. In the U.S., guns are part of our popular culture, which is to say, they are very, very popular. The result is high rates of gun deaths.

    Our rate is higher because we are less peaceable, more aggressive and just plain fucking crazier.

    It is true that background checks won't do that. But ANY check of ANY kind may save one life, like Christina Green's.  We can no longer do nothing.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:17:11 AM PST

    •  Switzerland, Canada, Finland, Germany, Norway (0+ / 0-)

      Sweden, and Iceland have gun cultures.

      The US has largely degenerated into a gun cult.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:59:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As someone who lives in Iceland, (0+ / 0-)

        but grew up in the US, I'd say that's a good distinction.  Guns are legal here, and ownership isn't trivial.  But they're highly restricted and few think they should be otherwise.

  •  Switzerland doesn't really need an army... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution

    They are neutral.  If anyone were to threaten them, then NATO would come to their aid.

    They could use their "militia" much like we do our National Guard.  Well the way we used them before the Iraq war that is.

    The second amendment is not really meant to fight off tyranny, it was more for the South so they could still have their slave patrols.

    •  NATO does not exist to safeguard neutral (0+ / 0-)

      nations.

      The second amendment is not really meant to fight off tyranny, it was more for the South so they could still have their slave patrols.
      Right.  Because we didn't have British armies at one end of the country and Spanish armies at the other, and we weren't engaged in ongoing warfare with scores of native nations from which we were stealing this continent.

      It was just slave patrols.  It must be.  You read it on Dailykos or something.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 04:01:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "not really meant to fight off tyranny" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      Not AT ALL meant to fight off tyranny.
      It was meant to prevent us from having to maintain a standing army.
      But, since we do maintain a standing Army and Navy and AirForce and Marines, the need for "an organized militia" is obsolete.
      And therefore, so is the Second Amendment.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 05:49:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  excellent point. No need for a Second (0+ / 0-)

    Amendment is the clearest argument.  No need.  Also no need for large magazines, extended clips, or semi-automatic weapons.  Automatics should be banned outside war zones.  Semi-automatics should be widely recognized to be artificial courage for fear-driven people, and banned permanently.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:15:55 AM PST

  •  The NRAzies can have universal gun ownership.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....like the Swiss have, when the US has an armed forces like the Swiss have.

    In the Fox News Christian Nation, public schools won't teach sex education and evolution; instead they'll have an NRA sponsored Shots for Tots: Gunz in Schoolz program.

    by xynz on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:56:17 AM PST

  •  Could we get some diary clean-up? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose

    If it's supposed to be clarifying facts about Switzerland's gun situation, it should actually be accurate facts.

    Some of the posters above have pointed out some significant problems.

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