The Swiss will vote Sunday on whether to bring the country’s gun laws in line with EU legislation, with the government warning a ‘no’ could threaten relations with the bloc.A demand from the neighbouring European Union that Switzerland toughen its gun laws has prompted a rare national debate over firearm ownership in the wealthy Alpine nation, which has a deeply-rooted gun culture. While the government has cautioned that the new legislation is crucial to maintaining an array of treaties with the EU, the proposal sparked a fierce pushback from the gun lobby and shooting enthusiasts, who gathered enough signatures to trigger a vote under Switzerland’s famous direct democratic system.Brussels changed its own weapons laws two years ago following a wave of deadly terrorist attacks across Europe, slapping bans on certain types of semi-automatic firearms. Switzerland is not an EU member, but it is bound to the bloc through an array of intricately connected bilateral agreements.Bern has cautioned that a “no” vote would entail Switzerland’s exclusion from the visa-free Schengen travel region and the Dublin accords regulating Europe’s asylum-seeking process. This would have far-reaching consequences for security, asylum and even tourism, and would cost the country “several billion Swiss francs each year,” it said.Most of the arguments for changing the law are economic, in a country that has rarely seen the kind of mass shootings that have happened in other countries. Philippe Miauton, of the chamber of commerce and industry in Vaud Canton, told the RTS broadcaster that turning down the law change could bring “many consequences that would be harmful”.“Switzerland is not an island… We need the bilateral agreements, and that means making concessions,” he said. Voters appear to have heeded the warnings. According to the most recent gfs.bern poll, a full 65 percent of respondents supported the law change, compared to 34 percent who opposed it.