Can a state ban weapons?

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

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  • 1. Who are allowed to handle weapons and ammunition?
  • 2. When do I actually need a gun license?
  • 3. Who can I turn to if I need a gun license?
  • 4. Under what conditions can I get a gun ownership card?
  • 5. When do I need a "small gun license"?
  • 6. Do I always have to have the "small gun license" with me?
  • 7. What happens if I use a blank firing, irritant or signal weapon that has the PTB mark in public without a "small gun license"?
  • 8. I have a pepper spray machine. Can I keep this under the new gun law or do I have to dispose of it now?
  • 9. Can I still carry my irritant sprayer with me?
  • 10. How do you deal with alarm weapons, irritant weapons or signal weapons that do not have a PTB mark?
  • 11. Does the "small gun license" also entitle you to shoot (e.g. on New Year's Eve)?
  • 12. Do I now have to apply for a gun license for my air rifle?
  • 13. When can I shoot with my air rifle?
  • 14. I am in possession of an electro-pulse device (stun gun). This has no certification mark. Is it now a prohibited item?
  • 15. What documents do I have to have with me when I carry a weapon?
  • 16. How do I have to store my weapons?
  • 17. Can I continue to use my old gun safe of security level B according to VDMA 24992?
  • 18. What do I have to do if I inherit weapons?
  • 19. When do I get a "yellow gun ownership card"?
  • 20. Can I purchase repeating rifles or single-barrel handguns for cartridge ammunition on the “sporting rifle possession card” (“yellow weapon possession card”)?
  • 21. Will anything change for holders of a "yellow gun ownership card"?
  • 22. How are crossbows assessed in terms of weapons law?
  • 23. Which weapons are prohibited?
  • 24. What are pretend weapons
  • 25. What types of knives are prohibited?
  • 26. What should I do if I find a prohibited weapon?
  • 27. Why do I need a European Firearms Pass?
  • 28. How do I have to act as a private person if I have bought a firearm or ammunition abroad and want to bring it to Germany?
  • 29. What are the rules if I want to take firearms or ammunition to another country?
  • 30. How do you get a gun license, what are the rules and conditions for it? Does anyone who feels threatened or has a not entirely harmless job get permission to own and use weapons?

1. Who are allowed to handle weapons and ammunition?

A weapon or ammunition is handled by anyone who acquires, owns, lends, carries, spends, takes, shoots, manufactures, processes, repairs or trades with a weapon or ammunition.

In principle, only people who have reached the age of 18 may handle weapons and ammunition. However, the law allows exceptions to this.

People who have reached the age of 14 are allowed to use tested irritant spray devices. There are also exceptions, for example, with regard to the shooting of minors at shooting ranges or for holders of youth hunting licenses.

Anyone who wants to acquire, own or use a firearm requires a corresponding license under the law on weapons.

For alarm guns, irritant and signal weapons, the acquisition and possession of persons over the age of 18 does not require a permit (see also section 5).

2. When do I actually need a gun license?

Weapons permits are generally required for the acquisition, possession and carrying of weapons and the acquisition and possession of ammunition. Gun licenses are e.g. gun ownership cards or gun licenses.

3. Who can I turn to if I need a gun license?

In the Free State of Saxony, the districts and independent cities are responsible for enforcing the gun law, so you have to get in touch with your local district or city administration.

4. Under what conditions can I get a gun ownership card?

The following general requirements must be met in order to be issued with a gun license:

a) completion of the 18th year of life

b) Existence of the required reliability

In order to determine whether the required reliability is present, the weapons authority obtains unlimited information from the federal central register, information from the central public prosecutor's procedural register and the opinion of the local police station.

c) personal suitability

Furthermore, the applicant must be personally suitable. Reasons for the lack of personal suitability can be, for example, if a person is incapable of doing business or is dependent on alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Decisions entered in the parenting register can also conflict with personal suitability.

d) Evidence of a need

A need is to be regarded as given if a special economic or personal interest is to be recognized, for example as a hunter, marksman or gun collector.

e) Proof of the required expertise

5. When do I need a "small gun license"?

The "small gun license" has been introduced by the new weapons law. This is required when a blank, irritant or signal weapon that has the PTB mark (see illustration) is to be used. "Carrying" in this context means "having with you" such a weapon outside of your own home, business or property.

It is generally forbidden to carry these weapons at public events such as assemblies, sporting events or fairs.

However, this also means that the mere possession of such a weapon in your own home does not require a permit.

An application for the issue of a "small gun license" must be submitted to the locally responsible weapons authority.

The prerequisite for the grant is that you have reached the age of 18 and are reliable and personally suitable.

