The German Government institution publicized their annual statistics dealing with the so called “Small-Firearms License” (in german "Kleiner Waffenschein"). Following this, on Dec 31st, 2020 there are 705,506 issued licenses. A raise of 6,14%, or in numbers 40,800 permits.
What is the so called "Small-Firearms License"?
The license allows the holder to carry a gas pistol with official PTB_Branding.
Public carrying in this case covers the ready to use transportation outside your appartement, business, your own, fenced property, or a gun range.
The license was introduced in 2003 and can be requested by every individual over the age of 18. Requesting this is just formal. Different to the possessing license for real firearms (in german "Waffenbesitzkarte") no proof of expertise is needed, e.g., in manners of instructions, trainings etc. A verification for long term usage is also not required for the "Small-Firearms License."
The only requirements are blank criminal record, physical, and psychical fitness.
The application is done at the local weapons authority office. The license does not expire.
The statistics about the "Small-Firearms License" - (NO) reason to worry!
Germany publicizes the small firearms statistics annually. Since the introduction, the number of issued licenses increases. During the last six years, the number of permits has more than doubled as can be seen in the chart.
Governmental-organizations and media criticize an (seemingly) arming of Germans based on this data.
But if you deal with the details of the "Small-Firearm License" you will realize this critic is only conditionally justified.
Many myths have grown up on this license
The license allows the holder to carry gas pistol with official PTB_Branding.
But daily business shows the growing inexperience accompanying the small firearm license. Almost every third of all customers associate the "Small-Firearms License" for buying air guns and rifles. Only few cases show that customers relate the "Small-Firearm-License" to gas pistols.
Based on this the question rises on how many licenses are applied under false purpose e.g., to buy an air rifle instead of carrying a gas pistol.
To have a realistic view on the facts and figures you must consider this information in all statistics. If we would do this, the statistics would show a much more friendly number.
The "Small-Firearm-License" can be requested by everyone, without any consequences after or requirements ahead.
Requesting the small firearm license is easy and can be done without much effort. Rejecting quotes of 0.6%, e.g., in Rhineland-Palatinate allow us to claim, every application is accepted.
Compared to the possessing permit for real firearms, for which a proof of experience and knowledge and a verification of long-term usage (e.g., for shooing clubs etc.) is required, the "Small-Firearm License" has almost no to little requirements.
This leads to a rising number since you do not have any personal effects at all. No training ahead, and no proof of continuing shooting and usage. It does not take any free time and is not accompanied by any following costs or consequences.
Because of that, we have to differ and look, how many really want the license for carrying a gas pistol, and how many just bought it off a quick idea or have it to "MAYBE" use it in the future.
Long Term the "Small-Firearms License" is losing importance and will lack of usage.
The refugee crisis in Germany and the riots in cologne on new year’s eve 2015/16 with huge numbers of harassments, attacks and violence led to an explosive rise of applications.
By today the general uncertainty is gone. So how many issued licenses from 2016 are still in use and how many just gather dust in a drawer or even landed in the trash?
If the permit would need to be renewed every five yeas or so, the statistics would show an even clearer data about the licenses. But…
… the "Small-Firearm License" is not limited!
Once issued, the license has not to be renewed.
But if the "Small-Firearms License" has not to be renewed how to know how many permits are definitely STILL used for the reason they were issued?
The possessing permit for real firearms on the other hand is not limited as well. But you have to bring proof of regular shootings and show, you use your permit on regular basis. If not, it will expire.
Unless the "Small-Firearms License" isn't revoked by the officials the License will NEVER be excluded from the statistics.