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More than six million guns in private hands

The Local · 13 Feb 2011, 11:40

Published: 13 Feb 2011 11:40 GMT+01:00

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A review of figures held by the state authorities came up with the first ever nationwide total, according to the Focus magazine over the weekend.

The guns are held by just 1.7 million people – meaning each holder of a license has on average nearly four weapons.

The state with the most guns is Bavaria, with 1.4 million, followed by North-Rhine Westphalia with 1.1 million, and Baden-Württemberg with 920,000. Bavaria has the largest number of gun owners too. The city states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg have the smallest number of guns and gun owners, according to the magazine.

The federal authorities had until now assumed there were around 10 million privately-registered weapons in the country.

Data is being gathered nationally to comply with new European Union guidelines which oblige member states to have a national register in place by the end of 2014. The German government intends to have its register up and running by the end of 2012.

Germany has periodically tightened gun ownership and licensing laws after shooting tragedies such as that in Erfurt in 2002 when a teenager killed 16 people at his former school and then himself.

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Jörg Kretschmer, whose son shot dead 15 people in and around his school in Winnenden two years ago, was last week found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, bodily harm caused by negligence and the negligent abandonment of a weapon. He had not kept one of his many guns or the ammunition for it secure – and his son had taken them to instigate the bloodbath.


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Your comments about this article

12:46 February 13, 2011 by K2GLOBALCOMMUNICATIONSLLC
Admittedly tragedies occur, however, Gun Control leads to the following:

1. The road to tyranny is easier travelled with an unarmed citizenry.

2. Government cannot protect the entire population from terrorism however the incidences plummet with an armed citizenry.

3. Family/Personal/Home Protection drops with unarmed citizenry.

4. Criminals will always acquire weapons and nobody belives that they register them with the government.
13:25 February 13, 2011 by KonzaMan
People who live in a country where they are not allowed to freely bear arms are subjects. Not citizens.
13:47 February 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy
Just what we need, people trying to make us more into gun crazed America
14:52 February 13, 2011 by ovalle3.14
There's a country where people correlate freedom with having guns in their drawers, and it's not Germany.
14:58 February 13, 2011 by jbaker
People Kill People-with Guns,Knives,Their Hands and many other ways. People who are armed are not likely to be attacked by the Crazies of this World. Switzerland can stay neutral during war time, because almost every home has a rifle(with many bullets) and some have grenades and working Artillery. Don't registar your weapons. Your house is the first one the Bad Guys come to Disarm. America will not be overtaken by anyone. There are more guns(of All Types) and expolsives in the homes across America than every other country combined. Are you safe in Germany? Will your homes and towns be easily overtaken by the Crazy people who run the Governments of the World?
15:52 February 13, 2011 by Gretl
I enjoy Germany the way it is. There are fewer drive-by shootings,people dying in the crossfire, men killing their families or estranged lovers. It is easier to reach for a violent end when you only have to pull a trigger.

That said, I grew up both in L.A. and in Montana. Montana has the highest gun-ownership per capita in the US, and requires open carry (no concealed weapons). People have shotguns and rifles in the back of their pick-up trucks. It also has some of the lowest gun violence. An armed society is a polite society. So, either no guns or everyone has guns. It is the inequity of gun ownership that leads to people using guns to equalize power.
16:21 February 13, 2011 by ngwanem
it is not gun that kills people, it is people that kill people. the increasing spate of gun-related killings and crimes are all symptoms of our modern-day society suffering from insufficient tension-dissipating measures and dwindling feelings of human sensitivity.

It is far easier to pull a trigger than invite your opponent for beer and gradually discuss the problem with him/her

btw, knives and any blunt object can replace guns in doing the same harm... let us just get a little bit more human, demonstrate empathy and trust me gun-related violence shall plummet.

as concerns the tyranny of governments... no government can enforce dictatorship on its people without the people acquiescing to it.. because the soldiers, police and thugs are still the same people employed by the state and they all have brains to either support the tyranny or not... in fact ignorant societies are often subjected to serious tyrannies and most of the time they align with their oppressors, while blaming others for their malaise. does that ring a bell in the mind?
16:58 February 13, 2011 by SockRayBlue
A quiet conversation over a beer? Sounds quite nice if you are intellectually motivated. Those that see violence, with a gun, knife or club, are those that are quite limited in their negotiating skills. On the other hand government is quite heavy handed, at times, to deal with the vast numbers of uneducated or reluctant citizens. So, in effect, you can claim a superior intellectual stance, but the guy with the bigger club wins.

