What gun laws are there now
Weapons Act - General overview of weapons law
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Weapons Act in Germany - provisions of the gun law
weapons have been for a long time a much debated topic. It often comes to the fore when something dramatic happens and because of that in the in the Public interest again is. Then in many cases it will too about the existing gun law debated and whether one Tightening of the weapons law necessary is.
Most people are there the regulations of the gun law, which in Germany by the Weapons Act established are hardly or not at all known. Therefore the question is whether these regulations should be tightened, a relatively difficult onewhich is not that easy to answer.
But what do the German gun laws contain exactly and what is to be considered a weapon according to the defined definition? Where is it Difference between the gun law and the gun law? You can find answers to these and other questions in the following article.
FAQ: Gun Law
Weapons law defines what is considered a weapon, how it is to be handled, what is to be observed in the possession of a weapon and what sanctions are imminent if disregarded.
The Weapons Act has different sections in which a wide variety of regulations are defined. There are regulations on gun licenses, gun transport and fines.
What subdivision there is according to the Weapons Act and what requirements have to be met is shown in our table here?
What is the gun law?
Gun law in Germany describes the area of lawwhich deals with the Rules of Possession as well as the Trade and use of weapons deals. These regulations deal with the Approval of weapons as well as with persons who have these weapons acquire, use, wear or trade with them allowed to.
The Federal Weapons Act - also called WaffG - is the written record of these regulations and is therefore also Part of gun law.
In general, it will be like that Dealing with a wide variety of weapons legally recorded. This is done under the Consideration of public safety and order. The aim of gun law is that to strengthen internal security.
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Important regulations in current gun law
In 2009 an amendment to the Arms Act made the Gun law tightened. Since then, parts of the law have repeatedly been introduced to current situations (like rampages, the attacks in Norway, Paris and Belgium) adjusted.
The introduction as well as the trade with certain weapons were made by the Arms Act and its amendment newly regulated and in some cases severely tightened. So fall for that intended for military use Types of weapons and their ammunition without exception under the War Weapons Control Act (KrWaffKontrG).
The weapons of war therefore count not just objects, rather also substances and organismsthat can be used for the purpose of warfare. The Federal Government, in cooperation with the Federal Council, has the power to List of weapons of war to change at any time and adapt.
In addition to the KrWaffKontrG, it is above all regulating the following laws govern the handling, possession and trade in weapons:
- the Weapons Act (WaffG),
- the General administrative regulation for the Weapons Act (WaffVwV) as
- the General Weapons Act Ordinance (AWaffV).
All these rules and regulations are part of federal law and are generally effective and valid throughout the Federal Republic of Germany. Furthermore there are additional regulations in the shooting law and in the Shooting Ordinance as well as in the Explosives Act and the associated ordinances.
The Shelling Act deals with product safety, so with the Examination and admission of firearms, ammunition and other weapons. This is for Protection of manufacturers, users and third parties with a so-called intended use the gun.
The gun law also lays down that Reliability requirement established by the arms. That means, People who acquire weapons or want to deal with them, you have to have certain Requirements regarding their reliability fulfill. These regulations were further increased with the amendment to the Weapons Act. It may now no entries in the federal central register or previous convictions. With the renewed amendment of the law, from 2020 there will also be a Regular inquiries from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution introduced. In the event of an abnormality, reliability under gun law can be denied.
Furthermore, the amended weapons law is concerned with the storage of weapons.
This is how weapons always have to be inaccessible to unauthorized persons, especially minors. Firearms and ammunition are also allowed just separated from each other be kept. The weapons are to be stowed unloaded and in locked containers, one Gun cabinet or a safe accommodate. Depending on the type of weapon, there are different technical requirements for the containers.
German Weapons Act (WaffG)
The Weapons Protection Act in Germany is, as described, the written representation of the gun law. The paragraphs of this law deal with the handling of weapons within the scope of the gun law.
This includes the Acquisition, trading, storage, ownership and maintenance of weapons (both Bladed weapons as well as firearms) and ammunition. In addition, the WaffG also defines prohibited weapons and determined what sanctions for possession or trade in these weapons.
Here will between guiding, i.e. carrying ready to fire a weapon in public places, and ownership or transportation differentiated weapons. Some types of weapons are allowed under the Weapons Act neither guided nor owned nor transported others are allowed to own, but not to lead. Possession and transport of other types of weapons are permitted under certain conditions. The gun law determines the for each of these cases Regulations and guidelines.
The gun law in itself is divided into different sectionswhich contain and describe the individual regulations in more detail.
In addition to the general provisions, as explained above, there are sections on the Requirements for the peoplewho want to use a gun over that Requirements for trading as well as for acquisition and also to the Penalties and Finesthat are threatened in the event of infringement.
Arms Manufacturing Regulations are also recorded here and are therefore also subject to gun law in Germany.
Below you will find in a rough overview the individual sections and the associated paragraphs of the German Weapons Act:
- Part 1 - General provisions
- Section 2 - Handling weapons or ammunition
- Subsection 1 - General requirements for weapons and ammunition permits
- Subsection 2 - Permits for individual ways of handling weapons or ammunition, exceptions
- Exceptions § 10 - § 12
- Subsection 3 - Special permits for certain groups of people
- Subsection 4 - Special permits for arms manufacture, arms trade, shooting ranges, security companies
- Subsection 5 - Bringing and taking weapons or ammunition into, through or out of the area of application of the law
- Subsection 6 - Duty of care, notification, information and proof obligations
- Subsection 7 - prohibitions
- Section 3 - Other gun regulations
- Section 4 - Penal and administrative fines regulations
- Section 5 - Exceptions to the application of the law
- Section 55 Exceptions for the highest federal and state authorities, the Federal Armed Forces, the police and the customs administration, sovereigns at high risk and employees of other states
- Section 56 Special regulations for state guests and other visitors
- Section 57 Weapons of War
- Section 6 - Transitional regulations, administrative regulations
- Attachment 1 (to Section 1, Paragraph 4) Definitions
- Annex 2 (to Section 2 Paragraphs 2 to 4) List of weapons
These regulations and also all other requirements of the WaffG will be in the General administrative regulation for the Weapons Act (WaffVwV) explained in more detail. This rule determines exceptions, lays down the Handling weapons fixed and defines the Requirements for shooting ranges.
Furthermore, in the Administrative regulation also defines the distinction between permit-free and permit-requiring Firearms detained. This distinction is stipulated here, among other things, at the maximum shot energy of 7.5 joules.
Seen internationally, the German applies Gun Law as one of the strictest.
Brief historical overview - Gun laws in Germany
Already in the Middle Ages and the The appearance of the first firearms, the use of weapons served to secure the so-called peace of the land. This security was taken over by the princes. So it was Right to legally carry weapons, on the part of the representatives of the Principality, so in that sense of the state.
Rifle brotherhoods or paid mercenaries were commissioned by the princes, cities or citizenships to protect them and enforce applicable laws. State power and the Reich Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in 1495, determined who was allowed to carry weapons.
It was not until the revolutionary times in the middle and end of the 19th century that armament took on a different meaning. Well that should Carrying a gun is a citizen's right. In Germany, the military and also the monarchy, i.e. the state power, were opposed to this, so that a so-called complete People's arming did not take place here.
Gun law was in the empire not in a single gun law held, but in one Variety of regulations and laws. At that time there were no restrictions on the possession or acquisition of weapons by private individuals. However that was Carrying and using weapons in public are strictly regulated. For example, shooting in inhabited places was generally prohibited by law. In addition, state authorities were allowed to set up regionally limited weapon prohibition zones.
Gun laws after 1920
After the First World War became in the Versailles Treaty the Disarmament in Germany set. This was true also for the civil sectorwhat the German Reichstag decided in 1920. However, since gun ownership was not registered, there was no complete disarmament in the Weimar Republic. The Possession and acquisition of firearms were now strictly forbidden.
The The purchase ban was lifted and redefined. There were Purchase certificates introduced for both firearms and ammunition that control the Facilitate gun ownership in Germany should. The state was able to trace all acquired weapons back to their owners using the purchase certificates.
