Guns, Crime, and the Swiss
by Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., J.D.
Shorter versions of this article were published in 1999 in the Wall Street Journal on June 3 (European edition) as "Armed to the Teeth, and Free" and on June 10 (American edition) as "Where Kids and Guns Do Mix."
...American interest in the Swiss did not begin with John McPhree's prize-winning essay La Place de la Concorde Suisse. In 1768, as conflict with the Crown worsened, the colonists called for the strengthening of the militia, so that "this country will have a better security against the calamities of war than any other in the world, Switzerland alone excepted." By the time the new Constitution was being debated in 1787, John Adams wrote a treatise which praised the democratic Swiss Cantons, where every man was entitled to vote on matters of state and to bear arms. The famous orator Patrick Henry praised the Swiss for maintaining their neutrality and independence from the great monarchies, all without "a mighty and splendid President" or a standing army: "Let us follow their example, and be equally happy."
The Swiss influence was partly responsible for the adoption of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This has become the orphan of the Bill of Rights which some love to hate.
When the first U.S. Congress met and turned to defense measures in 1791, Representative Jackson argued: "The inhabitants of Switzerland emancipated themselves by the establishment of a militia, which finally delivered them from the tyranny of their lords." A law was passed requiring every able-bodied citizen to provide himself with a firearm and enroll in the militia, and it stayed on the books for over a century...
Source - Guns, Crime, and the Swiss - by Stephen P. Halbrook