Weapon Law

Pepper Spray

Overview of the Legal Situation in Certain European Countries

Country State of Affairs Sale Ownership Carrying
Germany No weapon if used as animal repellent spray Legal Legal Legal
Austria Weapon Legal Legal Legal
Switzerland No weapon Legal Legal Legal
Netherlands Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
France Weapon Legal Legal Legal
Poland Weapon Legal Legal Legal
Denmark - Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Sweden Weapon Permitted but with weapon document only Permitted but with weapon document only Permitted but with weapon document only
Finland - With police authorisation only With police authorisation only With police authorisation only
Belgium Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Italy Weapon With license only With license only With license only
Luxemburg Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Slovakia - Legal Legal Legal
Greece Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Norway Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Spain - Permitted but with restrictions Permitted but with restrictions Permitted but with restrictions
UK Prohibited weapon Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited
Iceland - Prohibited Prohibited Prohibited

Stun Guns

Stun Guns are also designated as electroshock guns or taser guns. When used, this weapon causes a non-lethal electric shock upon the person affected. According to the Weapon Law, there is no clear definition of a stun gun. Even an electric fence can be considered a stun gun. Normally, only taser guns belong to this category which enable an offensive attack.

Possession and Carrying

Prohibited weapons are considered infringements of the weapon law. However, a knife does not equal another knife. There are always certain derogations of restrictions that also apply for stun guns.

Since 01/01/2011 the German legal situation has been changed. The possession of stun guns is prohibited, as long as they are not certified by the Federal Institute of Physics and Metrology (“Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt“, PTB). This is confirmed by the wording of Article 2 of the Weapons Law. A certification by the PTB is not mandatory. As the possession is prohibited, the carrying of such prohibited weapons is not permitted. In the current market, there is no model that fulfils the legal restrictions. Distributors are permitted to retail stun guns for export purposes. The purchase of such weapons is prohibited in Germany!

However, there is a derogation for prohibited weapons that have been purchased before 01/01/2011. This derogation is based on the former legal situation and can be found in Article 40 paragraph 4 of the weapons law (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektroimpulswaffe). Purchasers are permitted to possess stun guns, that are kept in his/her surrounding environment. The owner’s house/flat/appartment is regareded as surrounding environment. However, the law does permit the owner to publically carry the stun gun from old stock. If the stun gun’s owner carries the stun gun in public, it is regarded as an infringement to the law and is considered as prohibited weapon. The carrying of weapons is generally viewed as problematic, even the public transport of a knife is troublesome. However, the purchase of weapons is legally permitted, as long as the item is a knife, but not a stun gun. In the case of a unit from old stock, the date of purchase must be provided and must confirm that the weapon has been purchased before 01/01/2011. The Weapon Law prohibits the sale of stun guns, provided that they are not certified by the PTB. This includes that old items must not be sold by auction platforms. Persons possessing an arms trade treaty are not permitted to sell stun guns. Not matter whether they are second-hand or new.

The General Legal State of Affairs

It is prohibited by the Weapon Law to purchase certain weapons! A Stun Gun must be certified by the PTB-label to permit its owner the possession and the transport of the stun gun. Currently, a model that fulfils all qualifications does not exist. The date of purchase must confirm that the item has been purchased before 01/01/2011. If a person can confirm the purchase before this date, the possession of a stun gun is permitted. The transport, however, is strictly forbidden. Offences against this regulation can be punished with heavy fines ranging up to 300 Euros. The use of stun guns can be sentenced with imprisonment or, ideally, with probation.

The German Weapon Law

Due to certain events of infringements, the German Weapon Law has been tightened significantly. Various kinds of weapons require the possession of a gun license that state its possessor’s metal maturity to carry a weapon. In addition, it also has to state that the owner is informed about the safe handling and storage of the weapon. Each type of firearm certificate authorizes a certain target group to carry a weapon. There are green, yellow or red firearm certificates.

The Green Firearm Certificate

The green Firearm Certificate applies for marksmen and hunters. This certificate authorizes the transport of the following types of weapons:

  • Multi-shot rifles and turrets
  • Small bore pistols
  • Semi-automatic long firearms, i.e. auto loading rifles and self-loading shotguns
  • Repeating shotguns

The sole possession of this firearm certificate, however, does not authorize a person to purchase such weapons. Prior to a purchase, each weapon must be individually submitted and applied for by the competent authority. If all criteria for purchase are met, the person applying receives an entry in the firearm certificate, which permits its purchase. The applicant must make use of this allowance within one year, otherwise the entry expires.

Legal Force for Hunters with Annual Hunting License

Hunters who have a valid hunting license for the current year are permitted to possess rifles without a license. The provision requires to register the purchased weapons at the competent authority within 14 days and to proof the possession of a green firearm certificate.

Scope of Gunsmen

Gunsmen are promised a basic quota of weapons for the green firearm certificate. This quota includes two multi-shot pistols and three semi-automatic shotguns. Provided the person is permitted this number of weapons and is considered a gunsman who regularly takes part in shooting practice. There is no entry in the weapon law that defines the term ‘regularly‘.18 shooting practice units per year are suggested by the administrative regulation draft of the weapon law. This draft has not yet been agreed on by the Federal Council and thus, is not yet legally valid.

Regardless of the place of purchase (internet or store), the weapon must have an entry in the firearm certificate prior to purchase. In addition, the meaning of the Yellow Firearm Certificate will be declared.

The Yellow Firearm Certificate

The Yellow Firearm Certificate applies for sports marksmen who belong to an association according to the weapon law. Yellow Firearm Certificate holders are permitted to purchase the weapons which belong to the following categories:

  • Repeating long firearms with rifled barrels
  • Multi-shot handguns and long guns with percussion cap
  • Single loader short firearms with fixed ammunition
  • Single loader guns with rifled or smooth barrels

Contrary to the green firearm certificate, the number of purchased weapons is not relevant. A standard rate provides a rule of thumb that no more than 2 legalized and registered weapons are permitted for purchase within six months. After each gun purchase the holder must be registered at the authority to receive an entry in the yellow firearm certificate. The weapons must be registered within 14 days after the purchase otherwise you may be liable of prosecution.

The Red Firearm Certificate

The red firearm certificate is allocated for persons who are gun collectors. The certificate authorizes the following types of weapons:

  • Certain firearms
  • Firearms of a certain collection area
  • Firearms of all kinds in specific circumstances

Contrary to the previous firearm certificates, the card holder does not require an entry by the authority prior to purchase. After purchase a registration in the yellow firearm certificate must be obtained within 14 days.