Weapons Act 1996

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Basic data
Title: Weapons Act 1996
Long title: Federal Law on the Gun Police
Abbreviation: WaffG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Republic of Austria
Legal matter: Special administrative law
Reference: BGBl. I No. 12/1997
Effective date: July 1, 1997
Last change: BGBl. I No. 97/2018
Legal text: Weapons Act 1996 in the federal legal information system
Please note the note on the applicable legal version !

The Weapons Act 1996 ( WaffG ) is part of the Austrian weapons law . It regulates the handling of weapons (including bladed weapons ), firearms and ammunition, as well as the acquisition, possession, trading and repair or destruction of weapons.

It was enacted in 1997 as Article 1 of the Federal Act, which enacted the Weapons Act 1996 and changed the Accommodation Act, the Criminal Code and the Security Police Act.

The implementation regulation is the 1st Weapons Act Implementation Ordinance issued by the Federal Minister of the Interior , Federal Law Gazette II No. 164/1997 i. d. G. F.

News and changes

Gun Law Amendment 2010

On June 16, 2010, the National Council adopted the ministerial draft (142 / ME (XXIV. GP)) for the implementation of the 2010 Gun Law Amendment (247 / BNR (XXIV. GP))) in the third reading.

Circular Decree on the Weapons Act, May 29, 2008 - Expansive Ammunition

On May 29, 2008 the Federal Ministry of the Interior issued a circular u. a. on the subject of expansive ammunition .

Change in 2016

In 2016, illegally staying third-country nationals and third-country nationals without a “permanent EU residence permit” were prohibited from possessing, acquiring and carrying firearms and ammunition with an amendment to Section 11a WaffG.

Weapons Act Amendment 2018

An amendment to the Weapons Act became necessary in 2018 because a new EU Weapons Directive was passed that came into force in 2018. This directive, which was adopted after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 , bans private individuals on certain firearms. Member States are free to adopt less stringent rules for hunters and sport shooters. As the most important change after the amendment came into force, a pistol may only have magazines with a maximum capacity of 20 rounds; the limit for a semi-automatic rifle is ten rounds. In addition, shotguns purchased before 2012 must now also be entered in the Central Arms Register.

Hunters who have a valid hunting license and at the same time a weapon possession card are now allowed to use silencers for their weapons if they hunt regularly and carry category B weapons during the lawful, legally permissible and actual hunting without a weapon passport according to national regulations.

In addition, a legal definition of a sport shooter and corresponding facilitation of gun ownership were introduced. Members of the judiciary or the military police are now issued with a gun pass on request - previously this regulation only applied to members of the federal police .

The ban on the possession of firearms for people without a permanent residence permit (such as asylum seekers ), which was only enacted in 2016, was extended to a general ban on weapons with the amendment. The Ministry of the Interior gave the reason for the “blatant increase in crimes against life and limb” involving weapons such as knives by third-country nationals.

The amendment came into force on January 1, 2019.

Classifications of the types of weapons

The weapon concept

Section 1 defines weapons as objects which, by their nature, are intended to

  1. to eliminate or reduce the ability of people to attack or defend themselves through direct action or
  2. to be used for firing shots while hunting or shooting sports.

This makes it clear that not every dangerous object (pocket knife, pickaxe, etc.) is also a weapon within the meaning of this law.

According to the law, firearms are weapons with which solid bodies can be fired through a barrel in a definable direction. ( § 2 WaffG) The law basically distinguishes between three categories (A, B and C) of firearms. In addition, deviating regulations are defined for some ineffective firearms.

In general, flare guns are signaling devices and - in the absence of the intended purpose specified in Section 1 WaffG - are not weapons and are free from the age of 18. A "flare pistol" suitable for firing shotgun cartridges (including flare pistols in caliber 4 with an insertion barrel on caliber 12) falls under the definition of weapons in Section 1 of the WaffG.

