In Germany, gun safes must comply with the provisions stipulated in the Weapons Act (WaffG).
This Weapons Act has been amended with effect from 6 July 2017. One of the subjects of the “Second Amendment of the Weapons Act and other provisions” includes the provisions relating to the storage of weapons.
For any new purchases from now on, only gun safes with a minimum resistance grade of N (0) according to EN 1143-1 will be recognised. With immediate effect, gun safes with security levels A and B according to VDMA 24992 are no longer permitted. A and B gun safes already in use, however, may remain in use as a result of a grandfather clause.
The most essential information on the regulations and original sources has been collated on this page for your convenience.
Having been published in the ‘Bundesanzeiger’ on 05/07/2017, <STRONG/> the Second Amendment of the Weapons Act and other provisions entered into force on 06/07/2017.
This included tightening up the provisions surrounding the storage of weapons. According to the new regulation, firearms subject to authorisation must be stored in a gun safe with a minimum resistance grade of 0 according to EN 1143-1. Security levels A and B according to VDMA 24992 (05/95) are no longer permitted for new weapons purchases going forward. By implementing this change, the government is taking into consideration the fact that the VDMA (German engineering association) had already retracted the VDMA 24992 building regulation on 31/12/2003, as it was technically obsolete. Compliance with the regulation has not been controlled by the VDMA ever since.
Firearms owners with A and B gun safes, however, don’t have anything to worry about: safes already in use up to now benefit from a grandfather clause and may continue to be used to store weapons!
The corresponding amendments to the Weapons Act can be found in the German Federal Law Gazette, Article 1, Paragraph 16 (pertaining to Section 36 of the Weapons Act) as well as in Article 2, Paragraph 2 (pertaining to Section 13 of the General Ordinance on the Weapons Act).
The current German Weapons Act, which had some sections amended with effect from 6 July 2017 (see previous section for more information), has been in force since 1 April 2003. The associated General Ordinance on the Weapons Act has been in force since 1 December 2003. For the first time in Germany, this stipulated in detail how firearms owners are required to store their weapons and ammunition in the private sphere.
The most crucial legal provisions on storing weapons are stipulated in Section 36 of the Weapons Act as well as in Section 13 of the General Ordinance on the Weapons Act (AWaffV). Both of these laws have been updated online over the years to contain the new provisions of 06/07/2017.
One of the stipulations of the Weapons Act states that anyone who owns firearms and ammunition must take the appropriate precautions to prevent these items from being lost or otherwise taken by unauthorised third parties (Section 36, Paragraph 1, WaffG).
This is defined more closely in Section 13, Line 1 of the AWaffV. Essentially, the stipulation is that firearms requiring authorisation to buy, prohibited weapons and ammunition must be stored unloaded in a container that not only complies with standard DIN/EN 1143-1, but also has been certified as such by an accredited body.*
In the case of gun safes with resistance grade N (0) according to EN 1143-1, a distinction is made between units weighing above or below 200 kg. If the gun safe weighs less than 200 kg, it may be used to store an unlimited number of long guns and up to 5 handguns. A gun safe with a resistance grade of N (0) weighing more than 200 kg, on the other hand, may be used to store an unlimited number of long guns and up to 10 handguns.
If you would like to store an unlimited number of long guns and handguns in addition to ammunition, the gun safe must have a resistance grade of I according to EN 1143-1.
1 April 2008 saw the introduction of new provisions, which Germany used to implement international regulations for labelling and police tracing of firearms. More specifically, this involved a new type of labelling for firearms, a ban on carrying imitation firearms, a ban on carrying certain knives, and the prohibition of weapons being passed down.
On 25 July 2009, the German Weapons Act was once again tightened up in a few areas. The most important amendments in relation to the storage of weapons were:
(Source: Federal Ministry of the Interior/www.bmi.bund.de)
More detailed information on which paragraphs have been changed and the intentions of the government behind making these changes can be found on the website for the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
The administrative regulation for the Weapons Act (WaffVwV) includes interpretation provisions for the Weapons Act of 2003 as well as for the 2008 and 2009 amendments. These regulations are intended to allow both the responsible authorities and the firearms owners to interpret the Weapons Act as intended. You can read or download the text of the administrative regulation here.
The German Weapons Act is binding for all firearms owners within Germany. Particularly given the more stringent controls put in place by the authorities, firearms owners should always err on the side of caution when it comes to storing their weapons.
If you are uncertain about what type of gun safe you need for your weapons and ammunition, or whether your “old” gun safe is still compliant with the current Weapons Act, then get in touch with your responsible authority. Generally speaking, this will be your public order office or police department, which also carry out the corresponding gun safe controls.
It goes without saying that our specialists are also experts in this field and are always on hand to answer your questions, whether you’re interested in the correct storage of weapons according to the Weapons Act or would simply like some advice on our gun safes. Just give us a call!
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