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German Law

14 April 2017 Author : 

German Knives Law - Weapons Act („Waffengesetz“ WaffG)

Weapons Act of 11 October 2002 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 3970, 4592; 2003 I p. 1957), most recently amended by Article 2 of the Act of 4 March 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 362)

This Act has been adopted by the Bundestag with the consent of the Bundesrat as Art. 1 of Act 7133-4/1 of 11 October 2002, I 3970. It enters into force in accordance with Art. 19, no. 1, second sentence of this Act in the version of 1 April 2003.

Below is an excerpt from the law concerning knives. Translations provided by the Language Service of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Part 1 General provisions
Section 1 Purpose of the Act, definitions
(2) Weapons shall mean
1. guns or equivalent objects and
2. portable objects
a) which are by nature intended to remove or reduce humans` ability to attack or defend, in particular cutting weapons and thrust weapons;
b) which, due to their properties, method of operation or how they work, are able to remove or reduce humans` ability to attack or defend, even if not intended for that purpose, and are referred to in this Act.

Section 42a
Ban on carrying fake guns and certain portable objects
(1) It shall be prohibited to carry

1. fake guns,
2. cutting and thrust weapons pursuant to Annex 1, Part 1, Chapter 2, no. 1.1, and
3. knives with a blade which can be fixed with one hand (one-hand knives) or fixed knives with a blade length of over 12 cm.

(2) Subsection 1 shall not apply

1. for use in connection with photographic sessions, film or television recordings or theatre performances,
2. to transport in a locked container,
3. to carrying of the objects pursuant to subsection 1, nos. 2 and 3, where a legitimate interest applies.
Further provisions shall remain unaffected.

(3) A legitimate interest under subsection 2, no. 3 shall apply in particular when the stated objects are carried in connection with the carrier`s occupation, in order to preserve traditions, for sports or a generally recognized purpose.

Section 53 - Fines
(1) Anyone who deliberately or negligently
21a. carries a fake gun, a cutting or thrust weapon or a knife as specified in Section 42a (1) in violation of the same,
shall be deemed to have committed an administrative offence.
(2) Administrative offences may be punished by a fine of up to ten thousand euros.
(3) The authority responsible for issuing licences in accordance with Section 21 (1) no. 1 shall be the administrative authority as defined in Section 36 (1) no. 1 of the Administrative Offences Act, where this Act is enforced by the national metrology institute PTB, the Federal Office of Administration or the Federal Criminal Police Office.

Annex 1 (to Section 1 (4))
Part 1: Technical definitions of weapons and ammunition, classification of objects

Chapter 2: Portable items

1. Portable items in accordance with Section 1, paragraph 2, no. 2 a) shall mean in particular
1.1 cutting and thrust weapons which are basically designed to inflict injury by using direct muscle power to cut, thrust, stab, hit or throw,


2. Portable items as defined in Section 1 (2) no. 2 b shall be
2.1 knives,
2.1.1 in which the blade is flicked forward and can be fixed in place by exerting pressure on a button or lever (flick knives) [Note: switchblade or automatic knives],
2.1.2 in which the blade drops forward out of the handle under its own weight or with the help of a flicking movement and automatically stays in place when a catch is released (gravity knife),
2.1.3 in which the blade is at right angles to the grip and which is designed to be held or used with a closed fist (fist knife) [Note: push-dagger]
2.1.4 folding knives with a split, swivelling grip (butterfly knives);


Annex 2 (to Section 2 (2) through (4))
Part 1: Banned weapons

1.3 Portable items as defined in Section 1 (2) no. 2 a) in accordance with nos. 1.3.1 to 1.3.8.
1.3.1 Cutting or thrust weapons shaped so that they can pass for another object or can be disguised as everyday items,
1.3.2 steel rods, clubs or knuckledusters,
1.3.3 star-shaped discs designed for throwing at a target and inflicting injury (throwing stars),
1.3.8 objects which designed or handled so as to inflict injury by choking (e. g. nunchakus);
1.4.1 Flick knives and gravity knives in accordance with Annex 1, Part 1, Chapter 2, nos. 2.1.1 and 2.1.2. Sentence 1 shall not apply to flick knives in which the blade springs out of the side of the grip and the part of the blade which projects from the grip – is no more than 8.5 cm long, – is not honed on both sides;
1.4.2 fist knives in accordance with Annex 1, Part 1, Chapter 2, no. 2.1.3,

1.4.3 butterfly knives in accordance with Annex 1, Part 1, Chapter 2, no. 2.1.4,


Part 3: Weapons exempted from all or part of the law
Chapter 1: Weapons exempted from the law, with the exception of Section 2 (1) and Section 41
Underwater sporting equipment which does not use ammunition to propel the projectile (harpoons).




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