Since November 2019 federal states in Germany are empowered to set up “Weapon-free-zones”. What does that mean and what is the point?
Important Information ahead!
We are not Lawyers and we therefore do not guarantee the legal correctness of the following!
What is a Weapon-free-zone?
Weapon-free-zones are legally separated areas in cities and communities where carrying weapons is prohibited.
For the strict enforcement of these, police officers are allowed to search individuals without a specific reason or occasion.
Disrespecting these laws may lead to fines up to 10,000 €
What equipment is affected by this?
What equipment is affected may vary from zone to zone.
In general can be said the following equipment is not allowed, compared to the normal circumstances:
- Gas pistols with official PTB_Branding
- Knives with fixed blades over 4cm blade length
- Defense sprays
- Irritant spray devices
- Stun guns
What does carry mean?
According to the German Gun Law (WaffG Anl. 1 Abschnitt 2 Abs. 3), a carrier is someone who has the power over the weapon.
Having the power in this case covers the read-to-use weapon outside your appartement, business, your own, fenced property, or a gun range.
But important is, the difference between carrying and transporting. If you transport the weapon outside of direct reach, and not ready-to-use you do not automatically carry. This is therefore not included in the prohibition of weapons.
In some parts the German Gun Law is kind of loose to cover all kind of unpredictable situation. This gives the enforcement a wide range for interpretation of the law. Experience shows that especially the questions “What is carrying and what is transport” lead to many different opinions.
Transporting a weapon is not prohibited in the weapon free zones.
Weapon free zones aim to ensure, violent people do not carry weapons inside these zones to decrease the records of violence related crime.
Michael Richter, Home Secretary of Saxony – Anhalt explained in Dec 2020: “Due to the introduction of weapon-free-zones we can directly encounter the possibility to carry out violent conflicts in a limited, predetermined area.” (free translation by narrator!)
Weapon-free-zones shall also increase the safety feeling of the people.
How usefull are weapon-free-zones?
The introduction of weapon free zones is cheered and find agreement by most of the people. Unfortunately, enthusiasm is limited, and nobody should believe that weapon free zones will increase the public safety.
Weapon free zones aim to prevent violent people to carry weapons …
But criminals disregard existing laws and consciously accept the legal consequences. Charges and Punishment are accepted or they believe to not be caught. Why should additional laws and prohibitions lead to overthinking? Why should somebody with violent potential not carry a weapon when his intention is illegal and even leads to even worse charges and punishment?
Therefore, the effects of weapon free zones must be looked at critical.
Of course, fines up to 10,000 € will deduct few criminals. But what proportion does that matter?
It must also be questioned if criminal hotspots will move inside cities to new areas.
Weapon-free-zones will cause, that honest and law following people will leave their pepper-spray and other defense equipment at home as they fear high fines and penalty.
On the other hand, it must be shown in the future, whether criminals will also disarm and not carry weapons and if the records decrease. If this should not be the case, we once again took the possibility for honest, law following people to protect themselves and others in dangerous situations.