finem respice

Mark to Myth

Submitted by ep on Mon, 12/17/2012 - 18:47
i'm waiting for my appointment at the genius bar

There's nothing like a good gun tragedy in the United States to focus the always erudite political discourse in that country with a bit of rational and measured debate. Obviously, the truly awful events of last week there are no exception. Accordingly, it has been no surprise at all to encounter the oh-so-calm ministrations of pundits, a plethora of fact-based policy proposals all possessed of what will certainly be highly-effective non-half measures, the calm allocutions of dozens of well-informed legislators not at all having the effect of suggesting that a start-up venture providing Thorazine suppository vending machines in the nation's capital would be lucrative, and, how could one forget, the appearance of the noble visage of a weeping Chief Executive (his psyche so mortally wounded that his tearful countenance appeared at three different times in three different places in the same 24 hour period- perhaps the Secret Service should make sure he hasn't been too badly dehydrated from the near constant liquidity drain of his ceaseless lamentations), and all the normal trappings of a healthy, mature democracy. In fact, the effect was hardly limited to the United States, given that all these symptoms were projected to one in real time regardless of the jurisdiction in which one may at that moment have been sitting.

As is somewhat common during events of this kind, many of the aforementioned participants in this latest world stage production elected to dust off the example of Switzerland to make one point or another about firearms ownership, safety, crime, cuckoo-clocks (actually invented in Germany), Apple's theft of the Swiss railways clock face design, and the true origins of Swiss Cheese. Another group of the aforementioned participants hurriedly engaged in the traditional biennial attack on Switzerland for their own political purposes. Neither of these groups could be mistaken for being possessed of a scholarly attitude towards what one might so offensively label "facts."

In fact, the absolutely shameless use of Switzerland as ammunition in America's ongoing and rapidly devolving culture wars has been so extensive that one could be forgiven for wondering aloud if, even as the unusually erudite readership of finem respice reads these very words, Switzerland is not formulating plans to invade the United States built around the seizure of key media outlets by Fallschirmaufklärer Kompanie 17 (one wonders which of the Washington Post or the New York Times would put up firmer resistance).

Normally, such events would be beneath the literary notice of finem respice. Indeed, even in the face of persistent prompting by one close friend of finem respice and a referral to an outstanding Swiss myth-debunking piece by another, it was still possible to resist jumping into the fray. That was, that is, until, on December 14th, the field of battle was saturated in a thick, sticky literary miasma belched out by the industrial strength fog machine of American political discourse:

Ezra Klein.

Klein's piece "Mythbusting: Israel and Switzerland are Not Gun-Toting Utopias,"1 relies on an interview with Dr. Janet Rosenbaum in which she cites her research on the topic of Swiss and Israeli gun ownership and regulation2 in support of a vague set of propositions tending to suggest that popular (or unpopular) notions of the Swiss relationship to firearms are false (not to mention unpatriotic, mean-spirited, and having the overall effect of proving that the holder of such unfortunate ideas may urgently require psychiatric care). From the interview:

Ezra Klein: Israel and Switzerland are often mentioned as countries that prove that high rates of gun ownership don’t necessarily lead to high rates of gun crime. In fact, I wrote that on Friday. But you say your research shows that’s not true.

Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they don’t have high levels of gun ownership.

Always attentive to the import of credentials, the well-read finem respice reader will at this point likely regard with a hushed reverence the title "Doctor" that prepends the name of the intellectual juggernaut that is Janet Rosenbaum. The always over-educated finem respice reader will almost certainly reject as almost certainly baseless slights at the academic prowess of the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the State University of New York, where Dr. Rosenbaum is an Assistant Professor. Likewise, when in earshot of colleagues taken to wondering if Dr. Rosenbaum's Harvard A.B. in Physics and Mathematics, A.M. in Statistics, and Ph.D. in Health Policy and Statistics3 tell the world more about Dr. Rosenbaum or about Harvard University, the always even-tempered finem respice reader will discount such idle banter as pretty probably beneath her notice. By the same token, any snickering directed towards "Reborn a virgin: the validity of adolescents’ self-report of their risk behaviors and the efficacy of abstinence pledges as a marker for sexual activity," Dr. Rosenbaum's dissertation topic4 will be received by finem respice readers with chill distaste (after all, it was featured on Saturday Night Live).5

These are just some of the reasons that readers might search around in an effort to locate what must clearly have been misplaced figures and statistics (all impeccably researched and bracketed by dozens of footnotes and citations) in support of Dr. Rosenbaum's proposition. Readers will be certain that, somewhere, there must be some indication of exactly what levels of gun ownership Dr. Rosembaum would regard as "high," and where the Swiss figures rank on this scale and compared to other countries.

