Germany again tightens rules governing (American's) privately-owned firearms


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Drizzt
January 3, 2003, 10:11 PM
Germany again tightens rules governing privately-owned firearms


By Jon R. Anderson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, January 2, 2003



HEIDELBERG, Germany — Officials are again tightening the rules governing privately owned firearms among U.S. military and civilian employees within Germany.

Now, even personally owned weapons that are stored unused in unit arms rooms and military rod and gun clubs must be registered with the German government.

Gunowners have until Dec. 1 to comply or guns will be confiscated and disposed of, according to a recent Army announcement. Those in violation of the new rules could also face disciplinary action.

The new rule is the latest evolution in gun regulation changes that began in 1999, designed to put U.S. servicemembers and military civilians under the same gun laws followed by German civilians.

Until then, U.S. personnel enjoyed a relatively simply registration process similar to privately owned car registration.

Under the new rules, however, U.S. personnel who want to keep and use their own weapons for hunting and sport shooting must obtain a special permit, called a Waffenbesitzkart. To do that, German law requires completion of an in-depth hunting course, which usually takes about three months, or active participation in a sport shooting club, which usually takes about six months to join.

U.S. personnel who didn’t want — or have time — to deal with the hassle had the option of storing their weapons in their unit arms room or at the local military-run rod and gun club until they transferred out of Germany. But not any more, under the latest rule change.

Firearms “that are not registered with German authorities by Dec. 1, 2003, or otherwise legally disposed of in time — i.e., shipped out of Germany, turned in for destruction or sold to authorized persons — will be considered contraband and disposed of in coordination with host nation authorities,” according to the Army announcement.

The procedures for complying with German registration law as well as existing Army regulations can be found on U.S. Army Europe’s Web site at www.per.hqusareur.army.mil/services/mwrd/index.htm.

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=12356

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2dogs
January 3, 2003, 10:16 PM
Maybe I'm wrong- didn't these guys at one time do this funny little "goosestep' thing, and weird salutes and stuff?:neener:

cuchulainn
January 3, 2003, 10:23 PM
Gunowners have until Dec. 1 to comply or guns will be confiscated and disposed of, according to a recent Army announcement. How can they be disposed of if they are not registered? Does the Army require soldiers so register their private weapons if on base housing?

How common is off base housing in Germany?

Blackcloud6
January 3, 2003, 10:49 PM
All privatly owned weapons of service members in USAREUR have to be registered with the provost marshal whether you live on or off base.

I wonder how this new German requirment is affected by the Status of Forces agreement, or di d we just roll over and allow the the Garmans to negotiate this into the SOFA.

When I was over the in the 80's I got my German hunting license through the Army and did not have to meet the same requirments as a German citizen. I wonder if the US service members will be able to get the required card by going through a similar procedure.

One more reason why we should bring the boys back home. Germany (and now S. Korea) doesn't appreciate what we doine for them anymore.

Redlg155
January 3, 2003, 11:01 PM
Does the Army require soldiers so register their private weapons if on base housing?

In the majority of places, Yes.

When I was in Germany in the early 90s I lived off post. All was fine until a weapons incident involving a SSGT. Using the Army mentality the Brigade Commander ordered all weapons belonging to ranks SGT and below to be turned into the arms room to be checked out by submitting a request to your company commander.

Didn't make a difference that a SSGT commited the offense.

Oh well. As much as I enjoyed the Military I'm glad I'm free of the opression and assenine laws governing the military. You have just about zero rights and are subjected to idiotic decisions by commanders.

The guys in Germany are stuck because the military does not care about private weapons. The U.S. Army barely trusts its soldiers with issue weapons. I've spent quite a few days guarding an Ammo Supply Point armed with a baton.

Stupid...just plain stupid.

Good SHooting
Red

Wildalaska
January 4, 2003, 12:34 AM
Their country, their laws, why are we wasting breath over it...

Lochaber
January 4, 2003, 02:18 AM
Out of curiosity, why are we still there? Are we afraid that Poland is going to invade? If I am not mistaken Germany is now surounded by NATO countries. Hell, even Russia is almost NATO now, we have joint training with them. How about we pack up and leave?

We can justify Korea but how do we justify Germany? Let them loose a bit more money, as if they werent already in the dog house with %11 unemployment. Maybe they will wake up. And if they dont, they might have to build up their own military and invade France. Wouldnt that be wet dream enducing?

