According to today’s, July 31, 2016 Welt am Sonntag newspaper article, the number of issued Small Weapon Permits in Germany has risen to a record 400,000. For comparison, by the end of the second quarter of 2015, only 270,000 of such permits were issued. The newspaper writes, quoting numbers obtained from the Federal Interior Ministry. In order to qualify for the document, one has to have a clean criminal record, no drug or alcohol addiction, no mental illness, no physical defects, such as night blindness, etc.
Anyone in Germany over the age of 18 is allowed to purchase a small blank (or alarm) gun, a “Schreckschusspistole”, but in order to carry the weapon outside of one’s own four walls, a “Kleiner Waffenschein” (small weapon permit) has to be issued. The weapons usually look like replicas of real guns.
The chairman of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, told the newspaper that the reasons for the development were "increasing fear of terrorism and crime". "And that the people can no longer be settled down by statistics, appeasement or government announcements." In an emergency, the personal armament could however prove to be deceptive and useless. "For the handling of weapons you have to learn and train," warned Wendt.
Meanwhile, the number of the so-called “Waffenbestzkarten” (weapon possession cards, for real weapons) hasn’t changed in the same period, according to data from the Ministry and remained at slightly under 1.9 million registered cards.