Swiss citizens have cleared the way for tightening arms legislation and, at the same time, securing the whereabouts of their country in the Schengen area. On Sunday, about 64 percent of the Confederates voted in favor of the adoption of the weapons directive, which the European Union aggravated as a result of the terrorist attacks in Europe.
Although Switzerland is not part of the EU, as a member of the Schengen and Dublin countries, it is required to implement any changes to the law as well.
In case of rejection, the Schengen membership would automatically expire after six months.
Unless one could then have come to an agreement with the EU in the short term, Switzerland would have fallen out of the Schengen Information and Search System SIS.
In addition, strong barriers to travel and trade had threatened because the border with neighboring countries would have become a Schengen external border.
In addition to the right-wing conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP), all parties in Parliament had for security and economic policy reasons for the change of the firearms legislation.
The government voted in favor of negotiating with Brussels with reference to the special Swiss weapons tradition. For example, conscripts may continue to keep their assault rifles after military service.
The proponents of the weapon rights reform interpreted the clear vote of the population as a pro-European signal, which is also important in the context of the ongoing discussions on the conclusion of a framework agreement with the EU.
The SVP, which interprets the revision of arms law as an EU attack on the freedom and self-determination of Swiss citizens, has suffered another defeat six months before the parliamentary elections. In the autumn of 2018, the country’s electoral party had already failed with its self-determination initiative, with which it wanted to impose Swiss law on international law.