Ask a JAG

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Q: I am new to Germany and want to bring my firearms. Are there rules for bringing in firearms to Germany?
A: There are very specific rules and requirements for bringing privately owned firearms (POFs) to Germany. Failure to comply with them can result in punishment under German law and/or the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and confiscation of your weapons. This article only provides a bare bones guide.  Anyone who is thinking about acquiring a POF or transporting a POF to Germany should fully read Army in Europe Regulation 190-6, which governs the registration and control of POFs in Germany. 

Americans living in Germany under the Status of Forces Agreement must apply for and complete extensive paperwork before they will be allowed to acquire, own and register POFs in Germany. These requirements cannot be done prior to being stationed in Germany. Specifically, these requirements include: being at least 18 years old, reliable and physically fit; not having a weapons permit previously withdrawn; being able to use, handle and store weapons and ammunition carefully; prohibiting others who do not have the legal authority to use weapons and ammunition from using the applicant’s weapons and ammunition; not having a criminal record for various offenses; being of sound mental health; being free from addiction to alcohol or drugs; and having a Jagdschein (German hunting license) and/or Bedürfnisnachweis (certificate of need). Information on the Jagdschein can be found in AER 215-145.

Once an American has completed the above process, he must obtain a Verbringungserlaubnis (importation permit) and a Waffenbesitzkarte (German weapons possession card) with all the POFs properly entered on it before bringing any POF into Germany through any means. POFs will not be included in household goods/unaccompanied baggage shipments, hand-carried, transported in luggage, or mailed to Germany, unless the owner possesses a valid Verbringungserlaubnis and Waffenbesitzkarte specifically listing those firearms. 
Once an American has a valid Verbringungserlaubnis and Waffenbesitzkarte specifically listing their POFs, he should contact the U.S. Army Europe Registry of Motor Vehicles and Firearms Registration Office at DSN 314-496-4637/4632 or civilian 49-6302-67-4637/4632 for specific rules on shipping and mailing various types of POFs to Germany.

This column is not intended as individual or specific legal advice. If you have specific issues or concerns, you should consult a judge advocate at 421-4152/civ. 0711-729-4152.