Today I am joined by my friend Edouard for a discussion of French gun laws, as part of our continuing series on how firearms laws vary across the world. The French system is, shall we say…bureaucratic.
Today I am joined by my friend Edouard for a discussion of French gun laws, as part of our continuing series on how firearms laws vary across the world. The French system is, shall we say…bureaucratic.
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Thanks to Edouard (& Ian, of course) for a good rundown of what is clearly a quite complex system. I was wondering if any type of carry is permitted for civilians in France?
Here’s a bad gun control joke: a man was arrested for openly carrying a dangerous weapon. The weapon was a large caliber pistol firing a 12 millimeter lead ball. “How terrible! Using such a gun, he could have shot through two people at the same time and gotten away with it!” What was the actual weapon? An antique percussion lock cavalry muzzleloader pistol with no powder or shot loaded at all!
Carry isn’t permitted for civilians (outside of policemen and security/customs agents) in France unless a special carry permit is obtained. It is very hard to obtain though : there needs to be a serious risk on your life (threats were made against you, you are a witness in a dangerous trial, those kinds of things).
This carry permit is only valid 1 year though, you have to renew it each time.
So if you are a sport shooter, a hunter or else, you are not allowed to carry. This means that when you are outside of the range, not hunting or not at home you need to transport your weapon in a way that makes it unusable immediately, either by taking it apart (exemple : you carry a bolt action rifle with the bolt removed), or using “technical means” as the law states (having a lock on the trigger, putting it in a case, in a bad, etc.).
Thanks for the info, Garcia.
Technically, concealed carry exists. But it’s may-issue-and-only-to-the-well-connected. Carry permits are handled at the Ministry of the Interior, instead of the Prefectures (that are local delegates of the MoI) that handle regular gun ownership/licensing.
They’re going to expand carry to private security agents (Disneyland Paris now has private armed guards) because they realize using soldiers (“Sentinelle”) as mall-cops is a bit costly and tends to get soldiers frustrated (who then won’t renew their contract).
France is a Latin country: lots of grey area and backroom dealings.
Target shooters can’t carry their guns. They have to be locked or taken apart so that it’s considered “transport” and not “carry”.
Hunters can only own a limited subset of long arms. Technically they can carry them during hunting, but that’s not carrying a firearms “in the American sense”.
Oh, and since August 1st, new regs and rules!
[off-topic so ignore if you wish]
Recently new modular (multi-caliber) self-loading rifle was unveiled, namely KONEV modular rifle, see: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/03/08/konev-modular-rifle/
It was developed to fit needs of U.S. civilian market and was designed to not have flaws of some known patterns of rifles.
What do you think about that partly-free-floating barrel?
Looks ok. Seems similar to a lot of PTR rifles. Odd not seeing a bolt assist but that is just me.
What is the advantage of the Konev over something like any of the AR15 rifles out there? That seems to be it’s real competition and those rifles can be pretty inexpensive.
The man has experience and talent, let’s see how far he takes it. He will need lots of money to turn it into a series product. The point to understand is that what he does is optimisation of existing designs, not innovating in conventional sense. His gun will still get fouled and will kick its user like any other.
Side folding stock.
Magazine well as module – allow changing between cartridge of various lengths.
Monolithic element of which rail is sitting.
Term “free floating barrel” is often overstated. I do not see need for this design element outside of target/ sniper rifles. To achieve it with gas operated weapons is especially difficult/ impractical.
With any design, at certain point you have to come to ask yourself: with given intent on mind, how far I need to go to achieve it? When another element added to it will make it overall worse or impractical? Tough call to answer, I know. Anyone who worked in R&D knows that.
It looks like a SCAR/ACR or equivalent, but made in Eastern Europe instead of the usual countries. They do offer Russian calibers from the beginning.
I am curious to read comparative tests and I wonder how durable is the folding stock.
Don’t criticize the French too much. After all, foreigners can’t all be GREAT like us Americans who actually live with true freedom.
My apologies to all the non Americans who visit this site for asinine comments like that from my fellow countrymen.
Don’t apologize for a person not under your roof. He will get his just desserts soon enough. The right to bear arms comes with great responsibility, namely how, where, and when to use them. Reckless use of a loaded gun usually precedes “conveniently timed train accidents.”
Here we have only rights, it is strange that in some case the plural lesser the subject. I don’t know what I would do with true freedom, perhaps I’m not fit for that, perhaps I would shoot at plastic water bottles with a tactical weapon.
There is an interesting element when you compare U.S., French or Cdn rules for that matter when comes to legal CC (pistols).
From my point of view there is a key difference in perception. While the U.S. system ‘trusts’ individual citizen to take care of his/her personal protection, the other nation’s institutions do not. As if they say “it is not your business to protect you, it is ours”.