In addition, the new Arms Act also stipulated that from now on a gun license to carry a gun in public is needed. The gun license was required throughout the country and could not be circumvented.
Also were now the manufacture and sale of weapons regulated by law and sanctioned by penalties if there were violations.
For the first time was from the Reliability of a gun owner as well as from Need for security and after that, to carry a gun, the speech. These terms have been since then in every other German weapon law used.
Was already in the Weimar Republic Reliability is therefore a prerequisite for the legal acquisition and possession of a firearm. If this could not be proven, the person concerned received no purchase certificate (today this is similar to the gun ownership card) and was allowed to do not buy or own a weapon. The state also ensured that only citizens approved by it had weapons.
Gun law from 1931
In the following years increasing political crises made sure numerous Emergency ordinances to the Weapons Act were issued. A current weapon law has been updated almost continuously. In late 1931, the fourth emergency ordinance determined that one Proof of need for issuing a gun or ammunition license must be available.
The weapons law created in the Weimar Republic and the Gun owner data were taken over and used by the National Socialists. Mainly it was about them Disarming the Jewswhich by the present Data in the purchase certificates could be determined.
So became them regionally denied the reliability, the purchase certificates confiscated and the weapons confiscated.
That followed in 1938 Reich Weapons Act. This took over the main features of the existing weapons law and expanded it to include passages that it so-called opponents of the regime made it difficult to get hold of weapons, but at the same time also to equip the people with weapons should allow.
Felt citizens threatened by the political situation, they could do this as Justification of needs state and received a purchase certificate. At that time, however, this was only mandatory for handguns and was no longer of any importance for the acquisition of long weapons or ammunition.
However, it was for carrying a weapon continuing a gun license necessary for private individuals. Organs of the NSDAP, the SS and the higher departments of the Hitler Youth were excluded from this.
The Weapons Act of the Federal Republicissued in 1972, was largely based on the Reich Weapons Act of 1938.
The weapons law in Germany after 1945
After this End of the Second World War there was an edict from the Allies that made it forbade every person and every authority to own and carry weapons. This basic ban was only relaxed in 1950.
Sporting weapons as well as the Police pistols were allowed from 1950 only have five rounds in the magazine and had to have a single trigger. Fully automatic weapons were still prohibited, even for government employees.
With the Regaining full sovereignty Germany's 1952 received that too Reich Weapons Act its legal force back. So there was again a weapons law with regulations on possession and use. Not until 1956 could private individuals firearms for private use.
From the 60s was the possession of weapons federally regulated. There was one gun law in Baden-Württemberg and one in Berlin, as well as various in the other federal states. The federal government still had at that time not the legal powersto regulate this nationwide.
A crucial step towards one uniform weapons law brought the Amendment to the Basic Law in 1972. This gave the federal government the authority to legislate. So became for the first time after the Second World War gun law again in one uniform weapons law regulated.
The private gun ownership has now been re-established throughout Germany by a Obligation to register, purchase certificates and proof of needs set. All firearms and firearms now fell under the Weapons Act and its regulations.
Joined in 1976 the new weapons law in force.
Weapons acquired before 1972 that illegal with the new law were allowed to be kept. Registration and registration of these weapons did not take place until 1976, however, as the validity of the cards was no longer limited in time. General becomes here spoken of a reporting teamnesty.
Weapons that registered at that time as well as inherited weapons the only ones in Germanythat today without a proof of need may be owned. However, it is Acquisition of ammunition for these weapons as a rule not possible and in some cases even excluded by law.
Current weapon law
The current gun law the Federal Republic only entered Early 21st century in force after extensive revision of the 1976 law. It was significantly influenced by the rampage in Erfurt in April 2002.
The law was already being revised. However, the federal government saw itself because of the current events forced to introduce further changes. Initially, the main aim was that to simplify existing regulations. In addition, should now also other types of weapons apart from firearms, cutting and stabbing weapons, are included in the law.
The draft also included Changes in the weapons law regarding reliability from gun owners. The requirements should be here significantly tightened become.
In addition, a Ban on acquiring arms for "extremists" introduced as well as the so-called "Small gun license" for signal, alarm and irritant weapons designed. The possession of cutting and stabbing weapons should also be essential according to the draft law more regulated be.