It should be pointed out that shooting in public is still fundamentally prohibited, except in cases of self-defense. Exceptions to this prohibition are regulated by law (e.g. in the context of participation in theater performances, as a starting signal or for issuing distress signals).

6. Do I always have to have the "small gun license" with me?

If you use the gun in public, you must have the "small gun license" and your identity card or passport with you.

7. What happens if I use a blank firing, irritant or signal weapon that has the PTB mark in public without a "small gun license"?

Anyone found without such a permit faces imprisonment of up to three years or a fine. There is also a threat of the weapon being confiscated.

8. I have a pepper spray machine. Can I keep this under the new gun law or do I have to dispose of it now?

Pepper spray devices do not fall under the Weapons Act only if the description of the device clearly shows that they may only be used for animal defense. Such devices can still be acquired, owned and operated.

9. Can I still carry my irritant sprayer with me?

Irritant spray devices may be acquired, owned and operated if they have an official test mark as proof of the required harmlessness to health, the range and the spray duration limitation. However, only people who have reached the age of 14 are allowed to use these devices.

10. How do you deal with alarm weapons, irritant weapons or signal weapons that do not have a PTB mark?

For this you still need a »normal« gun ownership card or a gun license.

11. Does the "small gun license" also entitle you to shoot (e.g. on New Year's Eve)?

No, outside of the pacified property you need a separate shooting permit.

Within the pacified property, the weapons mentioned in question 8 can be fired if the owner of the domiciliary right shoots himself or has his consent, the projectiles are not given more than 7.5 joules of kinetic energy or the weapons are approved according to Section 7 Shooting Act and the projectiles cannot leave the property.

12. Do I now have to apply for a gun license for my air rifle?

For the legal assessment of such a weapon, it depends on whether it has the so-called "F" in the pentagon (see illustration).

In this case, simplified acquisition and possession regulations apply to the weapon.

Compressed air, spring-loaded weapons and weapons that use cold propellant gases (CO 2 weapons) to drive the projectiles, whose projectiles have a kinetic energy of no more than 7.5 joules and which have the above-mentioned mark, can be used by persons who have reached the age of 18 can be acquired and owned without permission.

Likewise, the acquisition and possession of compressed air guns, spring guns and weapons in which cold propellant gases (CO 2 weapons) are used to drive the projectiles, which were shipped to the Federal Republic of Germany before 01.01.1970 or before 02.04.1991 of the im Unification Treaty named area were brought into the trade, permission-free.

No further license under the law on weapons is required just for the possession of the air rifle that meets the aforementioned requirements.

A gun license is required to carry these weapons in public (i.e. outside your own home or property).

13. When can I shoot with my air rifle?

In principle, shooting is only allowed at shooting ranges. Outside of shooting ranges, shooting is only permitted by the owner of the domiciliary right or with his consent in pacified property, provided that the projectiles cannot leave the property.

14. I am in possession of an electro-pulse device (stun gun). This has no certification mark. Is it now a prohibited item?

 

Electro pulse devices are covered by the German Weapons Act. It is forbidden to use these devices "unless they are officially approved as being harmless to health and have an official test mark".

Since 2008, the approval of such devices has been regulated by law on the basis of relevant legal ordinances, whereby the handling of old electrical pulse devices was protected for a transitional period. This transition period ended on December 31, 2010.

Since 01.01.2011, only the use of electrical pulse devices that have a test mark of the PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt) is allowed. The Federal Criminal Police Office therefore recommends paying attention to the presence of the official approval mark when purchasing such devices.

Private individuals who can be shown to have been in possession of a prohibited old device before 01.01.2011 are permitted to continue to own, but not use, this device. Exemptions would be required for the trade in old devices, which the Federal Criminal Police Office can issue after a case-by-case examination.

15. What documents do I have to have with me when I carry a weapon?

Anyone who wields a weapon must have an identity card or passport and, if a license to purchase it is required, the weapon possession card or, if a permit is required, the weapon license (Section 38 WaffG).

When carrying a cut and thrust weapon, an identity card or passport must also be carried with you.

Violations of the identification requirement will be punished as an administrative offense in accordance with Section 53, Paragraph 1, No. 20 of the WaffG.

16. How do I have to store my weapons?

Everyone who owns guns and / or ammunition is responsible for keeping them safe. This means that he must take precautions to prevent the loss or unauthorized ingestion of these items by third parties. These principles apply to all weapons, including, for example, owners of alarm weapons, irritant weapons, signal weapons, cut and thrust weapons.

Specifically, the requirements for storage are regulated in § 36 WaffG in conjunction with §§ 13, 14 AWaffV.

17. Can I continue to use my old gun safe of security level B according to VDMA 24992?

For gun safes of security level B according to VDMA 24992, which were purchased before July 6, 2017, a vested rule applies. The owner can keep his guns in this gun cabinet according to the old regulations. If gun ownership is given up, the ownership regulation also expires. This means that buyers or heirs can no longer use this gun safe.

If the gun safe is also used by an authorized person who lives in the same household as the owner of the gun safe, the authorization to use it continues after the owner's death. The authorization for use can then no longer be transferred or inherited.

18. What do I have to do if I inherit weapons?

In the event of inheritance, you must, within one month of accepting the inheritance or the expiry of the period stipulated for disclaiming the inheritance, issue a gun ownership card for the firearms that are subject to authorization or make an entry in the already issued gun ownership card or an addendum to an existing one Apply for a gun ownership card.
So far, heirs basically had no need of their own to own inherited weapons. This so-called inheritance privilege was limited to March 31, 2008. The following regulation now takes its place: heirs do not need to prove their own need in the future either if they have the weapon made unusable by an authorized weapon manufacturer or dealer using a blocking system that is placed in the barrel. As long as there is no blocking system for a hereditary weapon, the weapons authorities will initially allow an exception upon request.
The blocking obligation does not apply to heirs who have their own need to own a weapon, i. H. especially for hunters, marksmen or collectors. Upon request, the weapons authority can also exempt hereditary weapons that are or are to become part of a culturally and historically significant collection from the blocking obligation.
The rules on the blocking obligation only apply to inheritance cases that occur after April 1, 2008. Weapons that have already been inherited are not included in this for the time being, but only when they are inherited in the future.

19. When do I get a "yellow gun ownership card"?

"Yellow gun ownership cards" are only issued to members of recognized shooting sports associations.

20. Can I purchase repeating rifles or single-barrel handguns for cartridge ammunition on the “sporting rifle possession card” (“yellow weapon possession card”)?

No. The weapons law permits granted so far only continue to apply to the same extent as before (unlimited permit to purchase single-shot weapons with a length of more than 60 cm).

A new license is required for the weapons mentioned above.

21. Will anything change for holders of a "yellow gun ownership card"?

The previous »yellow gun ownership card« is still valid in the previous scope. In future, sport shooters will also be able to acquire so-called non-association weapons.

22. How are crossbows assessed in terms of weapons law?

Arm brushes are subject to the provisions of the Weapons Act. Acquisition, possession, management, trading and production are permit-free for persons who have reached the age of 18.

23. Which weapons are prohibited?

Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Weapons Act i. V. m. Annex 2 Section 1 prohibits the handling, i.e. in particular the acquisition, possession and carrying of certain weapons.

For example, the following are prohibited:

  • Forearm repeater shotguns with pistol grip (»Pump-Gun«),
  • Steel rods, killers or brass knuckles,
  • Throwing stars, i.e. star-shaped letters which, by their nature and handling, are intended to be thrown at a target and are capable of damaging health,
  • Precision slings,
  • Objects which, according to their nature and handling, are intended to damage health through throttling (e.g. Nun-Chakus, regardless of the respective material quality and construction of the devices, or other strangling wood),
  • Cutting and thrusting weapons whose shape is suitable for simulating another object or which are disguised with objects of daily use (e.g. stick rapiers or belt buckle knives),
  • Distance electro pulse devices (so-called air tasers).

Anyone who is found with such weapons despite the ban on handling such weapons is liable to prosecution

24. What are apparent weapons?

Apparent weapons are:

  • Firearms (i.e. handguns or long weapons) that by their external shape create the overall appearance of firearms and that do not use hot gases to propel the projectiles;
  • Replica firearms with the appearance of firearms;
  • Disabled firearms with the appearance of firearms.

This does not apply to items which, according to their overall appearance, are intended to be used for games or for traditional events or which are or are to be part of a culturally and historically significant collection. The Weapons Act gives exemplary criteria for this: If they are at least 50% larger or smaller than the imitation firearm, if they are made of neon-colored materials or if they do not have any firearms markings, the Weapons Act assumes that they are recognizable as imitations. Obvious toy weapons as part of a carnival costume and the like are therefore not affected by the law.

Firearms that require a license in accordance with Section 10 (4) WaffG are not considered weapons within the meaning of the Weapons Act, i. H. real firearms, even if their overall appearance gives the impression of a different firearm (e.g. single-shot weapons that look like automatic weapons), compressed air weapons, as well as alarm and irritant weapons. They are treated according to their actual functionality in terms of weapons law.