It sounds like a circular argument to me.
18:01 February 13, 2011 by Loth
If your a law abiding citizen you should be able to own any kind of gun you want. If Government is working in the peoples interest and has done nothing wrong then they should have nothing to fear from those who follow laws.
18:49 February 13, 2011 by SockRayBlue

Such as it is in the US. It also goes one step further by having a concealed carry permit system with an education program for permitees. A serious mistake and you'd be looking at losing your permit, a fine and jail time.
19:00 February 13, 2011 by Johnne
The highest number of private people bearing arms are recorded in the most conservative and the safest state in the country, where majority of the residents are native Germans. Why are people so paranoid? what is the need for it?
19:17 February 13, 2011 by wenddiver
Never saw a slave or a prisioner that society allowed to own his own gun.

Defend Freedom,

become a gunowner.

Teach your Children how to handle guns responsibly,

so they can defend theirs and others Freedom, in the future,

If you are an Idiot, a drug addict, a communist ( I know I already said idiot), a member of a religous group that kills itself or others or a retard, it is acceptable to let somebody else defend Freedom.
21:15 February 13, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
It seems that gun guys love their clever slogans almost as much as they love their gun toys. Have fun and keep up the good work!
23:32 February 13, 2011 by William Thirteen
Bavaria has the highest suicide rate in DE


Suicide rates higher in states with most gun owners


moral of the story - if you choose to keep a weapon in the home, keep it properly secured against rash actions on the part of you or your family members.
23:58 February 13, 2011 by wood artist
Living in the US, where "gun nuts" abound, I think there are a few truths about gun ownership that need to be recognized.

1. Very few situations occur where gun owners actually use their guns for personal protection.

2. Every gun becomes a potential weapon, regardless of who owns it. The case in Winnenden is a great example.

3. Once you draw a gun, it's difficult to do anything else. In the heat of the moment it's far too easy to pull the trigger. A gun should be the last resort, not the first thing you reach for.

4. Criminals will probably find a way to get guns regardless of any laws. However, the more guns there are, the easier that process becomes.

I worked in law enforcement for several years, and never drew my weapon during a confrontation. I knew that if I did, I headed down a road that leads only to a dead end.

00:01 February 14, 2011 by Avidror

1. Yemen is the second country by gun ownership rate. Is Yemen a free country?

2. The deadliest attack on Western civilians by terrorists happened in the United States, the first country by gun ownership rate.

3. Family/personal/home protection drops with a high degree of crime. The United States are the first developed country by crime rate in spite of being the first country by gun ownership rate.

4. That's true.
05:04 February 14, 2011 by Gretl
I am gun-nut, I guess. I have been shooting since I was 8, and I own weapons. I am former military and have enjoyed everything I have had the opportunity to shoot.

That said, Germany is not the US. They don't need to be like us. I understand the incorporation of US ideals into American military psyche, but leave others to determine their own path. Surely you don't need your beliefs affirmed by imitation of others?
05:16 February 14, 2011 by Lachner
I am also a HUGE gun nut and I own several pistols, rifles and shotguns. I recently moved to Germany and I have never felt safer or more peaceful in my life. Yes, I have seen in Germany petty theft and read in the newspapers about murder, rape and suicide incidents, but I don't feel in any danger at all at home or on the street. ?I lived in the USA for 5 years and I felt very unsafe in my own home, walking on the street and while driving. I was a victim of theft several times and I saw firsthand a lot of violence (fights, stabbings, etc.) and murders were a daily thing on the news. I lived in a very good part of the city but I still felt unsafe.