The following table provides information about the acquisition (with subsequent possession) and the use of various categories of weapons for citizens without an upright weapon ban who are not third-country nationals or asylum seekers:

category Weapon type Examples Acquisition To lead

(in public)

A. Prohibited weapons and war material fully automatic firearms and other war material (e.g. submachine guns, machine carbines and machine guns), pump guns ;

camouflaged weapons (e.g. firing ballpoint pen); Firearms that are designed to be folded, pushed together, shortened or quickly dismantled beyond what is customary for hunting and sporting purposes;

Shotguns with an overall length of less than 90 cm or with a barrel length of less than 45 cm,

forbidden cutting weapons e.g. B. brass knuckles, killers, steel rods;

semi-automatic handguns with centerfire ignition with (integrated or attached) magazine that can hold more than 20 cartridges;

Center-fire handgun magazines capable of holding more than 20 rounds;

Semi-automatic rifles with centerfire ignition with (integrated or attached) magazine that can hold more than 10 cartridges;

Magazines for semi-automatic rifles with center fire that can hold more than 10 cartridges;

semi-automatic firearms with center and rimfire ignition and a total length of more than 60 cm, which can be shortened to a total length of less than 60 cm with the aid of a folding or telescopic stock or a stock that can be removed without using a tool without any loss of functionality;

Firearms with integrated silencers;

Silencer (except here: holder of a valid hunting license if the hunt is practiced regularly)

only with a special permit only with a special permit
B. Weapons requiring a license semi-automatic firearms and also rifles belonging to hunting and sporting rifles; Handguns ( pistol , revolver ), bolt action shotguns that are not war material or prohibited weapons

Ammunition for handguns with center fire or with a caliber of 6.35 mm and above if no weapon is registered for it

Gun ownership card , gun pass Gun passport
C. all firearms that do not belong to category A or B.

Stun gun such as " Taser " with cartridge

free from 18 years

(3 working days waiting period for the acquisition of a firearm by a trader
without a gun pass, gun ownership card or hunting license)

Gun passport

(partly possible with a valid hunting card, or for members of traditional shooting clubs)

reportable firearms with at least one rifled barrel,

which have to be reloaded manually after each shot

(formerly Category C)

Rifles: bolt action rifles, over and under rifles;

Triplets , revolver rifles , compressed air weapons and CO 2 weapons with a caliber of 6 mm and above

reportable firearms with exclusively smooth barrel (s),

which have to be reloaded manually after each shot

(formerly Category D)

Shotguns: Enema shotguns, double shotguns, over and under shotguns
Section 45 Arms ineffective weapons Firearms with matchlock - wheel lock - and flintlock ignition and einschüssige firearms with percussion ignition ;

other firearms developed before 1871;

Firearms in which the projectiles are propelled by compressed air (compressed air weapons) or gas pressure created using carbon dioxide (CO 2 weapons) and have a caliber of less than 6 mm,

Room connection ; other types of ineffective weapons which the Federal Minister of the Interior designates as such by ordinance

free from 18 years Gun passport

Airsoft guns and paintball markers do not come under the term of a firearm in the sense of the Weapons Act, but may only be purchased from the age of 18 due to the Airsoft Guns Ordinance .

Prohibited weapons and war material (Category A)

Prohibited weapons

In addition to weapons that simulate another object or are disguised with objects of everyday use (e.g. stick swords), firearms that are designed to be folded, pushed together, shortened or quickly dismantled beyond what is customary for hunting and sporting purposes are prohibited .

The following weapons and objects are also prohibited:

  • Shotguns (shotguns) with a total length of less than 90 cm or with a barrel length of less than 45 cm.
  • Forend repeating shotguns - so-called "pump guns" (shotguns with a forend repeater system)
  • Firearms that are provided with a device for dampening the sound of the gunshot (silencer) . (The prohibition also extends to the device mentioned alone, whereby professional hunters can obtain an exemption under certain circumstances in accordance with Section 17 (3a) WaffG.)
  • Brass knuckles , killers and steel rods

Since January 1, 2019, magazines for semi-automatic firearms with center fire ignition of more than 20 rounds as well as weapons of category C and former category D with a magazine capacity of more than ten rounds have been considered category A weapons due to an EU directive, but may due to an official Exemptions can still be held if they were acquired before January 1, 2019.

Acquiring, owning and managing

Prohibited weapons

The acquisition, possession and use of these weapons is generally prohibited. The authority can grant reliable persons from the age of 21 an exemption to acquire and possess prohibited weapons. This is done by making an entry in the gun ownership card . An entry is made in the weapon passport to carry such weapons .

