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Gun politics in France

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Gun politics in France

In France, to buy a weapon, a hunting licence or a shooting sport licence is necessary.

Since 1939, guns have been divided into eight categories:

  • Category 1 : "Military" firearms. According to French law, a military firearm is a weapon which has a caliber used by the army since 1880. Some of them are prohibited; for example, fully automatic weapons, but semi-automatic rifles or handguns are authorised. Examples of military gauges in category 1 : 9mm, 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39, 7.62 NATO, .45 ACP, .50 BMG, .50 AE.
  • Category 2 : Military material
  • Category 3 : Protections against military gas
  • Category 4 : Civil firearms. According to French law, a civil firearm is a semi-automatic long gun with a magazine that can hold more than 3 rounds that does not use a military gauge, or a handgun (pistol or revolver, including all magazine capacities) which doesn't have a caliber used by the army. Examples of civil gauges in category 4 : .22 LR pistol, .357 magnum, .44 magnum, .500 S&W.
  • Category 5 : Hunting firearms. All long guns which don't use a military caliber; manually operated long guns with a maximum magazine capacity of 10 rounds, and semi-automatic long guns with a maximum of 3 rounds.
  • Category 6 : Knives
  • Category 7 : Shooting firearms: .22 LR rifles, BB guns, etc...
  • Category 8 : Historical firearms: firearms which were designed before 1880 and black-powder guns. (Except for firearms using black-powder metallic cartridges).

France also sets limits on the number of cartridges that can be purchased per year, depending on the purpose of the gun. The total number of firearms owned by an individual is also subject to limits.[1] France has no limit on magazine capacity and no assault weapon ban, other than that you need a permit for category one semi-automatics.


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