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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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A referendum to tighten the laws was defeated at the ballot box in 2011. At the time, opponents pointed to Switzerland's relatively low rate of gun crime, with just 24 gun killings in 2009, which works out to a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.S. rate that year was about 11 times higher.

Still, there have been several high-profile incidents over the years, including the killing of 14 people at a city council meeting in Zug, not far from Lucerne, in 2001. And in early January, a 33-year-old man killed three women and wounded two men in a southern Swiss village.

Critics and advocates of gun rights doubted the latest shooting would lead to drastic law changes beyond the proposal now before parliament.

"If we demanded another referendum now, many people would say we already dealt with this two years ago," said Tobias Estermann, a member of the anti-weapons group Switzerland Without an Army.

Peter Schilliger, a Lucerne lawmaker, said the popularity of shooting clubs in Switzerland means there is strong grassroots support for gun ownership.

"And anyway, it will always be possible to come by a weapon somehow," he said.

Kronospan Chief Executive Mauro Capozzo said that the suspected assailant had been "with us for more than 10 years — a quiet man, no other incidents involving him are known." Graf said the man was still with the company at the time of the shooting.

According to the local town council, Kronospan has some 450 employees. There was no immediate word on a possible motive; Capozzo said the company hasn't laid anyone off recently.

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Moulson reported from Berlin. Frank Jordans in Berlin also contributed.