Therefore, I think that Germany should continue doing whatever they are doing because they have managed to develop a very strong economy and a very educated and peaceful society. Instead of trying to incorporate U.S. ideals into Germany, perhaps it is the U.S. that should be taking note of German policies and their way of life.
05:51 February 14, 2011 by Donodii
The United States is different in that we have so many more ethnic groups than probably anywhere else. A lot of which live in close proximity to each other in the bigger cities. They all have their own beliefs and morals and trying to live amongst each other often times creates tension, which causes outbursts. A lot of people see the violence here, but do not take into account, it is mostly in the heavier populated cities. If you travel to the smaller suburbs or country side, you will notice a difference in mentality and gun crime. I like to hunt, teaching my kids to hunt, and they like to do it. We soot targets, skeets, cans and no one has gotten hurt, hmmm. The government wants tension and failure, so they can be the saviors and "give" you want they want you to have. No way to protect, is a way to bow down to the government. Why not crack down on the drug makers and distributers? Light sentences, why not deportation or death penalty. Because guns is an easier target. Politicians look and sound good trying to get rid of them, when they know it is all BS.
07:28 February 14, 2011 by toemag
I to own firearms, and use them for hunting and target shooting. I also belong to two shooting clubs and three sport shooting associations.

As to the number of guns registered, that may be flawed due to things like spare barrels (shotguns) or conversion kits for one weapon or another requiring an individual registration.

6 million registered guns in a country that has a population of 80+ million, not a bad average IMHO.

Does anyone here know where I can find out how many cars are registered here?
07:40 February 14, 2011 by Johnne
I can only laugh when I read some people´s comments. Having come from an ethnic background, I travel to Africa every year. There, you see 1,000 reasons why you need to have a gun in your home & even carry one with you when you´re out driving. Yes maybe you need it in the UK(london,glasgow,manchester) or the US (big cities) and some countries in eastern europe but not here. My western brothers & sisters, you don´t need guns for ANYTHING apart from hunting.

This gun culture/mentality came from a generation that were obsessed with oppression & imperialism, but not your generation. what are you afraid of? especially in Germany? or to make it worst Bavaria? nothing much happens here! I live in Munich & I can say it loud that although things happen, it is indeed still very safe for a big city. People don´t snatch your vehicles at gunpoint/broad day light here, armed robbers don´t rub homes/rape women or rob banks at gunpoint/broad day light here, I think people should travel around the world and experience real crime. Guns are not needed on that level here, there´s no need for it.
08:04 February 14, 2011 by lordkorner
To all you "gun nuts"...in a remark made by General Anthony Clement McAuliffe , Nuts!
08:21 February 14, 2011 by auniquecorn
Damn Lachner, Where did you live in America to see all of that?

Of course crime happens all over the world, in every city,

But I really think your an idiot to say what you are saying, because you know good and well that it´s not true.

And you only lived in America 5 years?

In a good neighborhood?

You are really full of sh!t.
08:31 February 14, 2011 by The-ex-pat
05:04 February 14, 2011 by Gretl

Thank you Greti, possibly the most sane comment here. Like you I started shooting around the age of 8 and am also an ex serviceman.

All I can say is that as a British national here in Germany, thank you to the German system that I can continue to enjoy my sport and my gun ownership (that I can no longer enjoy in the UK).

