Everyone in Germany who wants to carry irritant and signal weapons or a deterrent pistol, needs a so-called small arms license. So far there are no stipulations for the purchase of such weapons and for storage at home no firearm license is required.
According to a survey by the editorial network Germany (RND) in the interior ministries of the 16 federal states, a total of 599,940 small weapons licenses were registered at the end of October 2018. That's an increase of around 130 percent since 2014. The trend is continuing to rise this year: at the end of 2017, the number of small firearms stored in the National Arms Register was 557.560.
As a possible reason for the increased interest in the entitlements in recent years, the fear of terrorist attacks, burglars and open violence on the street have been suspected. However, the real threats have declined in recent years. The current crime statistics show that Germany is as safe as it has been for a quarter of a century.
The deputy federal chairman of the union of the police, Jörg Radek, responded with concern: "There is a danger that weapons are not used properly and their owners endanger themselves."
The small gun license was introduced in 2003 - in the wake of the weapons law amendment after the rampage of Erfurt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erfurt_school_massacre). Anyone who possesses such a license may carry flares, signal and irritant weapons concealed, but only use them in an emergency.