License to manufacture or trade in weapons
The German weapons law controls the handling of weapons or ammunition, which generally requires a licence.
If you would like to manufacture, process or repair firearms or ammunition commercially or independently as part of a commercial enterprise, then you need a weapons manufacturing licence. You have to keep a weapons manufacturing book, from which the type and quantity of firearms and also their whereabouts are apparent.
If you would like to purchase, sell or give firearms or ammunition to other persons commercially or independently as part of a commercial enterprise, then you need a weapons trading licence. You have to keep a weapons trading book, from which the type and quantity of firearms, their origin and their whereabouts is apparent.
to be issued a weapons manufacturing licence or weapons trading licence:
Persons who have reached the age of 18
- Personal eligibility
Persons do not have the required personal eligibility e.g. if there are facts that justify the assumption that they are legally incompetent, addicted to alcohol or mentally ill.
- Technical qualifications of the applicant
The required proof of the technical qualifications regarding the most important legal weapon and firing provisions, the type, design and handling of common firearms and ammunition can be acquired if necessary by taking an examination at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Stuttgart Region (Industrie- und Handelskammer Region Stuttgart). The technical qualifications are deemed given if you meet the requirements to register a gunsmith business in the Register of Craftsman (Handwerksrolle)
- Proof of a need
The need (a sound reason) may result from a specifically recognised personal or economic interest, e.g. as an arms manufacturer or arms dealer.
- Commercial nature or commercial undertaking
A licence is only granted if the manufacture or trading of arms is carried out commercially or independently as part of a commercial undertaking.
You have to file an application to be issued with a weapons manufacturing licence or/and weapons trading licence at the relevant authority. The application form is available there. Depending on what is offered by the authorities responsible for the weapons law (urban district, large district capital, association of administration or rural district office) the application is available as a download.
The relevant authorities check whether the applicant has the required reliability. For this purpose they apply for information from the Federal Central Criminal Register (Bundeszentralregister) and the Public Prosecutor’s Proceedings Register (staatsanwaltschaftlichen Verfahrensregister) and get a statement from the local police station. You have to provide your own proof of personal eligibility, if appl., of the technical qualifications, the need and the commercial nature or commercial undertaking.
If there are reservations concerning your personal eligibility, the relevant authorities may request a certificate from a public health officer or specialist or specialist psychologist regarding your mental or physical aptitude.
The licence is granted for an indefinite period. However it expires if the authorised activity is not started within a year after the licence has been issued or it is not carried out for a year.
- ID card or passport (for foreigners: passport)
- If app. a certificate from a public health officer or specialist or specialist psychologist regarding your personal eligibility
- If appl. proof of technical qualifications
Any additional documents, which you have to present, depend on the reason for your need to manufacture weapons or trade in weapons (commercially or independently as part of a commercial undertaking).
The issue of a weapons manufacturing licence or weapons trading licence is subject to a charge. Upon request, the relevant authorities will be pleased to inform you how much it costs.
Licence for the proxy
If you have a weapons business requiring a licence which is run by your proxy or if you want to authorise a person to manage a branch office or a dependent subsidiary, you will need a licence for the proxy. This licence will only be issued if your proxy has the required reliability, the personal eligibility and the technical qualifications.
Licence holders' duty to notify
The holder of a weapons manufacturing or trading licence has to notify the responsible authorities within two weeks of the company’s start-up and closure, and also of the opening and closure of a branch office or a dependent subsidiary. In the notification regarding the start-up or the opening, you have to state the persons authorised with the management of the business or a branch office. In addition, the licence holder has to notify the responsible authorities without delay about the employment or the retirement of a person authorised to run the business or a branch office or in the case of legal entities the change of a person appointed to represent the company due to the law, the statutes or the articles of association.
- § 5 Waffengesetz (WaffG) (Zuverlässigkeit)
- § 6 Waffengesetz (WaffG) (Persönliche Eignung)
- § 21 Waffengesetz (WaffG) (gewerbsmäßige Waffenherstellung, Handel mit Waffen)
- § 21a Waffengesetz (WaffG) (Stellvertretungserlaubnis)
- § 22 Waffengesetz (WaffG) (Fachkunde)
- § 15 Allgemeine Waffengesetz-Verordnung (Fachkunde)
- § 23 Waffengesetz (WaffG) (Waffenbücher)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium and the Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 01.06.2018. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.