What is interesting about US gun ownership is that it is very much the minority that own guns and yet this minority are treated as if they speak and act for the majority. Population of the USA is around 310 million. Legal Gun ownership is roughly 77 million. That is only a quarter of the population. It is only because we are dealing with such a huge population that this figures seem so high. It is always rather strange that the pro-gun lobby in the US goes on about freedom and defending it via gun ownership, when it is quite clear that the vast majority do not agree or have no interest and want nothing to do with said sport. Why people cannot just sit back and enjoy the fact that they have the privileged to own/use a gun(s) is beyond me. All the rights, freedom and defence talk just shows how insecure some people are and I am not talking about about insecurity that comes with rights, freedom or defence.
09:31 February 14, 2011 by LiberalGuy
I'm glad to see alot of sensible comments on this article (except for a few). There is one point I would someone to clarify for myself. What is the US obsession with the idea that if you don't own a firearm then some tyranical dictator will take over everything. That seems a little paranoid (and as such probably not the best mental state for owning a firearm). Hunting and shooting a perfectly legitimate sports, but what purpose does a 30 round magazine for Glock, or assault weapons play in this sport? The pro gun lobby in the USA implies that any regualtion of firearms is illegal and will lead to Dictactors taking over. It seems a rather silly argument from a paranoid group. The USA will never have a dictatorship in mine or your lifetimes. Regardless of whether you own a high powered assualt rifle or not. It seems though there is a large lobbying block that will do anything to make us beleive otherwise. Gun's are not neccessary to defend freedom, the will of the people is. There have been just as many peaceful revolutions as there have been violent ones
10:01 February 14, 2011 by freechoice
america has its reasons to defend the right of owning guns, so do the swiss, for defence against the Nazis during the WW2.

if the military didn't back the people of egypt, do you think hosni mubarak would leave his dictatorship position?

what about many others dictatorships? what can they do other than throwing molotov cocktails and stones?

responsible gun ownerships should be encouraged to give peasants a outlet to demand justice when there is no democracy or when democracies fails.
12:42 February 14, 2011 by zeddriver
Liberalguy, As a gun owner from the US. I will do my best to explain. The fact of the matter is that for a lot of citizens. A gun is just like an insurance policy. Do you have auto insurance? Does that mean you drive like a nut because you have coverage. Or do you wait only until after you have had an accident to buy insurance. The same goes for home, life dental. No one buys life insurance because they WANT to die. But INCASE they die. After a country has fought a war. should they totally disarm. Only to have to start from scratch should they be attacked?

Look at the stats from Australia. When gun ownership was outlawed. Crime of all kinds went up. Why? Because the criminals had nothing to fear.

Breeding criminals has more to do with the proper parenting of children than who owns guns.

And of course the news only talks about people that commit crimes with guns. And very little about folks that have stopped a crime using a gun. So most only hear one side of the story.

Germany is Germany and can do what it wants.
13:05 February 14, 2011 by steve.wildturkey369
you know outlaws will never register guns.. i have a poster in my house it says (ALL IN FAVOR OF GUN CONTROL)raise your (right) hand... and hilters is the one raising the right hand.. have a good day. eat sleep Hunting..
16:07 February 14, 2011 by freechoice
there are six millions guns in Germany? i see no gun shops, where do they buy it?
17:12 February 14, 2011 by LiberalGuy
zeddiver, i understand that point, but to myself it seems the equivalent of buying volcano insurance, it's not very likely to happen. Also from having family in Australia, gun's are not outlawed, you merely need a licnece and belong to a shooting club, rather like German laws I suspect. What you cannot get in Australia is semi-automatic weapons, which makes sense to me. I can get into what i am told are the causes of problems in Australia, but that is a very long conversation. I'm ok with gun ownership (with regualtion), but i don't understand people trying to justify assault weapons as some sort of defence against tyrany. I really can't, and I don't think that reason should be put forward as a point in favor of gun ownership. I don't see any threat to society here, or the USA that requires a heavily armed populace (for that purpose alone). But I am open to someone changing my mind, cause I really want to understand the mindset that causes that sort of thinking.
22:29 February 14, 2011 by fryintl
I love the JaegerMeister courses Germany has, I think Everyone should take one that owns or wants to own a gun.

I find that Canadda also has a problem since they tried to remove all guns from society. The cost was much more than they talked about and the results were less than promised.

Australia is going back to relaxing soem standards on Gun ownership.

Britain certainly hasn't been made safer by even the cops not carrying, so ask a few bobbies what they think?

OK, now, the real problem is, to own or not to own. SOme one above stated that only about 25% of americans own guns. Ask those other 75% how many of them want all guns to be taken. You will find that over 70% of AMerican citizens support the NRA version of the 2nd amendment. In fact you would see that even those who don't own are glad there are those that do. Texas is working on making it a law to require gun ownership, as is Florida. New Hampshire has a concealed carry right, as do a few other states.

