Switzerland continues to have more guns and less crime. Here is a charming portrait by Stephen Halbrook of a Swiss shooting competition for boys and girls.
The greatest shooting festival in the world
for youngsters takes place every year in Zurich, Switzerland. Imagine
thousands of boys and girls shooting military service rifle over three
days amid an enormous fair with ferris wheels and wild rides of all
kinds. You’re at the Knabenschiessen (boys’ shooting contest).
Held since the year 1657, the competition traditionally has been both a
sport and a way of encouraging marksmanship in a country where every
male serves in the militia army. Today, girls compete along side the
boys. In fact, girls are now winning the competition.
September 13, 2004. In the U.S. on this date, the Clinton fake “assault
weapon” ban sunsets. In Zurich, some 5,631 teens – 4,046 boys and 1,585
girls, aged 13-17 – have finished firing the Swiss service rifle, and
it’s time for the shootoff.
rifle is the SIG Strumgeweher (assault rifle) model 1990 (Stgw 90), a
selective fire, 5.6 mm rifle with folding skeleton stock, bayonet lug,
bipod, and grenade launcher. The Stgw 90 is a real assault rifle in
that it is fully automatic, although that feature is disabled during
the competition. Every Swiss man, on reaching age 20, is issued one to
keep at home. Imagine all those teenagers firing this real assault
rifle while their moms and dads look on with approval, anxiously
awaiting the scores.