3 dead in Swiss workplace shooting

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 9:36 am •  Published: February 27, 2013
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MENZNAU, Switzerland (AP) — A longtime employee opened fire at a wood-processing company in central Switzerland on Wednesday, leaving three people dead, including the assailant, in the country's second multiple-fatality shooting in two months, police said.

Seven other people were wounded, six of them seriously, in the shooting at the premises of the company Kronospan, in the small town of Menznau, Lucerne criminal police chief Daniel Bussmann told reporters.

The incident occurred as the Swiss parliament prepares to consider tightening some aspects of the country's famously lax gun legislation.

The assailant, a 42-year-old Swiss male, arrived at the premises shortly after 9 a.m., drew a pistol and started firing. Police spokesman Kurt Graf said the shootings took place in the building's canteen area.

Officials didn't immediately have further details on the weapon or how the assailant acquired it. They also did not know how the assailant was killed.

"A lot of things are unclear at this stage," said Ida Glanzmann-Hunkeler, a Christian Democrat lawmaker who lives near the scene of the shooting.

Glanzmann-Hunkeler said a proposal will be put before parliament in the coming weeks that would require greater exchange of information between the gun registries kept by Switzerland's 26 cantons. Authorities would also record whether a person is considered mentally fit to own a gun, and increase officials' powers to confiscate weapons if they aren't.

But the shooting is unlikely to immediately revive calls for ex-soldiers to store their military-issued firearms in secure army depot. The country has a long-standing tradition for men to keep their military rifles after completing compulsory military service.

This partly accounts for the high rate of gun ownership in the country, where some 2.3 million firearms are owned by a population of about 8 million.