Gun laws in France

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In France, to buy a weapon, in line with the European Firearms Directive, a hunting licence or a shooting sport licence is necessary depending on the type, function and magazine capacity of the weapon.

Firearms classification[edit]

As of September 2015, classification has been simplified to 4 categories:[1]

  • Category A:
    • Category A1: Firearms disguised as another object, firearms with fully automatic fire capacities, firearms of a caliber greater than 20mm, handgun magazine with a capacity greater than 20 rounds, and rifles or shotguns magazine with a capacity greater than 31 rounds. There is an exception for magazine capacity for IPSC (TSV in French) shooter with a certificate of the shooting range were they are registered.
    • Category A2: military material, material to transport or use weapons in combat and combat-gas protection.
    • Category A11: semi-automatic rifle shorter than 60cm with the stock detached or folded.
    • Category A12: semi-automatic rifle converted from automatic to semi-automatic.
  • Category B:
    • Category B1: Handguns with a capacity of 20 rounds or fewer, also include revolver.
    • Category B2: Manually operated long guns with a capacity between 11 and 31 rounds, semi-automatic long guns with a capacity between 3 and 31 rounds and smooth bore pump-action shotgun.
    • Category B4: Any firearm chambered for the following calibers: 7.62×39mm; 5.56×45mm NATO; 5.45×39mm; .50 BMG; 14.5×114mm.
    • Category B5: Any registered parts of all b categorized firearms such as bolt, barrel, silencer, magazine, etc .
    • Category B6, B7, B8: Specific weapon for riot and order control (not available to civilians).
  • Category C: Manual operation long guns with a capacity of 11 rounds or less, semi-automatic long guns with a capacity of 3 rounds or less.
  • Category D: Pepper spray, canne fusil, blank guns, black powder guns, deactivated guns and guns with a brevet older than the first January 1900 (with some exceptions), weapon that shoot projectile In a not pyrotechnic way between 2 and 20 joules and anything use or planned to be used as a weapon.


Individuals cannot own more than 12 B categorized firearms, cannot own more than 10 magazines for a given weapon and store more than 1000 rounds per caliber.

Ammunition Classification[edit]

Any handgun ammunition is classified as B, for example someone who owns a lever action carbine in C category chamber for .357 magnum needs to have a B categorized weapon to be able to buy .357 magnum ammunition.

Some exception exist for calibers like in c-6° category.

  • Category B: quota of 2000 rounds per year with a maximum of 1000 in stock, you need an id card or resident card and the authorization of ownership to buy those ammunitions.
    • 7.62x39
    • 5.56x45 (.223 Remington)
    • 5.45x39 Russian
    • 12.7x99
    • 14.5x114
  • Category C-6°: maximum of 1000 in stock, you need an id card or resident card and the acknowledgment of receipt of ownership to buy those ammunitions.
    • 25-20 Winchester (6.35x34 R)
    • 32-20 Winchester (8x33 Winchester) or 32-20-115
    • 38-40 Remington (10.1x33 Winchester)
    • 44-40 Winchester ou 44-40-200
    • .44 Remington magnum
    • .45 Colt or .45 long Colt
  • Category C-7°: maximum of 1000 in stock, you need an ID card or resident card and a hunting licence or a shooting licence and the acknowledgment of receipt of ownership to buy those ammunitions.
    • 7.5x54 MAS
    • 7.5x55 Swiss
    • .30 M1 (7.62x33)
    • 7.62x51 NATO or .308 Winchester
    • 7.92x57 Mauser or 7.92x57 JS or 8x57 J or 8x57 JS or 8mm Mauser
    • 7.62x54 R or 7.62x54 Mosin Nagant
    • 7.62x63 or 30.06 Springfield
    • .303 British or 7.7x56
  • Category C-8°: You need an ID card or resident card and a hunting licence or a shooting licence to buy those ammunitions.
    • Auther rifle munition (Ex : 7x64, 9.3x62...)
  • Category D-1°: You need an ID card or resident card and a hunting licence or a shooting licence to buy those ammunitions. Since August 1st 2018 D1 weapon became C categorized.
  • Category D-2°: You need an ID card or resident card and must at least 18 years old with the exception of sportive shooters over 12, for whom a written parental authorisation must be written.

Since August 1st 2018 D2 ammunition became D.

Storage[edit]

  • Category A: Firearms, ammunition and registered firearms parts have to be stored in a gun safe.
  • Category B: Firearms, ammunition and registered firearms parts have to be stored in a gun safe.
  • Category C: Firearms and ammunition can be stored in a safe or ammunition have to be stored without giving easy access and firearms (unloaded) have to be stored in a way that they can't use immediately, by using a lock or have them attached to a wall for example.
  • Category D:
    • Category D1: Firearms and ammunition can be stored in a safe or ammunition have to be stored without giving easy access and firearms(unloaded) have to be stored in a way that they can't be used immediately, by using a lock or have them attached to a wall for example. Since August 1st 2018 D1 weapon became C categorized.
    • Category D2: No Storage restriction.

Ownership and purchase conditions[edit]

  • Category D requires the owner to be older than 18.
  • Category C requires the owner to be older than 18, have hunting, shooting or ball-trap licence of the current year stamped by a doctor.
  • Category B requires the owner to be older than 18, be affiliated with a shooting range, have attended at least 3 shooting sessions with an instructor, and have a medical certificate. The shooter then receives a 5-year authorization to purchase and own of Category B firearms (and therefore Category C firearms since they are affiliated with a shooting range).
  • Category A11 and A12 purchase not allowed since August 1st 2018, for gun ownership before it's same requirement as Category B.

No civilian may carry any weapons in a public place. A special form allows a civilian to apply for a 1 year carry license, which allows them to carry a handgun and a maximum of 50 rounds if they are "exposed to exceptional risks to their life". In practice, such authorizations are rare.

Exceptions exist for children and teenagers with a shooting or ball-trap license and parental approval. A child between 9yo and 12yo can own D categorized weapon that shoot projectile In a not pyrotechnic way between 2 and 20 joules. A teenager between 12yo and 16yo can own C and D categorized weapons. They can also own one shot, rimfire Category B firearms if they participate in international shooting competitions (only with a shooting licence).

A shooter between the ages of 16yo and 18yo that have a shooting, hunting or ball-trap licence can own C and D categorized weapons. They can also own Category B firearms if they participate in international shooting competitions(only with a shooting licence).

Carrying a gun is defined as having a gun by your side on a public place ready to use. Transporting a gun is defined as having an unloaded, locked or disassembled gun and having a legitimate reason (personal defence don't work) on a public place. A legitimate reason to transport a firearm is a legal document like a hunting, shooting, collector or ball-trap licence. hunting, collector and ball-trap licence only work for D and C categorized weapon transportation. A shooting licence work for A, B, C and D categorized weapons.

Showing a firearm in public to scare people can be a charge of public disorder.


Since the November 2015 Paris attacks, police officers are allowed to carry their service firearms while off duty.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Armes" [Arms] (in French). Direction de l'information légale et administrative. Retrieved 2016-09-06.