Guns aren't the problem, tyranny is. You haven't seen it raise its head for awhile so you think it is gone forever. Just wait...
01:05 February 15, 2011 by zeddriver
Liberalguy, You are correct about one thing. We will not have a sudden take over of our country by a dictator. It will happen in stages.

To quote Norman Thomas a socialist that ran with a communist in 1948. The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of "liberalism" they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, Until one day America will be a socialist nation, Without knowing how it happened.

That is why even though it seems we have nothing to fear right now. We should always be prepared.

It's how America became a country. The king of England was acting up, And the people in the colonies didn't like it and wanted to start anew. Do you think that would have happened if the citizens didn't have arms. Not a chance.

So the armed citizens with a lot of help from the French overthrew the tyrannical king of England.

The folks in Egypt would not have stood a chance if Mubarek (sp) had the support of the army.
08:24 February 15, 2011 by Donodii
People keep asking what the U.S. obsession with guns is.. Well, it is like others that talk about sports all day long, which I do not understand or like, IE Football, baseball, golf etc. Others like to play pool - billiards, darts. others like to shoot. It is no different than the Germans love of beer, which I do not drink, so again, I do not understand that obsession. There only seems to be an issue with the obsession to those who do not like what ever obsession it is. I feel very safe in my community. It is not a must have, but again it is like any other sport, this is one I enjoy along with hunting and fishing. As stated earlier by zeddriver...It is like an insurance policy. Why do you have auto, home and life insurance, what are you afraid or paranoid of? Same difference as those who love beer, cigarettes, and sports, which I do not partake in any of those.
15:59 February 15, 2011 by freechoice

do you have insurance for winds coming at you at 300km/hr?

or 10 foot of tidal waves coming your way?

or even tonnes of snow storms pounding you??

what about rock and rolling when a massive 7 strikes?

you are on your own, buddy, hasta la vista baby....
22:52 February 15, 2011 by wenddiver
I can't belive anybody who knows any German History would have to ask these questions. Would the World have been a better place and millions stil alive if concerned German Citizens had overthrown the awful Kaiser, the Satanic Hitleror the Communist DDR.
00:01 February 16, 2011 by ergoiam
Did the report mention anything about what types of guns are included in the 6 million? Are rifles and handguns lumped together? Does this include old black powder style historical arms? I would be curious to see what the breakdown is.
11:18 February 16, 2011 by LecteurX
Wenddiver, eh? What is this drivel about? The Germans did overthrow the DDR, with or without guns. With or without guns, they wouldn't have overthrown Hitler, they loved him too much and realized too late what they were in for (ha, yeah it hurts to hear it, but it's true). With or without guns, the Tunisians overthrew their tyrant, as much as the French did in 1789, and many other European nations in the course of the 19th century.

In Canada and in Switzerland, people own lots of guns and these are rather safe places. In the US, people owns lots of guns and danger is everywhere.

There are many ways to make this world a better place, but there is nothing to prove that gun ownership is one of these, really.
13:13 February 17, 2011 by redleg50
The ex-pat:

"Why people cannot just sit back and enjoy the fact that they have the privileged to own/use a gun(s) is beyond me."

That is the point in the US. It is not a privilage it is a right codified by the US Constitution.

I have been around firearms in the states my whole life. I started hunting when I was 7. I am a lifetime member of the NRA. For the past few years, I have lived here in Germany and have taken the hunting course here so that I can hunt and own weapons here. Saying all that, I do like the way the Germans conduct the hunting schools. I feel they better prepare you to own firearms here in country.

Another comment talked about the total number of firearms here in Germany and how that might be skewed by extra barrels, primative-style weapons, etc. That is one difference here here than in the US. In the US, the part that has the serial number (usually the receiver) is the weapon. Here in Germany, that is not true. It is the barrel and bolt that are classified as a weapon. So you if own 5 seperate barrels for your Blaser, that is 5 weapons you own.
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