Alas, as difficult as it is to believe, we are apparently not worthy of these kinds of troublesome specifics (and, really, how cheeky of you to even ask). Of course, once confronted with shoddy "scholarship" the sage and wise finem respice reader is always hungry for actual figures from primary sources in the quest for truth and regards with great skepticism Doctorates awarded to "scholars" that seem based on "scholarship" most notable for a distinct paucity of hard data. Perhaps such statistics are exceedingly hard to come by. After all, it isn't like the Swiss have a reputation for meticulous (one might even go so far as to say fastidious) attitudes towards statistics and data, right?

Ah, but what luck! In this case there seems to be an exception to the usual rule related to lackadaisical Swiss records keeping!

As it happens, the Bundesamt für Statistik (The Swiss Federal Statistics Agency) estimated total privately held firearms in Switzerland at around 2,000,000 back in 2011.6

It is important, however, to note that these figures are an official estimate, since not all firearms in Switzerland are registered. Other, non-official (but seemingly well researched) estimates range up to 4,500,000 total firearms in households. More on this later.

Of these weapons, approximately 900,000 are former army rifles purchased by citizens after their mandatory service terms ended and only 260,000 are held by citizens in connection with their current mandatory service term.

One often finds it claimed by brilliant minds (like that of Dr. Rosenbaum) that figures on Swiss firearm ownership are entirely a result of current militia requirements, and that accordingly these figures should be ignored for the purposes of policy comparison and those attempting to cite them be first sterilized and then sent to camps for reeducation.

This bit about predominantly militia based firearms ownership seems a difficult claim to sustain given the actual figures (damn figures are always finding their way into every little crevice and causing serious irritation, you know) which reveal that 260,000 current militia issued weapons are only around 13.00% (or 5.78% if you take the high end of unofficial estimates) of Swiss firearms held by citizens.

It is of particular interest that collectively this means on the order of 1.2 million of the firearms in Swiss households are versions of the primary rifle used by the Swiss Army (i.e. dreaded and intrinsically evil "assault rifles," if that term actually has any meaning anymore). The most recent version is the Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft ("SIG") (but now called Swiss Arms AG) Sturmgewehr 90 (the "SIG 550" in the commercial market), though some of these former army weapons may actually be one of the 550's predecessors, the Sturmgewehr 57 (the "SIG 510") for example, or even earlier variants.


The Essence of Firearms Perfection: The SIG 550

 

Returning for a moment to the question of what the definition of "high" is, what do these Swiss figures look like vis-a-vis the rest of the world?

True, normally scholars interested in statistics on small arms would consult a reputable authority to collect reliable figures. Surely, therefore, Dr. Rosembaum's first instinct must have been to look in the most recent figures assembled by the outstanding "Small Arms Survey." There she would have found "Annexe 4. The Largest Civilian Firearms Arsenals for 178 Countries."7 A quick look would yield the following figures:


Figures from the Small Arms Survey (2007)

 

Digging a bit deeper we see that the Small Arms Survey picks 3,400,000 as the number for civilian-held firearms, but uses a population figure of about 7.4 million for Switzerland from 2005.

Accuracy and updated figures being of critical importance to a crack researcher,8 Dr. Rosenbaum would have struggled to find a reliable source for figures on the current Swiss Population. Of course, for reasons articulated supra, Dr. Rosenbaum would have immediately regarded any resort to official Swiss statistics as likely a waste of time, but, after long hours of combing over sources of data, she would be shocked to discover that for some unlikely reason Switzerland actually has tracked its population carefully going back to before 1970.

In fact, in an unexpected burst of concentration, the Bundesamt für Statistik appears to have produced and published up-to-the-year population figures in a section called "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Geschlecht," (Resident Population by Gender).9 Dr. Rosembaum no doubt found this highly convenient given that population by gender might be an important variable to use in drawing conclusions about firearms and Swiss society.

The Bundesamt für Statistik apparently has the temerity to suggest that at the end of 2011 the resident population in Switzerland was 7,954,700.

Using these figures and the Small Arms Survey estimates from 2007 (and assuming not a single additional militia rifle has been issued or new firearm sold in a private sale in the five years since then) we get a figure for firearms per 100 residents of between 28.9 and 56.6 in Switzerland.

