Monday, December 31, 2012

Germany Compiles First Nationwide Gun Register - (Since 1919 anyway)

In the news today, I saw this headline: Germany Compiles First Nationwide Gun Register.  Considering the report comes from Germany, the reporter is either ignorant of his own country's history or is willfully misleading the reader.  The Weimar Republic and, to be fair, the Allied powers in WWI thought it would be a good idea to disarm the German populace.

Quoting from Chicago Law professor Bernard E. Harcourt's 2004 paper entitled, "Hitler and Gun Registration",
[quote]But even before the Treaty [of Versailles] was signed, the German parliament of the Weimar Republic enacted legislation prohibiting gun possession: on January 13, 1919, the Reichstag enacted legislation requiring the surrender of all guns to the government. This law, as well as the August 7, 1920, Law on the Disarmament of the People passed in light of the Versailles Treaty, remained in effect until 1928, when the German parliament enacted the Law on Firearms and Ammunition (April 12, 1928)—a law which relaxed gun restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme.[/quote]
Of course, it should be noted that the 1928 law and its successors relaxed restrictions on gun ownership, but only for those deemed deserving by the state.  Isn't that always how it goes?


  1. (A gun owner from Germany)
    All legal guns in Germany have already been registered for decades.
    It's just that so far they have been registered de-centralized by a few hundred local authorities that kept paper folders for all legal gun owners.

    When you move your residence in Germany you have to tell the registry office where you're moving. They will then spot the large red W (for Waffe/Weapon) and tell the local gun authority to send your folder to the office at your new residence.

    Now they are busy entering all that paper-based information they _already_ have in a computerized, centralized database the authorities (e.g. the police) can access outside usual business hours.

    Of course that will not solve one more crime, much less prevent one. Considering the two to three times as many illegal guns in circulation it should also change nothing for the police as far as self-protection is concerned (that the check for legal guns in the central database came back negative must not mean you can be careless).

    It will just be expensive to build.

    But the only novelty is that there will be one centralized register for all legal guns and not a few hundred de-centralized for all legal guns.

  2. Herr Stahl,

    Thanks for the correction. It's good to hear first-hand from a gun-owner how the system works in Deutschland. I was looking at it from the aspect of "they've been WAY past registration in Germany before." I guess last time confiscation was dependent upon the honesty and compliance of the German people.

    Agreed that registration won't work any better there than it has in any other place it's been tried.