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Germany
Source
: National Report on the Implementation of the PoA, 2008 and 2010 
Date
: 06/05/2011
National Report
:
 
Contact
: Conventional Arms Control, Division 241, Federal Foreign Office
Email
: 241-0@diplo.de
 
 
 
 


National laws, regulations and administrative procedures:

War Weapons Control Act; Weapons Act; Proof Firing Act

 

 
 
 


National Marking Practices:

Provisions establishing obligations to mark war weapons are contained in s. 12(7)(3) of the War Weapons Control Act in conjunction with s. 13 of the Second Ordinance Implementing the War Weapons Control Act. No exceptions are allowed from the obligation to mark war weapons. The marking of firearms by industry is governed by s. 24 (1) through (5) of the Weapons Act. Arms manufacturers and arms dealers are under an obligation to warrant that every firearm produced, to be used, sold or imported in the area of application of the Weapons Act is duly, and uniquely, marked with a sign containing data on (1) their name, a registered corporate name or a registered trademark of the arms manufacturer or arms dealer established in the area of application of the Weapons Act, (2) the type of ammunition or—if no ammunition is used—the type of projectiles, and (3) a serial number. Section 14 of the Weapons Act establishes, for firearms developed prior to 1871 and manufactured prior to January 1, 1945, very narrow exceptions from the general marking obligation imposed on manufacturers. If unmarked weapons not falling under section 14 of the Weapons Act are found, the competent authorities, as a rule, submit them to destruction, unless they constitute evidence in a criminal case under investigation or pending a final ruling, or are retained in order to be used for educational purposes of federal or state police forces.

Marking at the time of import:

All war weapons as well as firearms imported or otherwise transferred into Germany must be marked with the sign of the producer or the importer. The mark must be of a readily recognizable and permanent nature

Marking of SALW in the possession of government armed and security forces:

Each weapon of the Federal Armed Forces is unambiguously marked and bears the following information: manufacturer, weapon type, caliber, month and year of delivery ex works, serial number, proof firing stamp, possibly additional marks, such as, e.g., maintenance information. The marks are applied in accordance with the standards of applicable technical manuals and are unique. In order to increase the transparency within the field of marking of SALW Germany has begun the process to introduce the stamp “DE” as a central identification code. Pursuant to section 6 (1) and (2) of the Proof Firing Act, as amended, a proof firing stamp as well as a property sign – e.g. “BMI” indicating that the weapon is in use with the Federal Ministry of the Interior- are stamped or engraved on all arms used by federal authorities. The Federal Customs Administration, the Federal Police and the state police forces must carry the title holding authorities’ sign. Arms of the state police forces are marked with a state-specific sign of ownership containing an abbreviation of the respective state and/or of the name of the institution. E.g.: The abbreviations “HB” and “Pol.Br.” designate weapons in use with the police force of the Freie Hansestadt Bremen, the smallest German federal state. Weapons in use with the Federal Revenue Administration are permanently marked with the acronym “BZV.


Measures against the removal or alteration of markings:



 
 
 


Accurate and comprehensive records for all marked SALW within their territory:

All license holders are obliged to keep the necessary documents for at least ten years in order to make on-site inspections of the supervising authorities possible. Such on-site inspections take place regularly and may be carried out as challenge inspections. Recordkeeping in the federal back-up register of SALW maintained by the Federal Police is unlimited in time, thus warranting that police weaponry can be traced even after the life-time of the weapons. Additionally, each arms manufacturer is obliged to keep an arms manufacturing register (Waffenherstellungsbuch) and a register of the trade in arms (Waffenhandelsbuch). These registers contain information on the production of arms, the recipients of the arms, the production numbers, and the production signs (e.g. registered trademarks or the name of the manufacturer). Upon consultation of the registers, it is possible to determine whether a specific marked arm was manufactured by the company in question. Markings may differ according to clients’ wishes, but it is guaranteed that a later identification is possible. As to non-military weapons, inspections take place once a year; they are carried out for by the competent regional administrative authority. Furthermore, Germany has also intensified its efforts in the field of recordkeeping, for example the compulsory period of recordkeeping will be more definite and legally binding in the long term. Concerning war weapons, companies have to observe special reporting obligations by submitting bi-annual statements to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) on all registered transactions. Every second year the Office carries out inspections based on these statements. Recordkeeping in the federal back-up register of SALW maintained by the Federal Police is unlimited in time, thus warranting that police weaponry can be traced even after the life-time of the weapons. Additionally, each arms manufacturer is obliged to keep an arms manufacturing register (Waffenherstellungsbuch) and a register of the trade in arms (Waffenhandelsbuch). These registers contain information on the production of arms, the recipients of the arms, the production numbers, and the production signs (e.g. registered trademarks or the name of the manufacturer). Upon consultation of the registers, it is possible to determine whether a specific marked arm was manufactured by the company in question. Markings may differ according to clients’ wishes, but it is guaranteed that a later identification is possible. As to non-military weapons, inspections take place once a year; they are carried out for by the competent regional administrative authority. Furthermore, Germany has also intensified its efforts in the field of recordkeeping, for example the compulsory period of recordkeeping will be more definite and legally binding in the long term. Concerning war weapons, companies have to observe special reporting obligations by submitting bi-annual statements to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) on all registered transactions. Every second year the Office carries out inspections based on these statements.

 
 
 


Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests
:

SALW held and issued by State authorities can be traced by referring the marking to registers kept by the Federal Armed Forces, the federal back-up register of SALW maintained by the Federal Police or the central weapons register of the Federal Revenue Administration, as the case may be. In the civil domain, small arms can be traced in the same way. The German legislation provides a sophisticated system of marking and registration of small arms which allows the tracing of any lawfully marked weapon. Pursuant to Articles 123 and 124 of the German Regulations concerning correspondence with foreign countries in legal matters, all police services from foreign countries can request the Federal Criminal Police Bureau to establish the sales history of a firearm via official channels such as Interpol or Europol. The process of tracing illicit SALW is, as a rule, initiated by a so-called tracing request forwarded by Interpol to the country of manufacture. In Germany, all measures to trace illegal SALW are undertaken by the Federal Criminal Police Bureau. If a tracing request is received by the Bureau due to indications that the weapon in question appears to be manufactured in Germany without carrying a federal or state authority marking, investigations do not only address the manufacturer, but also the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as licensing authority and the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) as control authority. If the tracing request clearly indicates that the weapon in question carries a federal or state authority marking, the registers enumerated above (under recordkeeping) will be consulted.

Operational Informaton Exchange:

The Federal Armed Forces have established an effective system of cooperation with the Federal Criminal Police Bureau — and, if necessary, via the Bureau with Interpol — concerning theft of SALW occurring in the Federal Armed Forces. During Peace Support Operations (PSO) the Federal Armed Forces are closely in cooperation with local authorities and/or international (i.e. UN) police forces in tracing illicit SALW.

Needs and Request for Assistance::

Implementation challenges and opportunities: