1. What people are allowed to handle guns and ammunition?
Only 18-year old people are generally allowed to handle a gun. The law allows exceptions. People over 14 may handle tested irritant spray devices. There are exceptions for minors shooting at shooting ranges or owning a shooting licence for juveniles. People who want to purchase, possess or handle a gun need to have a weapons permit. People over 18 are allowed to purchase and to own blank, irritant and gas signal guns without any permission. (see also number 5)
2. When do I need a weapon licence?
Valid weapon documents like firearms ownership licenses and firearms carry permits are generally essential for buying, owning and bearing arms as well as for purchasing and possessing ammunition.
3. Whom to contact for a valid weapon document?
You are required to get in contact with the local administrative districts and municipalities that are in charge of issuing the licences or permits.
4. What requirements must be met for getting a firearms ownership license?
Following general requirements for issuing such a license must be met:
a) reaching the age of 18
b) proving required responsibility
In order to prove that responsibility the weapons authority gets unrestricted information from the federal central criminal register, the central register of prosecution and a statement from the local police office.
c) personal suitability
The applicant must be personally reliable meaning neither legally incompetent nor addicted to alcohol or any other intoxicating substances.
d) proving needs
You can prove certain needs by showing a particular economical or personal interest, e.g. being a hunter, sports shooter or collector of guns.
e) proving required competence and technical knowledge
5. When do I need a "small firearms carry permit?
You need it for bearing arms used as warning devices, alarms, irritant materials or to fire non-lethal incapacitants that have a PTB sticker. "Bearing" weapons means having the weapon with you outside your own flat, your own shop, your own office or your own property. It`s generally forbidden to carry the weapon with you in public venues, in meetings, during sport and cultural events or fairs. But it means that you don`t need a licence for such a weapon for possessing and keeping it in your own flat. If you need such a licence you have to request it at the local weapons` authority. It should also be pointed out that shooting in public is generally forbidden except in cases of self defence. Laws regulate certain exceptions like theatre performances, giving signals in distress at sea etc.
6. Do I always have to carry the "minor" gun licence with me?
As soon as you bear the weapon in the public you must carry the gun licence as well as your ID card or passport with you.
7. What happens if I use a gun with a PTB sticker in public without a licence?
The person bearing and using arms as warning devices, alarms or to fire non-lethal incapacitants being caught without such a licence in public can expect a prison sentence up to three years or a heavy fine. Moreover the weapon can be confiscated.
8. I possess pepper spray. May I keep it according to to new weapons law or do I have to dispose it?
Pepper spray is only allowed to use exclusively for keeping animals at bay. In such case you can purchase, possess and carry it with you.
9. Am I allowed to carry my irritant substance spray with me?
You can purchase, possess and carry irritant substance spray with you if it is free of substances that endanger health and bears an official certification mark. Only people older than 14 years are allowed to handle it.
10. How to handle arms without a PTB sticker?
For those arms you need a usual gun licence or permit to carry.
11. Am I allowed to shoot having the "small firearms carry permit" e.g. on New Year`s Eve?
No, you are not. Out of your private estate you need a separate shooting permission. On your private estate you can use alarm guns with a PTB sticker if the owner of the house shoots himself or allows somebody to use the gun. Guns have to be licensed according to §7 weapons and firing law and bullets must not leave the estate.
12. Do I have to apply for a weapons permit using my air rifle?
There are other regulations for guns signed with a "F" in a pentagon. For only possessing an air rifle you do not need any further weapons permit. If you bear these guns outside your own flat or estate, you need a gun licence. Former handguns and rifles that have been rebuilt into air weapons need a certain licence. People who possess such weapons have to apply for a licence and have to prove a certain need.
13. When am I allowed to shoot with my air rifle?
Shooting is generally only allowed at shooting ranges. Outside shooting ranges firing is only permitted by the owner of the estate as long as bullets do not leave the estate.
14. I possess a stun gun without a certification mark. Is that a prohibited article?
Handling stun guns without a certification mark is generally forbidden. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigations (BKA) issued some exceptional permissions handling those guns. Hereafter private individuals who legally possess such stun guns may keep them. Within that time such guns may be purchased and handled.
15. What documents do I have to carry with me if I have a weapon on me?
People carrying a firegun including cutting and stabbing guns must have an ID card or passport and if required a weapons certificate and/or gun licence. ( §38 Weapons Act). Legal actions according to §53 Weapons Act are taken in case of violating identity card requirements .
16. How do I have to store my gun?
Each person possessing a gun is in charge of storing it in a safe place. That means he has to take precautions in order to prevent others from handling it unauthorizedly. This principle applies to any weapon and any owner of e.g. alarm guns, signal, irritant, cutting or stabbing guns. Requirements for storing are regulated by law in §36 Weapons Act and §13, 14 General Weapons Regulation.
17. Can I continue using my old weapons locker?
There are other regulations and rights for weapon lockers (security level B according to VDMA 24992) that were bought before 6 July 2017. Owners can continue storing weapons in their lockers according to the former regulations. If they give back their weapons, they have to follow the new regulations. It means that people who purchase or inherit the weapons cannot continue using this locker.
If another qualified person who lives in the same household shares the locker with the owner, this person is allowed using this locker beyond the grave of the owner. In such a cse the permission for using the locker cannot be handed over or inherited.
