Current German Gun Laws


February 15, 2005, 12:30 PM
Looking into a job in Germany and I was wondering if anyone had some 1st hand experience or linked information on their current gun laws. Most of the stuff I've found online is a few years old or is from the infamous 1938 laws.

Not interested in self-defense, just in the sport shooting parts of the law.


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Sergeant Sabre
February 15, 2005, 01:13 PM
I have some cursory experience from having taken an educational trip there in 1996:

While there, I inquired about firearms laws. Although I do not know the specifics, I know that you must procure a license from the government to even begin thinking about owning a weapon. One must take a government-sactioned safety course before this license will be granted.

To look into it further, I suggest to contact your nearest German Consulate.

February 15, 2005, 01:28 PM
We have a member here, resident in Germany - he shoots IIRC and probably could help - hope he might see this thread.

February 15, 2005, 01:31 PM
I believe the member is Trooper and if I am correct he is in German Law Enforcement and is obviously a shooter. He could probably help you out quite a bit.


February 15, 2005, 01:40 PM
Only advice I have is don't mess with the Polizei(cops) over there, they really do regularly carry Uzi subs, and G-18's. I lived on base over there so I couldn't be trusted with my own firearms, just the ones they issued me...strangely enough. I never asked about firearms, I do know there is deer hunting over there, but I think it was overly regulated IIRC. Just my $.02

February 15, 2005, 01:45 PM
T.Stahl - that's the guy. Lives in Stuttgart.

February 15, 2005, 03:00 PM
Germans buy as many guns per person as Americans and have been doing so for some years. Shooting and hunting is a pretty serious industry there.

I think a sports shooter should be better off in Germany than in some of the less gun friendly places in the US.

One thing that will be different is that everything will be more club oriented and probably a bit more formal than most Americans are used to. On the other hand you may find that this "serious" approach means that them Sauerkraut-eaters actually can shoot! :)

Just wait for T.Stahl or trooper to chime in.

I know my post isn't much help, but at least it bumps the thread to the top...

February 15, 2005, 04:01 PM
Ja, hier!?

First, I have NEVER seen a German police officer with an Uzi or Glock 18 and I'm pretty sure that no German state issues these guns to its police officers. But SIGs, Walthers, HKs and MP5s are just as nice.

There are a few ways to get a permit to own guns in Germany:

a) You can prove that you are in much higher danger than the rest of the society and need a gun for self-defense. IIRC, there are less than 20,000 carry permits in Germany, most of them probably in the hands of security services. Carry license = Waffenschein, "grey card"

b1) You want to become kind of an expert witness and need the guns to gain the necessary knowledge.
b2) You want to become a collector - difficult. You might get a permit for guns of value for cultural history. These permits cover a special "subject". I don't know much about this, but we have at least two collectors in our club, one collecting "handguns of the German police forces", the other collecting "German service rifles". AFAIK, you have to begin before WW1 and then collect your way until you reach contemporary guns. I doubt one would be granted a permit with the subject "handguns with polymer frames" or "semi-auto rifles in .223". Collector's license = Sammlerkarte, "red card"

c) You become a hunter. Now, hunting is a very serious matter in Germany! ;) Becoming a hunter in Germany in both time consuming and expensive. From what I hear from the hunters I know it takes about a year and costs a couple a thousand Euros.

d) You become a sports shooter. That's probably the easiest and most convenient way. You have to prove:
- A clean background, though I don't know how they do this in case of foreigners. But basically foreigners CAN get a license.
- Your practical and theoretical knowledge regarding guns and gun-laws. It used to be something like course taking two to four evenings with a multiple-choice test and a practical exam showing you can safely handle a gun, point out different calibers, etc.
- That you have been "regularly and successfully" practising for twelve months according to the rules of an approved shooting association.

An SOP could be:
- You find a club near you. There will be one, whereever you go, just have to look for them. There are more than 30 in greater Stuttgart e.g..
- Shoot as a guest. So you can see if the club fits your interests. Some clubs concentrate on different disciplines/types of guns/ranges.
- Become a member.
- Shoot about twice a month for a year.
- Apply for your license.

There are two licenses for sports shooters. The "sports-shooters license" ("yellow card") for multiple-shot muzzle loaders (mostly revolvers), non-semi-auto rifles, single-shot shotguns (including over-unders and SxS), single-shot pistols. The "green card" for any other gun: semi-auto pistols, revolvers, semi-auto rifles and shotguns, pump-action shotguns.
In both cases you have to prove your "need" for the guns. In case of the yellow card you only have to prove your need for the first entry in the card. In case of the green card you have to prove your need for every single gun.

Ok, that's it - roughly.
And if you're not completly confused by now you didn't pay enough attention. :D
There are more rules regarding storage, transportation, handloading your own ammo, getting a license to buy black-powder for muzzle-loaders, ...

PS: Some guns don't require a license. Air-guns with a muzzle-energy of less than 7.5Joules (~5.5lbft), single-shot muzzle-loaders (though you need a license to buy the black-powder), blank-firing guns or gas guns.