They most certainly cannot. One such example is recent wild shooting rampage in Toronto when “mentally depressed” gunman wounded 13 and killed 2 people before the horrible event ended. If ONE of bystanders were legally armed this would have ended lot quicker.
Very true. The problem is that the other countries also do not trust people not to irresponsibly and unintentionally shoot each other. “OH NO I JUST SHOT ALFRED IN THE KNEE!!!” “YOU BLOODY IDIOT!!!” And trying to teach “firearm self defense” just might arm a potential serial killer too, those countries argue. “Let’s live in our picture-perfect world… without shooting poor Alfred in the knee.”
What drives me nuts in canada is the inevitable demands to get these guns off the street! We need new laws! And so on. The guns are already not allowed on the street im sure the criminal didnt have his pal and restricted weapon registration. Otherwise he would have known not to take his gun downtown. Law abiding people do not need gun control and criminals ignore it anyway!
In some places / communities, when we see how fast knives can be pull out for a minor disagreement, we are glad they were not carrying guns.
The key difference you are missing is that in the US, the citizen does not derive his rights from the state; quite the opposite is true. The state derives its powers and rights from the citizen. The US government exists only due to the consent of the citizen. Should we chose to withdraw that consent tomorrow, the government goes away. Or, it will after we kill enough of the conniving bastards who have suborned and corrupted it…
Thus, the American citizen goes armed, if they chose to, completely on their own recognizance. Despite many jurisdictional attempts to circumscribe the ability of the law-abiding citizen to provide for their own defense, the Constitution makes it very clear that such attempts are not legal under that document’s framework.
You phrase it as a question of “the government trusting the citizen”; in our understanding of that relationship, that is utterly backwards from what the truth of the matter should be. It is the difference between being a subject vs. being a citizen; a question of whether you are a free man or a slave. Free men go armed, if they so will. Slaves, universally, do not. They bear arms only with the permission and supervision of their masters.
That is theory – and it sounds nice, but you know that the practice is different. Your government(s) can quash (and it does) any dissent at will. You can resist, if you choose so… but to well known result. Its the state, who sets the limits, not “you the people”. But, of course you are entitled to keep the dream going.
And here we are again…. political crap 🙂
As Denny says “ political crap”. The US government
has put down all kinds of dissent for centuries. The idea
that they’re quivering in fear of an armed citizenry
is delusional nonsense. This kind of rhetoric might sound nice at a militia meeting in the woods but open up a history book and the truth will knock you flat.
thanks Stephen…. it is good public knows the truth.
We, the people 🙂
You know Kirk, in all honesty and at any time before we start to rehearse the mantra about “free people”, we need to establish the term “people”. Who are they? Majority, minority ….or anything between? Ruling class or the subjugated one? Who has got the mandate to claim it? And it may be in U.S., France, Russia or anywhere else.
If you pay attention to events in history, to this very day, you can observe that the centre of struggle is precisely about the definition of term “we the people”. There is a total uncertainty about it for one simple reason: you do not have 2 people fully agreeing on a single step of action. Just watch debates in Senate(s)/ Parliament(s). At the end it is a majority (not always) who dictates the outcome. During and after public elections it is even worse.
“Just watch debates in Senate(s)/ Parliament(s).’
Just watch debates in Congress/ Parliament(s).
Seems to me that in 1934, the NFA was passed. Before then, one could purchase a machine gun, and certainly “labor relations experts” in the form of various “detective agencies” or “gun thugs” if you’d prefer, who worked for factory and mine owners did just that. After WWI, firepower-made-portable assumed the proportions of the poor man’s “scatter gun” with cropped barrel or the reich man’s “Chopper” Thompson gun. One could even have, say, Hyman Lebman, a reputable San Antonio gunsmith, modify a Winchester M1907 with a high-capcity magazine, a Cutts compensator on a shortened barrel, make it select-fire, and add a Thompson front vertical foregrip, “et Voilá / c’est ça!” have an “assault rifle” “avant la lettre.”
recall that the 1934 NFA initially proposed handguns–pistols and revolvers–in its list of “gangster weapons” that would be subject to stricter regulation and higher taxation, but these “non-sporting weapons” were excluded to ensure the law’s passage. Gun control advocates–or “hoplophobes” or authoritarians if you’d prefer–have lobbied against handguns ever since. But since handguns only cause a steady “drip, drip, drip” of casualties in the form of suicides (who could use other means, certainly), tragic negligence (illegal in most U.S. states, but seldom enforced…), and criminal homicides, they have been dropped by such lobby groups and pressure groups in favor of scarier “assault weapons” with detachable magazines, self-loading operation, and typically plastic stock furniture.
