"The EU wants to take away the assault rifle!" In December 2015, one went
Wave of indignation across the country, as it became known, as the European Union, its weapons law
wants to adapt and from the Switzerland she demanded to do the same.
What happened? Less than a month after the terrorist attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, shot with bullets from half automatic weapons, the EU tightened their guidelines: weapons that can fire multiple shots without reloading should be banned – and not only as before be subject to authorization.
As a member of the Schengen area, Switzerland needs to tighten up and adapt its own laws accordingly. It had two years from the entry into force of the new EU directive. This deadline expires at the end of May.
Before that, on 19 May, the Swiss vote on the new EU weapons directive. A committee of shooting associations and the SVP opposed the referendum.
A ban on the Swiss assault rifle, however, is no longer up for debate. So what happened in the three years between the indignant storm and the referendum vote? And how did Switzerland manage to prevent the EU "taking away the assault rifle"?
Vote against dynamic legal takeover: A good deal?
June 2016. Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga, then Minister of Justice, takes part in the meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg. At this point their diplomats are already lobbying. Systematically they meet EU parliamentarians, ambassadors of the member states, commission members. For months. "We have explained to people the centuries-old tradition of shooting, and it is a great asset for us to keep an assault rifle at home," recalls a diplomat who was there at the time. They had explained bone-dry details, brought along drafting suggestions and constantly anticipated the referendum that had to be expected despite all the negotiating efforts.
The fact that the diplomats were not just women in the back rooms, but that their Federal Councilor was sitting with the EU representatives at the European negotiating table is because Switzerland is an associated Schengen member. Therefore, more than in the current market access agreements, it can have a direct impact if European law is developed further. Diplomats speak of
Astrid Epiney, European Law Professor at the University of Freiburg in the UK, says: "In this case, Switzerland has the right to have a say, as compensation for this it is foreseen that it must take over legislative changes dynamically. "
In fact, Switzerland managed to "negotiate a real deal with the EU's weapons directive," says Epiney. And this, even though Switzerland, as an EU non-member, can not decide at the end, that is from the
But this blemish is manageable, says the Bernese diplomat. "The decision-making in the EU apparatus is so consensus-oriented that it does not matter." It is discussed until you agree.
When the draft of the EU Weapons Directive is presented in Luxembourg in June 2016, the Helvetic influences are already unmistakable: "Countries that have known general conscription for at least 50 years are allowed to give their army members the weapon when leaving the military service." In other words, the absolute prohibition on private persons to own automatic and semi-automatic weapons will in future be valid throughout the EU – but not in Switzerland.