Homicide-suicide cases in Switzerland and their impact on the Swiss Weapon Law

Grabherr, Silke; Johner, Stephan; Dilitz, Carine; Buck, Ursula; Killias, Martin; Mangin, Patrice; Plattner, Thomas (2010). Homicide-suicide cases in Switzerland and their impact on the Swiss Weapon Law. American journal of forensic medicine & pathology, 31(4), pp. 335-49. Hagerstown, Md.: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181ce9f3e

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Homicide followed by the suicide of the offender is a well-known phenomenon. In most cases, it takes place in the context of the so-called "family tragedies." A recent series of such family tragedies in Switzerland prompted an intensive debate in the media and the Swiss government concerning the Swiss Weapon Law, in particular the requirement to keep personal army weapons at home. The present study of Homicide-Suicide cases in Switzerland, thus focuses on the role played by guns, especially military weapons, in such crimes. We investigated retrospectively 75 cases of Homicide-Suicide, comprising 172 individuals and spanning a period of 23 years in western and central Switzerland. Our results show that if guns were used in 76% of the cases, army weapons were the cause of death in 25% of the total. In 28% of the deaths caused by a gunshot, the exact type of the gun and its origin could not be determined. Thus, the majority of Homicide-Suicide cases in Switzerland involve the use of guns. The exact percentage of cases were military weapons were involved could not be defined. In our opinion, a stricter weapons law, restricting access to firearms, would be a factor of prevention of Homicide- Suicide cases in Switzerland.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Buck, Ursula

ISSN:

0195-7910

Publisher:

Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:05

Publisher DOI:

10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181ce9f3e

PubMed ID:

20110804

Web of Science ID:

000284824700016

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/1556 (FactScience: 203331)

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