Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive
Five Things to Know About Guns in Germany
Germany has one of the highest rates of gun ownership worldwide, yet also one of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths.
16 June 2016
[G]ermans do not have fundamental rights to bear arms, unlike Americans do under the Second Amendment, and the country's violent past including the Nazi era has certainly helped to shape the current strict regulations.
To get a gun, Germans must first obtain a firearms ownership license (Waffenbesitzkarte) - and you may need a different one for each weapon you buy - or a license to carry (Waffenschein).
Applicants for a license must be at least 18 years old and undergo what's called a reliability check, which includes checking for criminal records, whether the person is an alcohol or drug addict, whether they have mental illness or any other attributes that might make them questionable to authorities.
The also have to pass a "specialized knowledge test" on guns and people younger than 25 applying for their first license must go through a psychiatric evaluation.
One must also prove a specific and approved need for the weapon, which is mainly limited to use by hunters, competitive marksmen, collectors and security workers - not for self-defence.
Once you have a license, you're also limited in the number of and kinds of guns you may own, depending on what kind of license you have: Fully automatic weapons are banned for all, while semiautomatic firearms are banned for anything other than hunting or competitive shooting.
Under the reforms passed in the wake of a 2009 mass shooting, gun owners are also subject to continued monitoring by the government with officials able to ask gun owners at any time to enter their private property and check that they are properly storing their weapons.
2. Fourth-highest gun ownership rate worldwide
But even given Germany's strict gun policies, the country was still home to the fourth-highest number of legal guns per capita in 2013, falling behind just the United States, Switzerland and Finland.
About 2 million people own more than 5.5 million legal guns in Germany for a population of more than 80 million.
On top of that, police unions have estimated that there are up to 20 million more illegally-owned guns in Germany - this would mean roughly 30 guns for every group of 100 people.
3. One of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths worldwide…
Over the past 20 years, "crimes against life" - which include murder as well as negligent manslaughter - that involve guns have dropped from 783 in 1995 to 130 in 2015, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
Of those crimes last year, just 57 were intentional murders…
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