War material

The acquisition, possession and carrying of war material is generally prohibited; the War Material Act is binding for this.

The Federal Minister for National Defense can grant reliable persons aged 21 and over a special permit to acquire, own and carry war material. The Federal Minister of the Interior must agree to this exception.

Full jacket bullets (unless they are ammunition with tracer, smoke, marker, hard core, incendiary or sabot bullets) are exempt from this prohibition, even if they are considered war material. Their acquisition is only permitted on the basis of a gun pass, a gun ownership card or a hunting license. The prohibition on owning and carrying firearms that are war material does not apply to service weapons that are used to protect heads of state or members of the government of a state or comparable personalities.

Category B firearms


Category B firearms are handguns, repeating shotguns, and semi-automatic firearms that are not category A. The Federal Minister of the Interior can exempt firearms from the licensing requirement in the event of a joint application by all state hunting associations, provided that they are not handguns or weapons with a magazine capacity of more than 3 cartridges. ( § 19 WaffG)

Acquiring, owning and managing

Acquisition, possession and management is only permitted on the basis of an official permit. A gun ownership card is required to purchase and possess, and a gun passport to use. A hunting license alone does not entitle you to acquire, own or carry category B weapons ( Section 20 WaffG). Surrender of the weapon outside officially approved shooting ranges is only permitted to persons who are also authorized to own category B weapons and must be reported to the respective authorities within six weeks by both the surrender and the purchaser. Weapons that are acquired or sold from a trader only need to be reported to the authorities by the trader ( Section 28 WaffG).

Reliable EEA citizens aged 21 and over are permitted to acquire a gun ownership card or a gun passport, while the issuing of a gun ownership card to persons aged 18 and over is at the discretion of the authorities. When applying for a gun ownership card, the purchaser must be able to provide a justification and a requirement for a gun passport ( Section 21 WaffG). A justification for possession is in any case given if the purchaser can credibly demonstrate that he needs the weapon for self-defense within his living or business premises. According to the law, there is a need to carry a firearm if the purchaser can credibly demonstrate that he is exposed to particular dangers outside his living or business premises, which he can effectively counter with armed violence ( Section 22 WaffG).

The acquisition and possession of ammunition for handguns with center fire or a caliber of 6.35 mm and above is only permitted for people with a gun pass or a gun ownership card ( Section 24 (1) WaffG).

Category C firearms


Weapons in categories C and D have been combined since the 2010 amendment to the Weapons Act. These are firearms that have to be reloaded manually after each shot and with a rifled barrel (category C) or smooth barrel (formerly category D), which do not fall under categories A or B. ( § 30 and § 31 WaffG)

Acquiring, owning and managing

The purchaser must be over 18 years of age and report the purchase to a trader who is authorized to trade in non-military firearms within six weeks. This report includes the type and caliber of the weapon purchased as well as its brand, type, production number, the name of the previous owner and a reason for possession of the weapon. A justification is to be taken as given if the weapon is kept ready for self-defense or used for shooting sports, for hunting purposes or for collection. This information is entered in the Central Arms Register, which has been available since October 1, 2012 . Before the entry is made, the trader must check whether there is a gun ban. ( Section 33 WaffG)

When acquiring firearms from a trader by a person who does not have a weapon law document, a possibly existing weapon ban must be checked and the weapon must only be handed over after a waiting period of three working days after the conclusion of the legal transaction. ( § 34 WaffG)

Weapons of category C, but not category D, which were already in possession before October 1, 2012, must be entered in the central weapons register by June 30, 2014. The previous ownership is sufficient as a reason for the acquisition. If a weapon is sold or transferred from an old stock, registration must be carried out in any case, regardless of the specific category. ( §58 Abs. 2-3 WaffG)

Ammunition suitable for category C weapons that are manufactured in a caliber for handguns may also be acquired and owned without a legal document. However, the registration confirmation must be presented upon purchase. ( § 24 WaffG)

Carrying a firearm is only permitted with a gun pass or a hunting license . This does not apply to sport shooters who are on the way to or from the shooting range with an unloaded weapon. Members of a rifle club for a festive or festive occasion are also permitted to move out with a weapon. ( § 35 WaffG)

Common provisions

Safekeeping Regulations

Firearms and ammunition must be kept safe. The Weapons Act does not specify any details on specific safekeeping. However, since the 2010 amendment to the Weapons Act, the Federal Minister of the Interior has been able to issue regulations on safe storage. ( § 16a WaffG) So far, no more precise regulations have been issued, which is why the legal interpretation in the specific cases is left to the authorities and courts. In contrast to Germany, weapons and ammunition do not have to be stored separately in Austria.