While the current debate seethes in “no compromise is possible, all-or-nothing” vituperation, the American political genius of compromise just might belatedly add such self-loading arms–with detachable magazines or without, who knows?–to a revamped NFA Class III list. Just you wait… Then the French categorization scheme–bureaucratic as it is–might just seem relatively straight-forward, no?
Note well that the utterly crummy “Street-sweeper” shotgun was added to the NFA destructive devices list with the stroke of a fountain pen, the import of obsolete SKS carbines from China required merely an Executive Order to halt, and yet the vastly more user-friendly and efficient Saiga Kalashnikov-type shotgun is everywhere available, and the AR15 has been the top selling rifle for nigh a decade… Incoherence in arbitrary laws is certainly not just a French thing, n’est çe pas?
Laws should be framed with more clarity instead of just being framed on a whim like the cherry-picking rules of game story-writing as to which side-quests fit and don’t fit into the canon frame.
Adding to this (I’m translating from official French .gov website here: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/N287 ),
•Handguns and arms converted into handguns not included in the other categories as well as their centerfire munitions
•Shoulder-fired, Semi-Automatic, Center-Fire weapons with a caliber less than 20mm having a magazine capacity greater than 3 shots or equiped with a detachable feeding mechanism not exceeding 11 shots before reloading is required.
•Shoulder-fired, Semi-Automatic, RIM-Fire weapons with a caliber less than 20mm having a magazine capacity greater than 3 shots or equiped with a detachable feeding mechanism not exceeding 31 shots before reloading is required.
•Shoulder-fired, manually loaded weapons with a caliber less than 20mm having a capacity greater than 11 shots but not exceeding 31 before reloading is required.
•Shoulder-Fired firearms with an overall minimum (eg collapsed/folded) length equal or less than 80cm (31.5″) or with a barrel having a length equal or less than 45 cm (17.75″)
•Shoulder-fired, Smoothbore weapons, manually operated or semi-autmatic, with a minimum (ie collapsed/folded) equal or less than 80 cm (31.5″) or having a barrel length equal or less than 60cm (23 ⅔”)
•Shoulder-Fired, Semi-Automatic weapons having the appearance of a fully automatic weapon
•Shoulder-Fired, Pump-Action weapons other than those specifically covered as Class C
•Arms chambered in the following calibers: 7,62 × 39, 5,56 × 45, 5,45 × 39, 12,7 × 99, 14,5 × 114 regardless of their type or system of operation, as well as their (loaded) cartridges, (unloaded) cases, or (unloaded) shells, excepting those classed as category A.
•Armes ou type d’armes présentant des caractéristiques techniques équivalentes classées en catégorie B par arrêté du ministre de l’intérieur et des ministres chargés des douanes et de l’industrie
•Arms or types of arms presenting the equivalent technical characteristics classed in category B as determined by the Minister of the Interior or the ministries of tariffs and industries.
•Munitions à percussion centrale et leurs éléments conçus pour les armes de poing mentionnées au 1° à l’exception de celles classées en catégorie C par un arrêté conjoint du ministre de l’intérieur et des ministres chargés des douanes et de l’industrie
•Centerfire munitions and their elements designed for handguns mentioned in bullet 1 except for those jointly determined by the Minister of the Interior and the ministries of tariffs and industries to fall into category C.
• CATEGORY A1 (FIREARMS):
•Handguns capable of firing more than 21 rounds before reloading with a feeding system containing more than 20 cartridges
•Shoulder-Fired, Semi-Automatic, RIMFIRE weapons with capacity over 31 rounds (magazine capacity over 30 rds), OR FED BY A BELT
•Shoulder-Fired, Semi-Automatic, Centerfire weapons allowing the firing of more than 11 rounds without reloading, with a magazine capacity of greater than 10 rounds, regardless of whether that magazine is fixed (integral) or detachable.
•Shoulder-Fired, Semi-Automatic weapons which are capable of having their overall length reduced to less than 60cm (23 ⅔”) by the folding or collapsing of the stock, or with the aide of a stock which is removable without tools, the removal of which does not render the weapon inoperable.
•Arms converted to semi-automatic (presumably from full-auto, but it doesn’t specify -ed)
•Arms chambered in a caliber greater than 20mm except for those conceived to exclusively fire non metallic projectiles
•Smoothbore firearms and their munitions with a caliber greater than 8 guage, except for those specifically categorized as C or D by law
•Munitions in calibers equal to or greater than 20mm excepting those used for a weapon in category C
•Pistol magazines with capacities greater than 20 rounds
•Shoulder-Fired Rimfire Weapon magazines with a capacity greater than 30 rounds
•Shoulder-Fired Centerfire Weapon magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds
•Firearms camouflaged to look like another object (AOW’s)
•Any arm presenting technically equivalent characteristics
• CATEGORY A2 (WEAPONS OF WAR)
•The keeping or acquisition of the following arms is prohibited, excepting exceptions for certain professional activities
• Materials of war
• Materials destined to bear or use in armed combat
• Materials for the protection against “combat gas”
•The acquisition or keeping of these materials is prohibited to individuals excepting certain professional activities
Although not specifically mentioned, I would assume they intend full auto and belt-fed centerfire to be A2 “materials of war” since they are not mentioned in A1 (yet belt-fed rimfire is).
