A man checks his personal army rifle at his house in Luetzelflueh village near Bern, in this April 2007 file photograph. Swiss citizens are voting on February 13 2011, on an initiative that aims to have Swiss soldiers keep their personal army rifle in an arsenal instead of their home, in order to prevent suicides and family tragedies, according to the people involved in the initiative.
Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to tighten the country’s liberal firearms laws.
Early results from a referendum Sunday show at least 14 of the Alpine nation’s 26 cantons (states) voting against proposals to ban army rifles from homes and impose new requirements for buying firearms.
Popular referenda in Switzerland require a majority of votes in a majority of cantons to pass.
A coalition of non-governmental groups, religious organizations and center-left parties backed the measure as a way to reduce domestic violence and suicide by firearms.
But the government argued existing laws were sufficient to prevent the misuse of more than 2 million mostly military weapons in a country of 7.8 million residents.
Members of Switzerland’s militia are allowed to keep their military weapons at home, so they can mobilize quickly in response to any threat.