Loch

Wildalaska
January 4, 2003, 02:35 AM
And if they dont, they might have to build up their own military and invade France.

I have a French military rifle..never shot and only dropped once...:rolleyes:

dave
January 4, 2003, 08:28 AM
"Their country, their laws, why are we wasting breath over it..." by wild alaska



I agree with you on that, sir. But I do have one question. Aren't U.S. military bases considered to be U.S. property, just like the embassy grounds?

Blackcloud6
January 4, 2003, 09:48 AM
>>Their country, their laws, why are we wasting breath over it...<<

Yep and they can defend it themselves, too.

M67
January 4, 2003, 02:28 PM
Just curious. Are foreign military personnel in the US exempt from US firearms legislation?

Unless I'm mistaken, 18 year olds can legally own handguns in Germany, so maybe some of those servicemen are better off there than at home? Unless of course the US Army has something to say about the lax German gun laws...

Griff
January 4, 2003, 02:31 PM
I work there, live nearby (just for two more years, just for two more years…). The politicos on both sides are dancing on a tightrope, rumors all over the place. Remember, there's 3 ways to do things: The Right way, The Wrong way, and The Army way. Sadly, we've gotten used to it, but still disagree most heartily and vocally whenever possible. Working on a letter to the 26th ASG Commander, but his hands are probably tied, too. We’ll see him next weekend at an upcoming community event and ask, may get some info.
We knew something was coming when the Rod & Gun Club started handing out "schießende Bücher", or shooting (log-) books, to keep track of our attendance and activities. Felt a bit Californicated, you know? Good ‘ol guy that worked there named Buck quit shortly after, but stayed tight-lipped, left a lot of room for speculation, its a fairly tight community.
About the same time the Sunday breakfasts were shut down because the local officials (a percentage of "Host Nation Local Nationals" are required by SOFA agreement to be employed wherever possible at U.S. facilities, as I understand it) were whining about tax regulations and working on Sunday. Our big guys rolled over on us, and shut it down several months ago. I’ve shot with Polizei many times there, too, guess they were training tax-free as well (the local German Schutzenhaus is down the road a klick or two)
Haven't been back for a while, just go to use the range facilities (when local regulations, mostly religion-related, allow) but nobody's happy and attendance is dropping off.
On the Up side, the Germans aren't happy (to say the least) with their current gov't, which has up to 40% income tax, 10% unemployment, and a bunch of socialist-leaning Greens in power. Maybe there's hope for them, yet. Still working on it for us.

T.Stahl
January 4, 2003, 03:25 PM
We are a souvereign nation, so where's the problem? Are American soldiers serving in Japan or GB allowed to own guns at all? Why should the gun laws be different for members of foreign military services? Should the technical regulations regarding privately owned vehicles (regular checks) be different, too?

I wonder how many American soldiers enjoy their time in Germany and being allowed to drink beer before they are 21. ;)

Wildalaska
January 4, 2003, 03:48 PM
Yep and they can defend it themselves, too.

No quarrle with that, pull all the troops out of Europe (except GB, they are our allies) and let em all fend for themselves...

T.Stahl
January 4, 2003, 03:55 PM
No quarrle with that, pull all the troops out of Europe (except GB, they are our allies) and let em all fend for themselves...

Right, no airlift hubs, no supply depots, no medical facilities close to the Middle East theatre. You really want that? Ok, close all your facilities and rise new ones in GB.

In which case the question remains: Are US service members allowed to own private guns on or off base in Great Britain and what are the laws?

Drizzt
January 4, 2003, 06:34 PM
T.Stahl: I would rather we not pull everyone out. Do you know if there have been any issues with American servicemen and privately owned weapons? Or is this change more along the lines of trying to have the same restrictions on all present?

Don Gwinn
January 4, 2003, 08:41 PM
Their land, their laws. I don't see the problem. If we don't want our soldiers living like their citizens, we should pull out. We won't do that, of course, because as Herr Stahl points out, those bases are not about us "defending the Germans from invasion" at all. Even when the Soviets were there, does anyone really believe we had bases in Germany because we wanted to be kind to the German people? That was certainly part of it, but can anyone deny that we didn't want the Soviets to own Europe?

I don't apologize for that attitude, by the way. There's nothing wrong with American policy being based on American self-interest. But let's not get so arrogant that we think our soldiers shouldn't be subject to German laws in Germany!

