Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - More and more people in North Rhine-Westphalia have a small gun license for carrying an over-the-counter blanket gun or gas gun in public.

The total number of all currently valid small gun licenses in North Rhine-Westphalia was 174,744 nationwide, as the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior announced at the request of the German Press Agency.

This corresponds to an increase compared to December 2019 of 7742 or a good 4.6 percent.

In 2019 as a whole, the number of small gun licenses in North Rhine-Westphalia grew by 11,376 or 7.3 percent.

A spokeswoman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior said there has been a steady increase in the number of small gun licenses since 2014/2015.

A motive cannot be inferred from the figures collected.

According to earlier information, there were 65 553 holders of a small gun license in NRW in 2014.

So the number has more than doubled since then.

The sexual assaults on New Year's Eve five years ago would have increased the trend towards the small gun license, as individual police authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia reported in the following period.


Many police authorities warn of dangers for the user or of a danger to bystanders.

Alarm weapons, irritant weapons or signal weapons would often look like sharp weapons.

Therefore, under certain circumstances, uncontrolled action by outsiders could occur, warns the NRW police.

Inexperienced gun carriers could also endanger themselves in extreme stressful situations or injure bystanders.

Fired at close range, such weapons could even cause life-threatening injuries.

Police authorities warn against a false sense of security, especially since situations could escalate.

«A blank gun does not provide more security.

On the contrary: Carrying them with you harbors many dangers, ”Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) underlined in the past in view of the significantly increasing numbers.

The NRW police refer to a shrill alarm as a possible alternative for those who want to prepare for an emergency situation.

This can be used to draw attention to oneself widely and to drive attackers to flight.

Anyone in need should call the police on 110 and ask passers-by for help.


A small gun license is issued by the police or a municipal authority from the age of 18 and entitles the holder to use alarm guns, irritant weapons or signal weapons.

Before you get the small gun license, the authorities check your personal suitability and reliability - you must not have a criminal record, for example.

Over-the-counter alarm pistols, irritant gas or signal weapons can only be used on shooting ranges or in narrowly defined cases such as self-defense.

At public events such as public festivals, demonstrations or in the cinema, such weapons may not be carried, even with a small gun license.

It is also forbidden to shoot with it on New Year's Eve - especially not with pyrotechnic ammunition.

Police NRW to the small gun license

District Coesfeld to the small gun license