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    This Australian Senator Got Absolutely Owned In This Online Argument About Guns

    The libertarian senator got in a fight about Switzerland's gun laws with a Swiss citizen.

    Pro-gun senator David Leyonhjelm found himself in an online argument on Thursday about Australia's gun control laws, in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting.

    The Liberal Democrat senator has been a long time critic of Australia's strict gun control laws, last month appearing in a video for the NRA arguing that "Australia is a nation of defenceless victims".


    Leyonhjelm believes Australians should be allowed to carry concealed weapons, and called for more people to have guns following the Sydney siege.

    "What happened in that cafe would have been most unlikely to have occurred in Florida, Texas, or Vermont, or Alaska in America, or perhaps even Switzerland as well," Senator Leyonhjelm told the ABC at the time.

    Twitter user Nick Schadegg challenged the senator on his argument that Switzerland was a nation that had lax gun laws but no mass shootings. But Leyonhjelm was having none of it.

    Schadegg tried to engage him in an argument about Switzerland's laws, but Leyonhjelm kept dismissing it as "utter crap".

    What else could he do?

    @DavidLeyonhjelm Here's my Swiss ID card, you lovely man.

    Most. Polite. Twitter. Shutdown. Ever.

    Paramount Pictures

    "I'm surprised he didn't believe me that I'm Swiss, given that my last name is Schadegg," he told BuzzFeed News.

    "I can see why he was getting a bit sweary," he said. "David's had a hard-on for Switzerland's gun culture for years now, but he's also against compulsory military service.

    "So if I'm right (which I'm almost certain I am) then he probably has to rethink some stuff."

    Senator Leyonhjelm still refused to back down on his argument when people started sharing the exchange on Twitter.

    Pro-gun advocates often point to Switzerland as a sort of gun-owners utopia, an example of a country with high gun ownership and low gun-related crimes.


    As Leyonhjelm puts it in a tweet in August, "I prefer the example of Switzerland myself. Lots of guns, bugger all gun crime."

    Recreational shooting is a big part of culture in Switzerland, with sharp shooting competitions a popular sport. But Swiss laws limit firearm ownership and require people to renew their permit up to four times a year.

    Switzerland does have one of the highest gun ownership levels in the world, but they also don't have a standing army, due to their stance of neutrality.

    Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

    Instead, male citizens between the ages of 18 and 34 are conscripted part-time into the militia.

    Members of the militia are issued with weapons that they are allowed to keep at home. But they're not allowed to keep army ammunition at home. Instead, it's all stored in a central arsenal.

    As well as practical differences between Switzerland and the US, there's a big difference in gun culture. Despite the high ownership levels in Switzerland, guns are seen as more as a civic responsibility for national security, rather than as a person's right to self-defence, as it often is in the United States.

    And people still do get killed with guns in Switzerland at a rate of 0.77 per 100,000 of population, one of the highest rates in Europe.

    So it's a difficult position for Leyonhjelm to be in. Not only is it very different to Australia and the US, but it also involves military conscription.

    Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

    Contact Alex Lee at

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