Also funny that they go after those 5 “military calibers” while not going after 7.62×51, 12.7×108, 7.62x54R, or even 7.62×54 French.
They also describe the categories as such:
Category D: Freely sold
Category C: Subject to declaration
Category B: Subject to Authorisation
Category A: Prohibited except by exemption
Also, For Category A weapons, it states “exemptions can be accorded to certain persons taking into account their professional (for example, court appointed experts), OR SPORTING activities.”
The cutout made for Sporting purposes is defined here
For category A weapons the only specific type it defines a permit available for sporting purposes for is “Shoulder-Fired, Semi-Automatic, Centerfire Arms capable of firing more than 11 rounds without reloading, with integral or detachable magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.”
So this would allow standard or extended capacity magazines for stuff like three gun. It does not differentiate between rifled or smoothbore, so this applies to both shotguns and rifles. Oddly, it only covers centerfire long arms though, so a competitor is still limited to 20 round mags for pistols. It also only covers centerfire, so as far as I can tell there is a way to get a permit for unlimited centerfire magazine capacity, but rimfire is still limited to 30 rounds so you could get a permit to buy a Beta-C or Surefire 60 or whatever, but a Plinker Tactical 35 rd 22lr mag is strictly verbotten.
Anyways, in order to obtain this permit for unrestricted capacity centerfire semi-auto, you must meet 3 conditions:
1. Be an adult or a minor selected to participate in International shooting competitions
2. Medical Certificate
3. Shooting record showing at least 3 controlled shooting practice sessions per year
These aren’t a super high bar to meet. I have no idea how often this particular sporting exemption for category A is applied for or granted. Maybe a Frenchman could chime in?
Lastly, here is Category C
CATEGORY C (Subject to declaration)
•Semi-Automatic longarms (“Shoulder-Fired” in French legalese), Semi-Automatic weapons chambered in a caliber less than 20mm and equipped with a non-detachable feeding mechanism allowing a maximum of 3 shots before reloading
•Manually-loaded firearms chambered in a caliber less than 20mm equipped with feeding mechanisms allowing a maximum of 11 shots before reloading as well as the feeding systems (magazines, clips, etc) for these arms. (Manually loaded means things like bolt, lever, and pump action, but pump action has extra rules for rifled barrels, short barrels, or short o/a lengths)(conspicuously – this bullet does not specify longarm or pistol).
•Longarms of 1 shot per barrel
•Manually operated longarms
•Manually-operated pump-action longarms with rifled barrels chambered in 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36 and .410 Gauge with a maximum capacity of 5 shots, Overall Length greater than 80 cm (31.5″) and barrel length greater than 60 cm (23 ⅔”). Fixed Stock.
•Elements (components) of these arms
•Firearms made to fire a single or multiple non-metallic projectile
•Arms or launchers utilising non-pyrotechnic means of firing but with a muzzle energy of 20 Joules or greater
•Arms or types of arms persenting equivalent characteristics classed in category C by ruling of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministries charged with Tariffs and Industry
•Munitions and munition components specifically classed in category C by a joint ruling of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministries charged with Tariffs and Industry
•Other munitions and elements of munitions for Category C arms
WHO CAN POSSESS CATEGORY C ARMS:
In order to buy a category C arm (including components and munitions thereof), you must satisfy the following conditions:
•Not be listed in the national database of persons prohibited from the acquisition or possession of firearms
•Not have a record of convictions for certain infractions (murder, killing, torture, acts of barbarism, Assault, Rape, Sexual Assault, Drug Trafficking, etc. (it is the prefecture which does the inquiry into your record).
•Not have a comportment which makes one fear that the utilisation of the weapon would be dangerous to yourself or others
•Present a hunting permit (French or foreign) with current annual or temporary validation; or an annual permit from last year; or a current French Shooting Federation License (https://www.fftir.org/fr/accueil); or, starting 1Jan2019, a Collector’s Card
Regardless, the presentation of permits, validations, or collector’s cards is not required for the following arms:
•Firearm created to fire a single or multple no metallic projectile classed as category C
If you find or inherit a category C arm which you do not wish to keep, you are required to transfer or turn in said weapon in 3 months or less.
The 1 January 2019 stuff regarding “collectors cards” pertains to some sort of EU card, not a French one, so I would assume this relates directly to the stuff that Ian was talking to Mr. Stephen Petroni of FESAC about
Whatever it is, it’s illegal and you can’t have it