 

25. What types of knives are prohibited?

According to Section 42 a (1) 3rd Weapons Act, it is forbidden:
»(...) to use knives with one-hand lockable blade (one-hand knife) or fixed knives with a blade length of over 12cm. (...)«

According to § 42 a (2) WaffG, this does not apply:
"1. for use in photo, film or television recordings or theater performances, 2. for transport in a locked container, 3. for carrying the objects according to paragraph 1 No. 2 and 3, provided there is a legitimate interest. "

In paragraph (3) of the same paragraph, the legitimate interest is explicitly regulated as follows:
"A legitimate interest according to Paragraph 2 No. 3 exists in particular if the objects are carried in connection with the exercise of the profession, the maintenance of customs, sport or a generally recognized purpose."

26. What should I do if I find a prohibited weapon?

Anyone who finds a prohibited weapon must immediately report this to the competent authority (i.e. weapons authority or, in urgent cases, any police station). The competent authority can then issue instructions on how to proceed. For example, it can order it to be secured or rendered unusable.

In any case, you shouldn't just take the gun with you and keep it in your apartment. Depending on the type of weapon, the unauthorized possession of weapons is threatened with imprisonment or a fine.

27. Why do I need a European Firearms Pass?

The European Firearms Pass is required if you intend to travel to or through another member state of the European Union with firearms or ammunition. The European Firearms Pass serves as a legitimation document for the firearms and ammunition you are carrying with you to the authorities of the other Member State.

This document is issued by the weapons authority responsible for you. The weapons for which you are legally legitimized are entered.

It should be noted that in some member states, consent to import weapons must be obtained before entering the country. Some reliefs exist for hunters and sport shooters.

More detailed information on this is available from the respective diplomatic missions of the member countries.

It should be pointed out, however, that the European Firearms Pass does not replace the permits required under weapons law in Germany.

28. How do I have to act as a private person if I have bought a firearm or ammunition abroad and want to bring it to Germany?

A distinction must first be made between whether you want to bring the firearm or ammunition to Germany from a member state of the European Union or from a third country.

The import of weapons and ammunition that require a license from a third country requires a license (Section 29 (1) WaffG). This permit (permit) is issued by your local weapons authority. The permit must be carried with you when you bring the goods (Section 38 No. 1 b) WaffG).

The prerequisite for the issue of the permit is that the recipient is a person authorized to acquire and possess the goods and that safe transport is guaranteed by a person authorized to acquire and possess weapons (Section 29 (1) WaffG). The appropriate weapon law permit as well as proof of proper transport must be presented.

If you intend to bring weapons that require a permit from an EU member state to Germany, you will also need a corresponding permit (Section 29 (2) WaffG). The content is based on Section 29 (2) No. 1-4 AWaffV.

However, the (German) permit is only issued after the Member State has given its permission to bring the weapon or ammunition that is subject to authorization (Section 29 (2) WaffG).

29. What are the rules if I want to take firearms or ammunition to another country?

Here, too, a distinction must be made between whether you want to take weapons with you to a third country or a member state of the European Union.

Taking them to a third country does not require a permit under German law. However, there may be corresponding import regulations in the respective destination country. It is therefore advisable to inquire about this in good time before starting your journey.

German weapons law does not require a permit to take firearms or ammunition into a member state of the European Union. However, a European firearms pass is required to take it with you to the respective member state (see question 27). In addition, there must be a permit from the Member State visited, which allows firearms or ammunition to be taken to the relevant country.

There are facilities for sport shooters and hunters.

However, in order to avoid surprises, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the provisions of the respective destination country in good time in order to clarify the legal situation.

30. How do you get a gun license, what are the rules and conditions for it? Does anyone who feels threatened or has a not entirely harmless job get permission to own and use weapons?

You need a gun license to carry a gun. This permit is only granted if, in addition to the usual requirements for the granting of weapons law permits such as e.g. reliability, the applicant is able to make credible that he is much more endangered than the general public by attacks on life and limb and that the acquisition and the Firearm is suitable to reduce this risk. He is only allowed to use this weapon if he can credibly show that the above-mentioned requirements also exist outside his home, business premises or pacified property.

Therefore, for example, not every private detective has a gun license, as is often portrayed on television. Here, too, it applies that he must assert a corresponding need for this.

Even employees of security services are only authorized to carry weapons under certain conditions. This is the case, for example, when it is made credible that a person or an object is particularly at risk.

A gun license is issued for a maximum of three years for certain firearms. It can be extended twice for a maximum of three years. Its scope is to be limited by the weapons authority to certain occasions or areas. These rules can only be deviated from in exceptional cases.

Marginal column

© Saxon State Ministry of the Interior