Comparing lowest to lowest estimates for the countries in the Small Arms Survey, Switzerland is near the bottom of the top 10 (out of 178 countries total, i.e. in the top 5%). Comparing highest to highest Switzerland is fifth overall out of 178.

Of course Dr. Rosenbaum would be concerned that she had corrected Switzerland's population figures but left the 2005 population figures for the rest of the countries profiled in the Small Arms Survey. She would, obviously, set out to collect the correct population figures for 2011 for the remaining countries or, at least, make a note of the fact that the data is drawn from inconsistent sources. However, keeping old population stats would tend to make other countries per capita figures higher, and this should support her case that Switzerland is not unusual.

Even using the lower estimates for total firearms supplied by the normally listless and lazy Bundesamt für Statistik, one gets 25.14 firearms per 100 residents using the updated population figure for 2011. Even comparing this lower number for Switzerland to the higher average figures in the Small Arms Survey (with what are likely lower population figures given that they are six years old) Switzerland's civilian population is still more heavily armed than:

Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Kosovo, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Libya, Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Pakistan, Jordan, Brazil, Nicaragua, Iran, El Salvador, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Laos, Chad, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ethiopia... well... you get the idea.

Perhaps when Dr. Rosenbaum said "...don’t have high levels of gun ownership..." she meant compared to just the United States and Yemen (the only two countries on the standard Small Arms Survey list above Switzerland). Or perhaps that pesky research assistant from the department next door is posing as Dr. Rosembaum again when journalists from the Washington Post call.

Well, surely, the always slow to judge finem respice reader thinks to herself, the rest of Dr. Rosenbaum's interview is filled with inciteful, well-researched conclusions presented along with appropriate context. For example, what about:

For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence.

Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason.

The sage finem respice reader will, at this point, find that a soft sort of hum previously assumed to be florescent lighting is, in fact, a skeptical voice asking some very pointed questions about Dr. Rosenbaum- none of them particularly flattering.

Surely, Dr. Rosenbaum must have misspoke with respect to her assertion about a "right to a gun" being a non-idea in Switzerland. Surely, as she conducted her detailed research, she would have searched for experts to tell her about Switzerland and its laws. Or maybe hired an expensive attorney. If only there were a place where a body of text that outlines legal concepts in Switzerland for the fact-focused scholar to review. What a marvel that would be!

Ah... but wait! As it turns out, this priceless volume exists and is called the "Systematische Sammlung: Landesrecht" ("Systematic Collection of Federal Law"). Doubtless, Dr. Rosenbaum's attempts to access the poison-coated pages of this forbidden tomb were frustrated by the fact that it is cloistered away, deep in the dusty bowels of a highly obscure research library, hidden in a secret base in the Swiss Alps, a base guarded by fierce roving patrols (armed only with sharpened drinking straws, of course- the flexible accordion kind) and to which foreigners are mercilessly forbidden access.

Well, or you could just look it up online, where you'd find the "Bundesgesetz über Waffen, Waffenzubehör und Munition" (the "Federal Law on Weapons, Weapon Accessories and Ammunition"),10 Article 3 ("Recht auf Waffenerwerb, Waffenbesitz und Waffentragen" (loosely: "The right to acquire, possess and bear arms.") of which provides:

Das Recht auf Waffenerwerb, Waffenbesitz und Waffentragen ist im Rahmen dieses Gesetzes gewährleistet.11

Loosely:

The right to acquire, possess and bear arms is guaranteed under this Act.

Well, surely applicants must provide a valid justification for purchasing firearms before a license will be granted? Perhaps this is what Dr. Rosenbaum means by:

You need a reason.

If only there were a text somewhere that outlined any requirements to acquire firearms. Oh... wait! Our trusty text for Bundesgesetz über Waffen, Waffenzubehör und Munition might have something on this topic? And sure enough there is Article 8, "Waffenerwerbsscheinspflicht" ("Weapons Acquisition license") that provides:

Wer eine Waffe oder einen wesentlichen Waffenbestandteil erwerben will, benötigt einen Waffenerwerbsschein.

Die Person, die den Waffenerwerbsschein für eine Feuerwaffe nicht zu Sport-, Jagd- oder Sammelzwecken beantragt, muss den Erwerbsgrund angeben.12

Roughly:

Any person desiring to obtain a weapon or weapons components must have a weapons acquisition License.

Any person wishing to acquire a weapons acquisition license for any purpose other than sport, hunting or collecting must specify the reason for purchase.

