The United States has some of the least restrictive firearms laws in the world, so it’s natural that Americans would assume that almost every other country in the world has draconian firearms laws that prevent almost everyone from getting guns.
To help clarify matters, Joerg Sprave of The Slingshot Channel has created a video, embedded below, that offers a primer on the weapon laws in one of the most important countries in Europe: Germany:
A quick recap: There are three kinds of licenses for firearms in Germany:
- Sport shooting (competition)
These licenses collectively allow you to own a wide variety of firearms; Joerg uses as examples an MP5, a Ruger Redhawk, Walther PP, Desert Eagle, and a Mossberg shotgun. Getting any given license is a matter of proving you are knowledgeable about the weapons and passing an exam, with wait times of up to a year.
Unlike in the US, carrying firearms is extremely difficult. The regular gun licenses do not provide for this (you must store the firearms in a safe, and you cannot fire them except at regulated ranges and for hunting and competition), and a very difficult to get license must be obtained before a citizen can do this.
German laws reflect the view of firearms ownership as a potentially dangerous luxury, where dedicated and vetted people are allowed to have guns, but there are major barriers to ownership. In the United States, though, our laws reflect a view of gun ownership as a right, where every person should and ought to be armed. But, still, German laws are not as harsh as they are often supposed to be.