PPS: They changed the gun-laws in Germany by April 1st 2003. So make sure online info refers to this new version.

February 15, 2005, 07:04 PM
Hey I could be wrong, it's been 14 yrs since I was there, and not as into guns as I am now. They sure looked like uzi's not MP5s, but I could be wrong.

February 15, 2005, 08:11 PM
AFAIK the German police never had Uzis. For some time they had Walther SMGs (MPK, MPL) before they switched to MP5s.
And there's actually not much reason to be afraid of ordinary police officers.
That's unless you're an innocent bystander or when they actually don't really want to kill you. :rolleyes:

February 15, 2005, 10:03 PM
T. Stahl,

Thanks for the info, I'll pm you with my more specific questions. I love this forum. ;)

February 16, 2005, 01:42 PM
Stahl pointed out that people might be interested in my questions so...

Hello Deavis!

...My understanding is that East Germany works a little different than West Germany but the "need" is really up to your local law enformcement.

There should be no difference between the eastern and western part of Germany.

...Now let's talk about the other two.

Yellow card is easiest to get. Up to eight single shot weapons. It is sporting but not what we consider American sporting. I read that their is a caliber restriction on the yellow card, is that true?

I think you're referring to the pre-April'03 "yellow card". Back then the yellow card was restricted to single-shot longguns. Many shooters kind of collected rifles on this type of license by having the rifles converted to single-shot. The new yellow card allows the "need"-less purchase of the described types of guns (there's a limit of two new guns in a six month period, though). There's no caliber limit, anything between .17 and .700NE goes.

Green card is probably what I want, since I'd feel lonesome without a semi or wheel gun. So, I take it that they rent out pistols at the range to shoot with. Thus I have to pay the piper the first year to build up the "points" to be a legitimate sportsman.

Yes, that's the way it goes. Train with the club's guns and buy the ammo from the club or find a friendly fellow shooter who'll let you shoot his/her's.

Any chance they take prior experience into account?

Unfortunately that's unlikely.

How are ammo and range costs over there? How does the club scene work, is it similiar to the IDPA/IPSC type clubs we have here in the States? Do they have competitions and the like?

Ammo costs: The 9x19 my brother and I shoot runs from 120 to 170EU per 1,000. Cheap .223Rem (PMC/S&B) costs between 200 and 240EU/1,000. .44Mag can be had from 300EU/1,000 up.
At our club 9x19 costs ~13EU/50rds, .308 surplus for the HK41s is 8EU/20rds.
My club takes an entry-fee of ~300EU, has an annual fee of 85EU, no additional costs no matter how much you shoot, 4x range/barkeeper duty per year, and several hours of work for keeping the range in order. Well, that's why it's a club and not a commercial range.

I guess importing a pistol after getting a card is probably out of the question but exporting them when I leave isn't an issue as far as Germany is concerned.

I frankly don't know. A private import could be difficult, more so if it's an EBR.

Thanks for the information. I'll probably know within a week if I am going to be taking a job there. Big step!

There's more info I can give you. Maybe we should move it back to the forum, so more can benefit from it.

Thorsten Stahl

February 16, 2005, 02:02 PM
I hate the Euro :)

In case anyone wants to know...

Ammo costs:
9x19: 120 to 170EU per 1,000 = $155-$220
Cheap .223Rem: 200 and 240EU/1,000 = $257-$310
.44Mag 300EU/1,000 = $387

At our club 9x19 costs ~13EU/50rds ($17)
.308 surplus for the HK41s is 8EU/20rds ($11)
My club takes an entry-fee of ~300EU ($387)
has an annual fee of 85EU ($110)

Since I reload, the cost of ammo, for 9mm, is almost 6x what I pay now and 3x the American retail price. I take it people reload in Germany because I know Dillon sells European voltage casefeeders. Are there restrictions on reloading?

Yes, that's the way it goes. Train with the club's guns and buy the ammo from the club or find a friendly fellow shooter who'll let you shoot his/her's.

Do clubs normally stipulate that you purchase ammunition from them?

My biggest question is, how does the issuing authority verify that you have actually been practicing and are persuing your sport? I take it the club is listed as a reference and they vouch for you? Is being in a club looked at different from say, just practicing at a commercial range and then presenting a bunch of receipts to prove your sporting need?

I might have missed this but does a green card cover a yellow card? What I mean is, you can purchase weapon classified for the yellow card if you have a green card, however you have to justify each one?

How does justification work? Are there some standard submissions that are generally accepted once you are established, just like we have here for NFA weapons?

February 16, 2005, 03:23 PM
Reloading? Not as many as you might think, because:
- You have to take course on reloading (and black-powder handling if you want to buy black-powder for your muzzle loader).
- You need a license for buying powder that has to be renewed every few years.
- If you want to store more than, AFAIK, 1kg (2.2lb) of powder you need a separate, uninhabitated room with a pressure-relief opening (aka "window").