Shockingly, in practice this works exactly like it reads. A "reason" is not necessary to specify at all when applying for a license to purchase firearms in Switzerland unless you intend to acquire one for unusual purposes. Amusingly, this means that the citizen heading out to buy a firearm has a lower paperwork threshold than a police officer (who is not using the weapon for sport, hunting or collecting).

This is a rather absurd bit of ineffectual paperworking that was injected into the Swiss law on firearms in 2008 to make the European Union think that Switzerland cares about these things during negotiations on Switzerland joining the Schengen agreement. It has literally no effect on civilian access to firearms unless the potential purchaser fills in something like "to become a figure of general menace in my neighborhood" in the "purpose" section.

Dr. Rosenbaum continues:

You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid.

Perhaps she is talking about Israel. There is no such requirement in Switzerland. Or perhaps Dr. Rosenbaum's German is rusty and she has confused this passage from Article 9(b):

Der Waffenerwerbsschein gilt für die ganze Schweiz und ermächtigt zum Erwerb einer einzigen Waffe oder eines einzigen wesentlichen Waffenbestandteils.

[...]

Der Waffenerwerbsschein ist sechs Monate gültig. Die zuständige Behörde kann die Gültigkeit um höchstens drei Monate verlängern.13

Essentially: The permit to acquire firearms is valid in all of Switzerland for the purchase of one firearm. It's valid for six months (you can wait that long to use it to buy a firearm) and can be renewed for three months. Once you have the weapon there's no renewal or "going back" to the "permitting authority."

Oh, but perhaps Dr. Rosenbaum meant the license to carry a weapon. This is covered by Article 27:

Wer eine Waffe an öffentlich zugänglichen Orten tragen oder sie transportieren will, benötigt eine Waffentragbewilligung. Diese ist mitzuführen und auf Verlangen den Polizei- oder den Zollorganen vorzuweisen.14

There is technically no "concealed carry" permit in Switzerland. Instead the "Waffentragbewilligung" ("license to carry") covers both concealed and open carry. Perhaps this requires a renewal every six months?

Die Bewilligung wird von der zuständigen Behörde des Wohnsitzkantons für eine bestimmte Waffenart und für längstens fünf Jahre erteilt. Sie gilt für die gesamte Schweiz und kann mit Auflagen verbunden werden.15

Issued by the kantons, valid all over Switzerland for five years. Hmmm. Nope. Guess not.

What other properties of the Swiss system can you tell us about Dr. Rosenbaum?

The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t.

As a friend of finem respice recently pointed out, when the Federal Government hands out select fire assault rifles to all incoming militia members and permits them to keep the rifle after service, and when you have a kantonal and federally sponsored national shooting event that draws around 200,000 people every year (the "Feldschiessen") it is pretty difficult to say that the government (kantonal or federal) isn't "promoting gun ownership." But your definitional mileage may vary.

In fact, so critical to the culture in Switzerland is the Feldschiessen that the Swiss suspend carry laws for people headed to the official kantonal and federal events16 and ammunition is provided for free by the kanton at some of the events.

Still, it goes on:

Switzerland has also been moving away from having widespread guns. The laws are done canton by canton, which is like a province.

As we have already seen there is a right to acquire, possess, and carry arms at the federal level, the kantons cannot unilaterally effect bans in the way that Dr. Rosenbaum seems to be suggesting. As to "moving away from having widespread guns," it is possible that Dr. Rosenbaum simply hasn't paid any attention to anything Swiss since before February 2011.

Back in 2007, when joining the European Union still seemed like it might still turn out to be a brilliant stroke of genius, anti-gun groups started to push legislative action and popular referendum to impose European-like gun controls in Switzerland.

The "Volksinitiative Für den Schutz vor Waffengewalt" ("Referendum on the Protection From Gun Violence") proposed to create a central registration system for firearms at the federal level, move all army weapons out of private homes and to a new armory, a "demonstration of need" requirement and a skills test to purchase weapons, and a number of other restrictive regulations.

As is their habit with respect to referendums, the Bundesrat (Federal Council) and Parliament weighed in with an advisory recommendation

Citizens should reject the measure.

It wasn't even close (119 to 69 against in the National Council and the Ständerat recommended rejection 30 to 11).