Odessa
January 4, 2003, 10:50 PM
The current German government is just one generation away from being Nazis; they did it once - starting with gun control, maybe they are starting on it again. We don't NEED the bases there anymore, I say lets get the hell out.

sixgun_symphony
January 5, 2003, 04:12 AM
Don Gwinn,


You forgot who won the war. It's an American army that occupies Germany and not a German army that occupies America.

Our brass is too diplomatic. They need to stand up for the GI's and tell the America hating greenie-socialist government there to bugger off.

T.Stahl
January 5, 2003, 04:18 AM
Do you know if there have been any issues with American servicemen and privately owned weapons?

I am not aware of any problems with American soldiers or family members privatelyowning firearms (felonies or such). They seem to be just as peaceful as German legal gun owners.
I think the new legislation has to do with becoming a fully souvereign state when we reunited with the Eastern part of Germany and "the same law for all".

The current German government is just one generation away from being Nazis; they did it once - starting with gun control, maybe they are starting on it again. We don't NEED the bases there anymore, I say lets get the hell out.

Thank you for reminding me of our past. I wonder how far American politicians are from being Nazis themselves, HighCap-ban, Assault-Weapons-ban, et al. :confused:

BTW, it's the American strategy to defend the CONUS on the opposite coast. You're protecting your Atlantic coast with troops in Europe and your Pacific coast with troops in East Asia. Pulling your troops out of Europe (or Korea) would be fundamental change in US strategies.

T.Stahl
January 5, 2003, 04:23 AM
You forgot who won the war. It's an American army that occupies Germany and not a German army that occupies America.

That's the point.
You are no longer occupying Germany, we are fully souvereign now.

another okie
January 5, 2003, 11:06 AM
T. Stahl is right. The U.S. forces in Germany are no longer legally an occupying force, nor have they been for some time. The last place U.S. and British forces had such rights was Berlin, because of the special treaties governing it. Germany is our ally, not our subject.

benewton
January 5, 2003, 12:01 PM
Spent '72-74 playing Army in Germany, and learned a great deal while there.

NYC should be used as a tactical nuclear weapons test site.

Germany should be used as a strategic nuclear weapons test site.

Don Gwinn
January 5, 2003, 12:27 PM
:scrutiny:

Sixgun, I was not aware that our presence in Germany was a military occupation. I bet the Germans would be surprised to learn it, too. Didn't know the political and military situation hasn't changed in Europe in the last 57 years. My bad.

Again, "The war" you reference was 57 years ago. In the next war after that one, commonly referred to as either "The Cold War" or "World War III," the West Germans were on our side. When it ended, they remained our allies and remain so to this day.

But by all means, let's start pushing Europe around while we're scrambling to figure out whether we can handle Iraq and North Korea at the same time. That sounds like a good idea!

Odessa
January 5, 2003, 12:45 PM
The US stayed in Germany (and other European countries) post-WW2 for several good reasons; first as an Army of Occupation, primarily dealing with de-nazification and vitally needed human aid (refugees, basic food/shelter issues etc). The US assisted in the re-establishment of democracy and government, and human/economic assistance (the Marshall Plan). We were also there to keep the Soviet Union from moving any further west - the overarching US strategy from September 1950 until the early/mid-1990's was entitled a "Strategy of Containment"; i.e., not allowing communism to spread any further (that is why we fought the Korean and Vietnam wars and spent billions on foriegn assistance). Beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual fall of communism the US evolved it overarching strategy to one of "engagement and enlargement"; i.e., engage the world in various places as needed (the former Yugoslavia) and in doing so enlarge the number of countries operating democractically (that would be in our best interest in keeping peace as democratic governments are less likely to start wars for territorial or politcial reasons). Brings me to my point, we do not NEED to be in the western countries of Europe anymore, if we need to be there at all in would be in places like Poland, Hungary, etc, in which our mutual strategies would complement each other for the gain of all. We should remove our forces from Germany and locate further east for the good of both (forward deployment bases we could use for SWA and other hotspots in the region and the economic and stability that having our divisions/corps on the ground brings to the host nation). The less a country needs us the more restrictive the SOFA's will become (i.e., present day Germany). Odessa

Tamara
January 5, 2003, 03:47 PM
I pretty much agree with everyone else who suggests we can draw down our commitments in Germany now that the Red Horde is unlikely to come pouring through the Fulda Gap. There's really no need to keep heavy divisions there any longer. If anything, due to our probable long-term commitments in the Near East, we should look for an island in the Med to lease depot facilities on.