In October 2002 the federal government passed the Amendment to the German Weapons Act, which came into force in 2003. Under the impression of the rampage, the amendment of the gun law created more restrictive regulations.
This tightening also includes those Requirements for the storage of weapons as well as the acquisition and possession of different types of weapons. The Introduction of the small gun license for carrying alarm weapons took place. So too Prohibition of pump guns with pistol grip, butterfly knives, drop knives, fist knives and switchblades as well as throwing stars.
Furthermore are Arms dealers now committed, every sale or lease of a reportable firearm to the competent authority Report to as well as the sale of alarm weapons to log.
In addition, the new regulations also stipulate which prerequisites are exactly requiredto get a gun ownership card. To Section 4 WaffG have contenders for such a card in any case following specifications to meet:
- have reached the minimum age of 18 years,
- show personal suitability and reliability under the law on weapons,
- provide evidence of the required expertise and a need.
To Section 5 Weapons Act (WaffG) must be an applicant for a gun ownership card prove reliability in terms of weapons law. This means that no entries may be made in the Federal Central Register that refer to a close unreliable weapon handling leaves.
The responsible weapons authority fetches Information from the Federal Central Register, at the public prosecutor's procedure register as well as at the local police department and evaluates the application based on this. If there are concerns about the reliability, the authority may the Refuse to issue a gun ownership card.
When this is the case stipulates Section 5 (1) of the Weapons Act:
(1) Persons do not have the required reliability,
1. who have been legally convicted
a) because of a crime or
b) to a prison sentence of at least one year for other willful criminal offenses,
if ten years have not passed since the last conviction became final ... [...]
(2) As a rule, persons who do not have the required reliability
1. a) because of an intentional criminal offense,
b) because of a negligent criminal offense in connection with the handling of weapons, ammunition or explosive substances or because of a negligent public offense,
c) for a criminal offense under the Weapons Act, the War Weapons Control Act, the Explosives Act or the Federal Hunting Act have been sentenced to imprisonment, youth penalty, a fine of at least 60 daily rates or at least twice a lower fine or for which the imposition of The youth penalty has been suspended if five years have not elapsed since the last conviction became final. [...]
In contrast to reliability, the personal suitability the physical requirements that must be available so that a gun ownership card can be issued. Are people mentally and physically able to handle a weapon, they meet these requirements.
The most important changes in the Weapons Act since 2002
The described new regulation of the entire gun law in 2002 it was an important step towards a law that corresponds to real reality. The former law of 1976 was replaced by two new laws: The weapons law and the shooting law.
The currently valid WaffG is generally also called "New gun law" referred to as it is a complex revision acts and new regulations were added. In addition, the first annex to the law clarifies in more detail, what a "weapon" is and how this concept is used in the law.
The second plant includes a list of weapons, which Prohibited weapons and weapons that require a license treated. Any exceptions to the permit requirement are also described in more detail here.
Both laws are in gun law valid today, however, have been in the past decade adjusted again and again. This is also the case with the changes made in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
Since 2008 the until then valid rule of inheritance for the possession of safe weapons tightened. So now there is one Duty to block these weapons with a function to provide
In addition, that is Carrying one-hand knives and knives with a fixed blade longer than 12 cm prohibited in public space. An infringement now applies as an administrative offense.
Carrying pretend weapons, for example toy or soft-air weapons, which look like real weapons but are not subject to a ban under EU weapons law, is now with the amendment from 2008 prohibited in public. In addition to replicas of war weapons, the ban also includes replicas that are true to the original and unusable decorative weapons. So should confusing weapons be prevented by security authorities.
With the amendment to the Weapons Act 2008, the federal government set the Requirements of the United Nations Firearms Protocol into German law. This is intended to make it easier to trace arms and make the illegal arms trade more difficult.
Further changes and adjustments took place in 2009 under the impression of the Winnenden killing spree. The goal of these changes was that prevent unauthorized access to legal weapons and ammunition or at least to complicate it.
