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Bearing arms in Switzerland
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Strict legislation in Switzerland has made it extremely difficult to obtain a license to bear arms, and the trend is moving towards even stricter laws. For information purposes only, 400 people had a license to bear arms in the canton of Geneva in 1998. Only eight "survivors" still have authorization today. Understandable when you realize how little violent crime there is in Switzerland.

For those who wish to try nonetheless, a license to bear arms can be issued to any person who fulfills the conditions for obtaining a purchasing license:

  • The buyer must provide an official piece of identification
  • Police clearance from the home country
  • Demonstrate that he or she needs to bear arms for personal protection or to protect other persons or goods against specific dangers (A detailed letter of interest is required)
  • Pass an examination on the correct handling of weapons and on the legislation on the use of firearms (NB: the examination takes place in one of the three official languages)

Licenses are issued by the competent authority of the canton of residence for a specific type of firearm and for a maximum of five years. The license is valid throughout Switzerland. Note that you do not require a license to bear arms in order to transport an unloaded weapon for which you have a purchasing license, as long as it can be reasonably justified (e.g.: going to the shooting range). Outside of required travel to the shooting range or to an authorized gun dealer, you need a license to bear arms to transport your weapon even when it is unloaded.

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