Can the Swiss use government issued assault rifles for home protection?

This is not a debate about gun control! I just want to know how the Swiss system works. If most males are required to have, and be trained in use of a military rifle, can they use it how they see fit day to day. What if they want to plink some cans in the backyard for proficiency? Is that legal? What if someone is breaking into their home in the middle of the night? Are they allowed to use their military weapon for home and self-defense?

I was going to answer this, but I only know part of the answer and half way in typing I thought, “gee, I bet Arnold Winkelreid can answer this without researching…”

Anyway, I’m also betting that break-ins in a country with (near) universal conscription are at an extremely low rate.

No. If you keep your military weapon at home it has to be stored in a safe place (e.g. the basement) with the firing pin removed. At least that’s what was explained to me.

Why do they need guns when they’ve got those cute little folding knives?

I have a good friend who is Swiss and he explained to me that the ammo is carefully controlled and I gather you can’t buy it (or, presumably, make it) and you have to account for each shot. He also said that the social pressure is so strong that even a criminal would not use his army rifle illicitly. There was this case in Zug a short time ago where a guy went postal and dispatched part of the cantonal assembly (or was it the local council?) and I think he used his military rifle. Also, go out for a walk in the hills around Zuerich (I am thinking of the Uetliberg) any Sunday morning and you will hear them practicing on the firing range. Is someone there counting every shot? How hard would it be to get away with a few unaccounted bullets? But in general, they are kept locked up in a closet and not used for anything else.

The knives are definitely a more awesome weapon.
“The casualties on the Swiss front were horrendous. You remember Dietrich? He was stabbed, corkscrewed, screwdriven, reamed, punched, tweezed, hooked, sawed, chiselled, magnified; his can was opened, his wires were stripped, they lifted his cap, picked his teeth, and filed and cleaned his nails. It was horrible I tell you.”