Kleiner Waffenschein – A German’s Right to Bear Arms

written by A. L. Hart Havens on October 15, 2020

The recent Liberated Services essay on the German welfare system marked the first in a series of articles highlighting a wide range of fascinating, outrageous, and little‑known aspects of life in the full‑blown socialist Western European country of Germany. Today’s article, which marks the second installment of the series, sheds some light on Germany’s weapons possession laws.

Given the constant German news media buzz surrounding America’s Second Amendment as well as German society’s collective outrage about gun laws in the United States, it is astonishing how little interest Germans display in understanding the state of their own country’s weapons regulations.

Gas Pistols, Gas Revolvers, and Incapacitating Agents

One particularly notable aspect of German weapons law is the right of the country’s residents over the age of 18 to own gas pistols and gas revolvers that fire cartridges of tear gas, pepper spray, and a variety of other incapacitating agents without any need to undergo a background check other than a simple age verification.

These weapons, which are often identical in appearance to real handguns when viewed from the exterior, are conveniently available for online purchase with next‑day delivery options. Prospective buyers should check that their weapon of choice features a PTB seal engraved in its side in order to ensure its legality. And the fact that many of these government‑approved gas pistols bearing the PTB seal do not feature a safety mechanism designed to prevent accidental discharge should certainly be cause for eyebrow-raising.

An All-Purpose Open and Concealed Carry Permit

What’s more, obtaining a permit called the Kleiner Waffenschein gives gas pistol owners the legal right to carry their weapon on their person anywhere they please with the sole exception of public gatherings, marches, and demonstrations. It is essentially an unrestricted open carry and concealed carry permit all wrapped up into one.

Amazingly, acquiring a Kleiner Waffenschein permit could hardly be easier. Although there is some regional variation, a four‑week processing period and a €50.00 first‑time issuance fee appears to be the Germany‑wide norm. Subsequent background checks are typically carried out every three years after the date of first issuance and cost the permitholder €30.00 at each renewal. There are approximately 600,000 Kleiner Waffenschein permitholders across Germany.

Limited Background Checks

Past criminal convictions carrying sentences of 90 days or more, known drug or alcohol addictions, and known severe mental or physical handicaps are the only obstacles standing in the way of a person’s ability to acquire a permit to carry a loaded gas pistol in virtually all public and private places throughout Germany, including alcohol‑serving establishments.

Expats, immigrants, and other foreigners with a history of felony convictions, drug or alcohol abuse, or severe mental or physical handicaps in their home countries need not worry, however, as the background checks performed do not extend beyond Germany’s national borders.

Furthermore, demonstration of knowledge of the proper handling of gas pistols is not required in order to purchase these weapons or to acquire the Kleiner Waffenschein. There is also no requirement to prove that the weapon is needed for a particular reason. So why not throw on the holster and bring some heat to the office, the local tavern, or your child’s soccer match? Just make sure to avoid shooting it off in the air for fun while away from your own property though, as that is against the law.

Stand Your Ground

With Germany’s self‑defense laws surprisingly smacking heavily of the state of Florida’s much‑embattled stand‑your‑ground provisions, an unsuspecting assailant would be quite unfortunate to encounter a would‑be victim who is a proud carrier of the Kleiner Waffenschein.

A person on the receiving end of a discharged gas pistol can expect to experience immediate temporary blindness, shortness of breath, severe impact distress, and a great deal of pain. Fired at very close range, however, gas pistols can cause severe burns, permanent blindness and deafness, and even death.

If gas pistols don’t seem like your cup of tea, how about carrying an electric taser or stun gun around town instead? That too is perfectly legal in Germany, unbeknownst to the vast majority of Germans, of course. So be sure to mention the perks of the Kleiner Waffenschein the next time you encounter a self‑righteous German social do‑gooder lamenting Americans’ constitutionally enshrined Second Amendment rights.