Final results showed that 20 out of 26 cantons were against while 56.3 per cent of the population rejected the initiative.

For any initiative to pass, the twin support of a majority of citizens and of cantons is required.

The practice of keeping arms at home was once a core part of the country’s defence strategy, which was in part aimed at deterring an invasion with the threat that its citizens are combat-ready at any sign of trouble.

According to official data, about two million firearms are in circulation in the Alpine country of about seven million inhabitants. But there are an estimated 240,000 more unregistered weapons.