But while our troops are there, they are bound by the civil laws of their host nation. As M67 pointed out, an FFL in the US can't sell a visiting 18 year-old German troop a handgun.

Does a serviceman from Vermont stationed in California get to follow Vermont gun laws while there?

T.Stahl
January 5, 2003, 04:12 PM
Benewton, you are repeating yourself:

www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=131866&pagenumber=2

2nd Amendment
January 5, 2003, 04:19 PM
The German government is neither our subject nor much of an ally. Like most of Europe they are simply a drain on money and resources and while I'd welcome many of those European individuals here i'd as soon we let their governments sink under their own weight.

denfoote
January 5, 2003, 04:58 PM
Their country, their laws, why are we wasting breath over it...

Exactly!!! Why then don't we get the (vulgar for human copulation) out!!!!! :cuss:
Let these European countries take care of their own security!! They were all hot to form the EU, why not let them do it!! If they want to get into another war with some two bit dictator that has ruffled their feathers, let 'em!!!

Bring our boys and girls home!!!! Stay out of foreign entanglements!!!

Rotorhead
January 5, 2003, 11:39 PM
Don and Tam,

I can see your point about their country their rules but where do you draw the line? Their justice system? Why do I have to give up all my rights while I'm outside conus defending yours? No flame just wondering?

Former Fulda speed bump trooper.

Tamara
January 5, 2003, 11:55 PM
Suppose a serviceman gets posted to Japan or Korea? :eek:

Compared to those duty stations, Germany is a gun-lover's paradise.

Rotorhead
January 6, 2003, 12:22 AM
Kinda like moving to CA. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth and sick feeling in your gut. BTW your island in the Med idea was being used, when we shut down Fulda all the equip was placed on what they call preposition float (prepo float). Probably about the same money as buying an island in the med. :rolleyes:

Bahadur
January 6, 2003, 05:24 AM
Odessa:
The less a country needs us the more restrictive the SOFA's will become (i.e., present day Germany).Outstanding point! Note the clamorings of SOFA "update" from ROK government.

Back when the US forces withdrew from RVN, the ROK government was pretty panicked about the US commitment to Asia and wanted the US forces to stay practically at any cost.

Now that the ROK economy and military capabilities have increased tremendously (certainly it outspends North Korea on defense by several orders of magnitude), its outlook on SOFA has changed accordingly.

Tamara:
Suppose a serviceman gets posted to Japan or Korea?

Compared to those duty stations, Germany is a gun-lover's paradise.Exactly! There is, however, one bright spot for a gun-missing American in Korea - Cheju Island. Though the prices are nearly extortionate, one can shoot a variety of firearms there (nothing much really, but...). More importantly, the pheasant hunting there at the right time of the year can be quite good.

Marko Kloos
January 6, 2003, 03:23 PM
The current German government is just one generation away from being Nazis

On what facts do you base that observation?

I've lived in both countries for a long time, and I can tell you that the U.S. government is a few steps closer to totalitarianism than the German government...thanks to the War On Some Drugs, and now the War on Terror and the PATRIOT act. If things continue at this pace, the US will resemble the Third Reich before Germany does. At least the German government doesn't routinely send kitten stompers to kick in people's doors and shoot women over an unpaid $5 tax.

T.Stahl
January 6, 2003, 04:43 PM
Before anyone gets the wrong idea:
I am in favour of American troops in Germany.
a) The nearby 557th Arty Group/96th Ordnance made my time in the Supply Bn 320, Special Weapons, much more interesting. :) Until they moved the nuke warheads back to the US. :(
b) AFN is much less infested with HipHop or Techno than German stations.
c) It gave me the opportunity to shoot the M16 and M4. :D

I understand both sides.
The German legislature that wants the same law applying to everyone who lives inside the German border. It makes live easier for them, less exceptions.
On the other hand I have a lot of sympathy for the American soldiers. I'd be rather...err...unhappy if I'd be assigned someplace where I couldn't take my guns with me.

I'm very...err...unhappy with the way the German government treats our own armed forces. We have 30% the population of the US, but only 10% the defence funds for about 20-25% the soldiers. And then someone wonders why need the help of the Americans to treat with an indeed purely European problem like the Balkans, which we Europeans should be able to solve ourselves. :fire:


Re: Moving the US facilities to the Eastern members of NATO.
Ask your service members where they'd like to live - Germany or Poland?

Tamara
January 6, 2003, 04:49 PM
I think he meant one generation in the other direction... ;)

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