Primers, casings and bullets are freely available though.

Do clubs normally stipulate that you purchase ammunition from them?

In our club only for the club's guns. On the other hand there's no fee on the gun itself. Range fee for guests is 6EU per evening (that includes insurance). If you have your own guns you bring and shoot your own ammo.

Verification: With the new gun-law many clubs introduced small booklets for keeping log of your range sessions, noting what you shot and when, usually signed by the RO of the day. The backing for your application ultimately comes from the state-level fo your shooting association, though they can only know what your club tells them and have to believe what they're told (obviously some law-maker didn't think this one through).
You could shoot at a commercial range or as a guest in a club for how long you're staying here. There's freedom of coalition, nobody can keep you from founding or joining a club or association, just as nobody can force you to become a member of one. Joining a club is probably cheaper in the long run.

The "green card" doesnt include the yellow one. You have to prove a need for every single gun that can be bought with a green card. For a yellow card you have to prove your need only for the first one, even if you want to buy a rifle that your association actually doesn't have a discipline for.
It could be possible that you try to get an entry in your green card for a gun that could also be bought with a yellow license, but why? An entry in your green card costs about as much as an application for a yellow card.

How does justification work?

I can only guess that you mean things like the $200 tax stamp for SBRs and the like? Well, there isn't one. There are just the fees for applying for the differen cards and fees for registering newly bought guns.

February 16, 2005, 03:47 PM
My biggest question is, how does the issuing authority verify that you have actually been practicing and are persuing your sport?
The "state of the art" as I left the "left" country 6 years ago:

After joining the club and practice "regularly" (there was no definition of what is "regular") for one year, and you successfully passed the examination in gun-safety and gun-law-knowledge, the club has to "recommend" your purchase of a specified (!) weapon on the form from the government. The gov then issues a "Waffenbesitzkarte" (weapon-ownership-card) with which you can go to a gun-store and buy the specified, and ONLY that specified gun.

There is a law (for the green "Waffenbesitzkarte") that rules the "regulation necessity" to 2 "Handfeuerwaffen" (fist-firearms) and 2 "Langwaffen" (long-weapons).

I was always puzzled by the arrogance of this government to rule what a law-abiding "citizens" necessity is! But, as Adolf Hitler said: "You are nothing, your nation is everything".

Can you imagine how my jaw dropped as my wife took me to a gun-shop here in SoNV and bought 2 handguns without ANY problem??? There are still states in this country that recognize their population as citizens and not as serfs.

Happy to be here in the beautiful Southwest!

jim collins
February 16, 2005, 08:55 PM
Are you possibly heading over to work as a contractor in USAREUR/USAFE? If so, strongly recommend you check the USAREUR website, specifically the PMO portion. You will find the current specific requirements regarding firearms use and thing up front, DO NOT THINK OF IMPORTING A FIREARM INTO GERMANY WITHOUT A VALID WBK! You'll also discover the appalling status of the few remaining Rod & Gun Clubs...I was a member in Kitzingen, and patronized Heidelberg and Ramstein clubs as well. I just returned this fall after over five fun WBK as a sports shooter required well over one year to obtain for my initial pistol purchases, and subsequent purchases took another year. It can be done, but be will take a long time. You can obtain your Jagdshein a bit easier if that is the route you seek. Irregardless, one good thing about Germany is Franconiajagd. This is the ultimate in outdoor sports stores. Their catalog alone is worth it! If you should move anywhere near Wuerzburg then you'll discover that twice a year significant sales are held...and with your WBK in hand, you can obtain quality firearms and shooting supplies. Understand that hunting, shooting and fishing licensing and preparation are very expensive in time and effort to obtain, but are well worth it! Good luck, but better be prepared for the Euro rate first!

BTW, if you're a fisherman, obtaining your Anglershein is also lots of study and testing per USAREUR, but depending upon the kreis you live in, you can obtain a lifetime fishing license.

February 16, 2005, 09:26 PM
Geez, reading this has given me a major headache!

And Folks complain about the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card!!

At least we don't have to prove we "need" the firearm we want to buy, at least not yet.

Thanks for the insight into another part of the world guys.

The Rabbi
February 16, 2005, 10:28 PM
Yes, it sounds like a big headache,
aber das ist fuer DIE KINDER! :D

Rabid Rabbit
February 16, 2005, 10:44 PM
Its been 20 years since I was stationed in Nuremberg, but everythng hunting/shooting/fishing is very regulated. I never experience the difficulty of the gun ownership issue since I was with the Army but when I looked in to fishing that was another story. It would take a year of classes and a couple hundred dollars to qualify for a license. On the plus side every fisherman was able to identify a number of fish diseases and parasites.

February 17, 2005, 05:15 PM
How about bow hunting? Can I bring my compound withme to GermanY?

February 18, 2005, 05:25 PM
Bows of any kind are free, but I'm pretty sure that bow hunting in Germany is out of the question.

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