In the voting booklet for the referendum the governmental bodies indicated that they viewed the current regulations as sufficient to prevent weapons violence, that the initiative wasn't likely to be effective, and that the ready availability of weapons was critical to Swiss security. And here, a very interesting bit of prose:

Entscheidend für die Sicherheit ist nicht nur die Verfügbarkeit von Waffen, sondern namentlich auch der verantwortungsvolle Umgang mit ihnen. Diesen vermag jedoch auch ein Fähigkeitsnachweis nicht zu garantieren.17

Roughly: "Vital for security (of the confederation) is not only the availability of firearms, but also, in particular, their responsible use."

Can't train with what you don't have, you see.

The referendum went to the public in February of 2011 and was thoroughly thrashed.

Switzerland requires referendums to pass both the popular vote by a majority and also carry a majority of the kantons. The referendum lost the popular vote by 12.6 points and carried only 35% of the kantonal electoral votes.18 Gun control advocates have been oddly silent in Switzerland since the referendum.

But it doesn't end there for Dr. Rosenbaum:

Everyone in Switzerland serves in the army...

Well, not women, actually, who have the right to volunteer but are not subject to mandatory militia services. Strangely, and without any militia training, Swiss women are still able to buy, carry and use firearms, as well as (shockingly) vote, drive cars, and wear miniskirts.

Someone really ought to do something about all that.

...and the cantons used to let you have the guns at home. They’ve been moving to keeping the guns in depots. That means they’re not in the household, which makes sense because the literature shows us that if the gun is in the household, the risk goes up for everyone in the household.

Sharp readers of finem respice will notice the slick and evasive prose here. Dr. Rosenbaum doesn't directly claim that the possession of "guns" (and notice she does not limit her claim to military weapons) has been forbidden, but it seems suggested by her tone. Why else talk about risk? What's the difference if it's a military weapon or a handgun "in the household"?

And then there is this: "...used to let you..."? The kantons have no choice given the right to acquire, possess and carry granted by Swiss Federal law. In this context it is worth noting that even had the referendum passed possession of firearms by citizens wouldn't have been prohibited outright.

Then we have, again, this vague "moving to." One can only assume Dr. Rosenbaum means the failed-by-a-landslide referendum here.

The Klein-Rosenbaum article has been cited thousands and thousands of times in the last several days as standing for the proposition... well, once you read it, it is not abundantly clear what proposition it purports to stand for. Perhaps that Switzerland doesn't have a lot of guns and is shifting to progressive ideas about gun control? If so, this claim is demonstrably false and it is hard not to point a rude finger at Dr. Rosenbaum's scholarship (or lack thereof) and Mr. Klein's simply peerless incompetence in the area of fact checking.

The article has also had the effect of starting a virtual internet tempest of mis- and disinformation on the subject of Swiss guns laws, homicide and death rates related to firearms and the like. Shoddy work and a very lazy (or perhaps agenda skewed) correction instinct by one Dr. Mark Reid were front and center. [Dr. Reid has since corrected the erroneous data from Wikipedia. Alas, he uses new (and also erroneous) data from Wikipedia which overstates Swiss homicides by firearm by more than 100% Despite the correction the original erroneous chart still permeates and pollutes discussions of Swiss gun violence, obscuring the fact that homicides by firearm are among the lowest in Europe and far, far below the world average. Still, it is a step in the right direction- thank you Dr. Reid].

Dr. Reid is a "post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia."19 Not long ago he posted this chart purporting to show "Gun Deaths v. Gun Ownership."


R: Delicious. Scholarship: Absent.20

 

Excepting the fact that he used R, there is little to recommend this bit of "scholarship" either.

Dr. Reid seems to have pulled most of his data from the fantastically accurate and totally above reproach article on firearms deaths on that center of accurate scholarship excellence: Wikipedia.21

The original article used data on Switzerland from 1992-1994 and made one of the common mistakes that tend to trip up researchers in this area: The number of "homicide offenses" is not the same as "victims of homicide." Two people can be charged and convicted of homicide where only one death was involved. Unsurprisingly, both convictions will show as "firearms related homicide offense." WIth the Swiss data it's critical to look only the list of "victims of homicide." Fortunately, this data is readily available. For the last five years for which data is available they look like this:

Homicide victims (firearm):22

2006: 26
2007: 27
2008: 20
2009: 24
2010: 19

One can take a quick gut check on this data by cross referencing the 2009 breakdown of firearms homicide victims by firearm type. To wit:

2009 Fatalities (Breakdown by firearm type):23

Long Rifle: 1
Revolver: 1
Pistol: 6
Handgun (semi-auto): 16

Total: 24

Looks good.

Moving on to all firearms related deaths...