The authorities are entitled to the amendment in the Guns Act, too without reasons the to check legal retention at gun owners. Owners are obliged to grant access to the storage location.
These controls are beyond that charges apply. Gun owners have them To bear the costs of this.
The authority checks whether weapons are the only ones with a gun ownership card or a hunting license may be owned, inaccessible to unauthorized persons, especially minors. You have to be in
locked containers, gun cabinets or safes be housed. Also whether the guns unloaded and separated from the ammunition will be checked in this context.
For so-called SRS weapons (alarm weapons, irritant and signal weapons) there are no purchase restrictions, but they should also kept inaccessible like all other weapons.
In addition, the requirements for the needs test were adapted with the 2009 amendments to the law. With the change for 2020, proof of needs must now be provided every five years. Also the Possibility of destroying confiscated weapons is now an express part of the German Weapons Act.
What are weapons according to the new weapons law?
General is a weapon an objectwhich is determined by its essence, the Ability to attack or defend themselves to belittle.
This definition includes both Firearms as well as cutting and stabbing weapons as well as irritant sprayers and stun guns. A sword is just as much a weapon as a pistol or a pepper spray.
The German Weapons Act defines weapons in § 1 as well as in Appendix 2. Objects must therefore be intended from the outset to cause injuries or to kill. Many objects can be used as weapons, but are not considered weapons under the law.
The paragraph in question says The following:
1. Firearms or equivalent objects and
2. portable items,
a) which by their nature are intended to eliminate or reduce the ability of people to attack or defend themselves, in particular cutting and thrusting weapons;
b) which, without being intended, in particular because of their nature, handling or mode of action, are suitable for eliminating or reducing the ability of people to attack or defend themselves, and which are named in this Act.
As mentioned, the Weapons Act also makes a distinction between weapons that do not require a license and those that require a license. Which permit must be available for which type of weapon is also specified.
So apply Cutting and stabbing weapons as weapons, however, are either prohibited or allowed to be owned. The wielding of these weapons is usually not without further ado allowed. A gun license is not provided for this type of weapon. Gun licenses are intended for firearms or firearm-like objects.
SRS weapons are such guns Objects. These weapons provided one PTB or BKA test mark may be used with a small gun license. If there are no certification marks, these weapons are considered forbidden and may not be owned or wielded.
It looks different with CS gas with the active ingredient 2-chlorobenzylidenemalonic acid dinitrile (tear gas). This spray is not considered a weapon according to the Weapons Act. However, a PTB test mark is also essential here.
Classifications according to the Weapons Act
The German Weapons Act classifies weapons into different categories a. Each of these classifications requires certain requirements that entitle the owner to own or use this type of weapon.
These are the classified weapons about firearms, as no gun license has to be acquired for knives. However, they are also suitable for knives, swords and other cutting and stabbing weapons always the regulations according to § 42 WaffG to be observed.
Subsequent you will find an overview to the firearms allowed in Germany and the necessary prerequisitesto own or manage them.
|Weapon type||Requirement for the acquisition||Prerequisite for leading|
|Handguns and long guns, semi-automatic (police pistol, hunting pistol)||Gun ownership card (green)|
Semi-automatic weapons with more than three cartridges, as well as automatic ones, are prohibited for hunting
|Hunting license, gun license|
|Single-shot, repeating rifle||Annual hunting license, gun ownership card (yellow)||Gun license, hunting license|
|Compressed air weapon> 7.5 joules||Annual hunting license, gun ownership card (yellow)||Hunting license|
|Air gun < 7,5="">||At least 18 years old||Performing in public is prohibited|
|Compressed air weapon (Airsoft) between 0.5 and 7.5 joules||At least 18 years old with F license plates||Performing in public is prohibited|
|Compressed air weapon (Airsoft) up to 0.5 joules||No |
People aged 14 and over
|If no pretend weapon (§ 42a WaffG), then permissible -> not visible in public and not ready to fire|
|Gas, signal, alarm gun with PTB marking in a circle||18 years of age||Small gun license|
In connection with the classification, this means Carrying a weapon, not carrying itbut that so-called standby for access. This is only approved in exceptional cases and the permission for this is given by having a gun license displayed.
