How extensive are US weapons background checks

Questions and answers on arms exports

The Foreign Trade Act (AWG) and the War Weapons Control Act (KrWaffKontrG) determine the basic legal framework for the approval of arms exports. In addition to these general rules on export control, recognized, sustainable and transparent decision-making criteria are important when it comes to the approval of arms exports in each individual case.

The Federal Government has two important catalogs of criteria at its disposal: The Federal Government's Political Principles and the EU's Common Position.

In the "Political Principles of the Federal Government for the Export of War Weapons and Other Armaments of June 26, 2019" (PDF, 194 KB), the following aspects are in the foreground when it comes to export decisions:

- Respect for human rights in the recipient country

- Consideration of the internal and external situation in the recipient country

- Conduct of the recipient country towards the international community - for example with regard to the fight against international terrorism and organized crime, compliance with international obligations and aspects of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control

- Restrained approvals and strict controls on exports to so-called third countries (countries outside the EU, NATO and NATO-equivalent countries Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland) with regard to the human rights situation, security interests of Germany and the international community

- Germany is particularly interested in the continued ability of the defense industry to cooperate in the EU and NATO

The EU Common Position of 2008 provides eight specific criteria for deciding on export applications and is an integral part of the Political Principles. It takes into account the situation of the recipient country in the region and the importance of the requested exports for the regional maintenance of peace, security and stability. Observance of human rights in the receiving country and the dangers of misuse of the specific armaments are also of particular importance in the examination.