18. What do I have to do if I inherit guns?
In case of inheriting a gun you have to apply for issuing a weapons certificate or the registration of a gun licence. Heirs do not have to prove any need for a gun if they ask an arms manufacturer or authorized gun dealer to make the gun unusable by installing a blocking system into the barrel. As long as there is no blocking system available for the weapon inherited there are exceptions. Blocking the barrel is not obligatory for heirs who proe a personal need for handling a gun like hunters, sport shooters or collectors. Furthermore there are exceptions of blocking the barrel if you inhereit weapons as part of or becoming a cultural- historical collection that you have to apply for.All these regulations apply only to successions after 1 April 2008. Weapons inherited before are not covered but only handed over from one generation to the next.
19. When do I get a yellow firearms ownership license?
These documents are only issued to members of authorized shooting federations.
20. Can I purchase long arms with a repaeting mechanism or single shot short firearms with one barrel for ammunition with a yellow firearms ownership license?
No. The licenses issued are only valid for getting single-shot short firearms longer than 60cm. You need another new license for the firearms above mentioned.
21. Is anything changing for the licensee of the yellow firearms ownership license?
The present "yellow firearms ownership license" is valid as before. Competition shooters can purchase firearms that are not used in their federation without proving any necessity.
22. What about cross bows?
Cross bows are liable to the Weapons Act regulations. Purchasing, handling, dealing and producing them are allowed to any person older than 18 years.
23. What firearms are prohibited?
Following firearms are prohibited:
- pump-guns and pump action shotguns
- steel rods, coshes or knuckle dusters
- throwing stars and discs having the shape of a star that harm people
- slingshots/ catapults
- batons, cutting and thrust weapons
People being checked and having one of these weapons prohibited commit a punishable offence and are prosecuted.
24. What are improvised firearms?
- guns (handguns and long arms) that look like real firearms without using hot gas for driving bullets
- imitation of guns that look like firearms
- guns made inoperative that look like firearms
Things that are exclusively used for games, custom events or important cultural collections are excluded. The Weapons Act names exact criteria to meet: They have to be at least either 50% bigger or smaller than the improvised firearm, consist of neon-couloured material or labelled as an improvised firearm so that are recognized as an imitation. Obvious toy weapons as part of carneval costuming are not affected by the law.
Guns that require a permission according to § 10 Abs. 4 WaffG, that means real guns like air pistols and arms used as warning devices are no improvised firearms. They are handled according to their actual functionality.
25. What kind of knives are prohibited?
Following knives are prohibited:
one hand knives or knives having a blade longer than 12cm
According Weapons Act §42 a (2) there are the following exceptions:
1. using them for theatre performances, TV and film productions
2. carrying them in prescribed containers
3. proving a certain necessity, interest or need, e.g. licensed hunters, competition shooters, custom traditions etc
26. What do I have to do if I find a prohibited weapon?
People who find a prohibited weapon have to report that to the authority in charge of weapons or any police station. They will tell you how to go on and they can secure or make the weapon useless. Never take it and keep it on your premises. Illegal possession of weapons is prosecuted and people can even be sent to prison.
27. What do I need a European Firearms Pass (EFP) for?
You need the EFP if you tavel through one or more EU countries with firearms or ammunition. You use that license as authentification for the firearms or ammunition carried with you. An applicant for an EFP must already hold a licence from the member state in which he/she holds the firearm. The license is issued by the local authority in charge of weapons for that firearm that you are authorized to possess.
Some countries may ask for an import permission which must be requested in advance. The EFP benefits hunters and competition shooters. For further information contact the respective consulate or embassy of your member state. Important to know is that the EFP does not replace the federal firearms regulations.
28. What do I have to do as a private person if I buy a weapon or ammunition in another country and want to take it to Germany?
There is a difference if you purchase and take a weapon or ammunition from a member or non-member state of the EU. You need a permit if you import it from a non EU country. The document is issued by the local authority in charge of weapons and you have to have it with you during the transport. You have to be a person that is allowed and trustworthy to possess that weapon and have to guarantee a secure transport.
If you want to take firearms from a EU country, you need a permit as well but you get the German permit only after proving the permit of the respective EU country to export that weapon.
29. What rules are valid if I want to take firearms or ammunition to another country?
There is a difference if you take weapons to a member or non-member state of the EU. According to German law you do not need any permit to take a weapon to a non-EU member state. Perhaps there are other import regulations in the country you travel to which should be requested in advance. Even for taking weapons to another EU member state you do not need any permit according to German law. But you are required to have the European Firearm Pass (EFP) see nr.27. Furthermore you need to have the permit of the respective EU country that you travel to and that allows importing the weapon or ammunition. Competition shooters and hunters benefit. Better make sure all the foreign regulations in advance.
30. How do I get a firearms carry permit?
Firearms carry permits entitle licensees to publicly carry legally owned weapons, loaded in a concealed or non-concealed manner.That license is only issued if you meet general reqirements like trustworthiness. Carry permits are usually only issued to persons with a particular need for carrying a firearm.This includes some private security personnel and persons living under a raised threat-level like celebrities and politicians but not every private detective. A mandatory legal and safety class and shooting proficiency tests are required to obtain such a permit. They are valid up to three years and can be extended twice for three more years. Validity is restricted for certain areas and events.