Firearm-related deaths by year (includes suicides):24

2006: 285
2007: 291
2008: 259
2009: 277
2010: 241

Using our old trusty friend 7,954,700 we can make per capita figures (by year):

Firearm Related Deaths Per 100,000 people:

2006: 3.5828
2007: 3.6582
2008: 3.2559
2009: 3.4822
2010: 3.0297

Homicide victims (firearm) Per 100,000 people:

2006: 0.3269
2007: 0.3394
2008: 0.2514
2009: 0.3017
2010: 0.2389

We should probably be aging these population data back to match the year of firearms death data, but unless there was a big Swiss baby boom in the last five years that no one has noticed the error is probably small.

So how exactly does this compare with other countries? Well, if we look at the data from the Wikipedia article that actually appears to have correct dates on it some interesting things emerge:

Homicide victims (firearm) Per 100,000 people:

Luxembourg 0.60 (2009)
Portugal 0.48 (2010)
Italy 0.36 (2009)
Ireland 0.36 (2010)
Belgium 0.29 (2006)
Finland 0.26 (2010)
France 0.22 (2009)
Denmark 0.22 (2006)
The Netherlands 0.20 (2010)

Namely, it becomes clear immediately that Dr. Reid's graphs (which have been linked to and tweeted around hundreds if not thousands of times) are badly off.

Always interested in attempting to correct the record, finem respice provided Dr. Reid with the real data and citations to source material he could fact check with. He seems entirely uninterested in correcting his error plagued graphs, unfortunately. Perhaps accuracy isn't a critical feature of Australian National University's post-doctoral students.

Likewise, Mr. Klein and Dr. Rosenbaum have thus far ignored correction requests and pointers to accurate data by finem respice. Alas, mythbustingmaking must be time consuming.

  1. 1. Klein, Ezra, "Mythbusting: Israel and Switzerland are Not Gun-Toting Utopias," Wonkblog, The Washington Post (December 14, 2012).
  2. 2. "Gun utopias? Firearm access and ownership in Israel and Switzerland."
  3. 3. CV: Janet Rosembaum.
  4. 4. Rosenbaum, Janet, "Reborn a virgin: the validity of adolescents’ self-report of their risk behaviors and the efficacy of abstinence pledges as a marker for sexual activity," American Journal of Public Health (June 2006).
  5. 5. "The Best of Tiny Fay," Saturday Night Live (starting around 1:40 seconds).
  6. 6. "Fragen und Antworten: Volksinitiative "Für den Schutz vor Waffengewalt"," Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2011).
  7. 7. "Annexe 4. The Largest Civilian Firearms Arsenals for 178 Countries," Small Arms Survey (2007). [27kb .pdf]
  8. 8. For the purposes of clarity finem respice should point out that it not clear if Dr. Rosenbaum has conducted research on crack cocaine, or simply researched crack cocaine
  9. 9. "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Geschlecht," Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2012).
  10. 10. "Bundesgesetz über Waffen, Waffenzubehör und Munition," SR 514.54 (1997).
  11. 11. Article 3, SR 514.54 (1997).
  12. 12. Article 8, SR 514.54 (1997).
  13. 13. Article 9b, SR 514.54 (1997).
  14. 14. Article 27, SR 514.54 (1997).
  15. 15. Article 27, SR 514.54 (1997).
  16. 16. Article 27(4), SR 514.54 (1997).
  17. 17. Volksabstimmung von 13. Februar 2011, "Volksinitiative Für den Schutz vor Waffengewalt," Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2010). [560kb .pdf] Swiss referendum voting booklets make for absolutely fascinating reading and should be explored carefully by students of democratic systems, like regular finem respice readers.
  18. 18. "Volksabstimmung vom 13. Februar 2011," Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2011).
  19. 19. Reid, Mark "Work" (2012).
  20. 20. Reid, Mark, "Gun Deaths vs. Gun Ownership," Inductio ex Machina (December 2012).
  21. 21. "List of Countries By Firearm Related Death Rate," Wikipedia (2012).
  22. 22. "Waffengewalt,"Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2011). As it happens, these statistics were compiled in this format to provide data for the Swiss gun control referendum in 2011.
  23. 23. "Waffengewalt,"Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2011).
  24. 24. "Waffengewalt,"Bundesamt für Statistik, Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (2011).
[Art Credit: unknown artist "untitled," photograph (unknown date), from the author's private collection. Just try walking into an Apple store in the United States with your SIG 550 shoulder slung. This picture is either from the Zürich or Geneva Apple store in Switzerland. They all look the same on the inside, you know.]

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