The Section 10 (4) of the Weapons Act defines for which weapons such a gun license issued can be. So will basically for compressed air weapons no gun license issued. Air guns for immobilizing animals are an exception.
The Weapons Act also stipulates that weapons in certain places also with a present gun license not be led allowed to. Public events always count towards these specific locations. Only in justified cases there may be exceptions here.
The Transportation of a weapon however, not all leading them are the same. For example, if firearms are transported for hunting, they are allowed only be ready to fire in the hunting area. When the weapons are being transported, there must be no cartridges in the chamber or the magazine inserted.
A weapon is transported when use them for any purpose other than use (e.g. hunting) is promoted. He can do that Way to the shooting range or for repairs be. This is where the gun must be in a sealed container are located.
Marksmen in contrast to hunters, just transport their weapons. You are not allowed to drive. Here, too, the weapons must be transported in a locked container.
Violations and the Consequences
To the most important paragraphs belong in the weapons law § 52 and § 53 WaffG. These regulate the Penal and fine regulations in connection with the possession, storage and use of a weapon.
Also whether it is a Violation of a criminal offense or an administrative offense Acts according to the Ordnungswidrigkeitengestz (OWiG) is defined in the Weapons Act. For example, possession and carrying a butterfly knife is an administrative offense, but possession of a pump gun is a criminal offense.
Regarding the sentence is defined by Paragraph 52 of the WaffG The following:
(1) Anyone who is punished with imprisonment from six months to five years
1. contrary to Section 2 (1) or (3), in each case in conjunction with Annex 2, Section 1, No. 1.1 or 1.3.4, acquires, owns, surrenders, carries, brings, takes, and manufactures a firearm or an item mentioned there, processes, repairs or trades in them ... [...]
In addition, the gun law also prohibits the mere attempt to manufacture prohibited weapons or to provide instructions on how to make them.
A Imprisonment for up to three years or a fine is also threatened if people acquire, own or use weapons that they are not authorized to use, that is no gun ownership card or gun license have. Guns that do not require a license do not require a possession card but a small gun license.
In addition, the negligent handling of weapons with a prison sentence between one and two years or a fine sanctioned. In particularly serious cases, prison sentences of up to ten years can also be imposed.
Fines for an administrative offense can amount to between 50 and 10,000 euros, depending on the violation.
The Possession and acquisition of the following weapons, among others are generally prohibited and punishable in Germany:
- Weapons of waras defined in the Annex to the WaffG,
- fully automatic firearms,
- Forend bolt action shotguns with a handgun grip, weapon length less than 95 cm or the barrel length less than 45 cm,
- Weapons whose shape simulates other objects or which are disguised as such (ballpoint pens, stick rifles, flashlight pistols, etc.),
- Cutting or thrusting weaponsthat simulate or are disguised as other objects
- Weapons that can be quickly disassembled or excessively folded,
- Sighting devices with lighting (Laser, headlights),
- Night vision devices with mounting devices for firearms,
- Steel rods, killers or brass knuckles,
- Star-shaped discs (e.g. throwing stars), drop knives, butterfly knives, fist knives, precision slings,
- easily flammable substances that can suddenly set on fire or trigger explosions,
- Irritants that are harmful to health and not officially approved,
- Ammunition for the aforementioned firearms and other ammunition in accordance with the Annex to the Weapons Act.
Gun Law in the EU
The Gun Law in Europe is mostly Country matter. However, the EU has Guidelines which regulate the handling, storage and registration of weapons in principle. All laws that go beyond that will become from the member states issued by the EU and are not generally applicable.
Since 2013 there has been in European weapons law the Firearms Ordinance (Regulation (EU) No. 258/2012). This uniformly regulates the Export of certain firearms and is valid throughout the EU.
So they have to defined firearms for export from the EU to a third country presented to customs and a permit for this can be requested. If the country is an embargoed country, the necessary export license not granted.
Beyond that, however, there are not "the" European weapons law. The member states pass all gun laws themselves and tighten them independently of the EU.
Issues the EU directives, however, which go beyond the respective weapons law of the country, this must integrated and applied become.
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