Exceptions to leadership

The Weapons Act defines two exceptions to the carrying of weapons in which a weapons pass or a hunting license are not required ( Section 7 WaffG):

  1. Weapons may be carried in residential and business premises as well as on fenced-in properties with the consent of the authorized persons. The weapon may be loaded and ready for use.
  2. The transport of weapons is permitted provided it is only used to move the firearm from one place to another. Firearms must be kept unloaded in a closed, but not necessarily locked, container.

The requirements for lawful possession of the weapons, such as a weapon ownership card for category B weapons, must be met in both cases.

Gun bans

The possession of weapons and ammunition is forbidden to persons against whom a weapon ban has been pronounced and to persons without a permanent residence permit. The authority has to secure legal documents as well as weapons and ammunition. In the event of imminent danger, public supervision bodies are also entitled to secure weapons law documents, weapons and ammunition ( Section 12 and Section 13 WaffG).

Civil service persons are prohibited from acquiring and possessing category B firearms as well as carrying all categories of firearms for a period of 15 years from the date on which they are determined to be civilian service members. However, this is not a weapons ban within the meaning of the Weapons Act, which is why civilian service persons are permitted to acquire and own category C firearms. An exception to the prohibition for category B and the carrying of firearms can be obtained by submitting a justified application to the State Police Directorate for members of traditional shooting associations, sport shooters and hunters. ( § 5 Abs. 5 ZDG)

Shooting ranges

The provisions on possession and use of firearms and the acquisition and provision of ammunition for handguns do not apply to shooting ranges. However, weapons bans within the meaning of the Weapons Act continue to apply. ( § 14 WaffG)


Persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from possessing or purchasing weapons, ammunition and popping cartridges. Exceptions can be made for people over the age of 16. This exception only applies to category C firearms, provided the person concerned needs the weapon for sporting or hunting purposes and appears mature and reliable enough. ( § 11 WaffG)

See also

Portal: Weapons  - Overview of Wikipedia content on weapons

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Gun Law Amendment 2010 (142 / ME (XXIV.GP)
  2. ^ Weapons Act Amendment 2010 (247 / BNR (XXIV.GP))
  3. Circular on the Weapons Act, May 29, 2008 - Expansive Ammunition (BMI-VA1900 / 0075-III / 3/2008)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / iwoe.org  
  4. Federal Law Gazette I No. 120/2016 Article 6: Amendment of the Weapons Act 1996.
  5. Markus Becker: EU Parliament tightened gun law - open dispute at press conference. In: Spiegel online. March 14, 2017, accessed October 6, 2018 .
  6. ^ Austria wants to forbid asylum seekers the possession of weapons. In: SZ.de. October 5, 2018, accessed October 6, 2018 .
  7. Norbert Rief: New gun law: Kickl plans knife ban for asylum seekers. In: diepresse.com. October 5, 2018, accessed on January 17, 2019.
  8. Legal clause RS0081875. WaffG §1. In: Legal Information System of the Republic of Austria . November 19, 1981. Retrieved November 21, 2019 .
  9. Deaths with "Taser" weapons. Retrieved March 1, 2019 .
  10. ^ Federal law amending the Weapons Act 1996 (Weapons Act Amendment 2010, Federal Law Gazette II No. 301/2012 )
  11. Federal Law Gazette II No. 301/2012 : Amendment of the 1st Weapons Act Implementation Ordinance and the 2nd Weapons Act Implementation Ordinance
  12. Central arms register starts in October
  13. ^ Law: Safekeeping of Firearms. In: weidwerk.at. Retrieved December 2, 2012 .