The rules for the acquisition and possession of weapons were profoundly modified by the law of 6 March 2012. A classification was thus adopted and penalties were increased.
The new classification of firearms
Four categories (A, B, C, D) of weapons were created, instead of the previous 8 categories. While classification was based on the technical characteristics of weapons (weapons of war, protective equipment, weapons, etc.), the new classification is based directly on their dangerousness:
Category A: firearms prohibited from acquisition and possession and war materials;
– Category A1: weapons and ammunition designed for land, naval or air warfare, prohibited from acquisition and detention;
– Category A2: combat gas protection equipment, equipment intended to carry or use firearms in combat.
Category B: firearms subject to authorization for acquisition and detention;
Category C: firearms subject to declaration for acquisition and detention;
Category D: weapons subject to registration for acquisition and possession and weapons and equipment in free detention.
The weapons acquisition and possession regime
The acquisition and possession of A-category weapons (A1 and A2) are not permitted unless the State Council expressly authorizes the authorities (State services, museums …).
Those of categories B and C are possible only in the absence of a sentence of imprisonment with or without suspension of more than three months appearing in bulletin n ° 2 of the criminal record.
The acquisition and possession of category B weapons are only possible under the following two cumulative conditions:
Presenting a copy of a valid shooting license;
The production of a medical certificate of less than one month attesting to a physical and psychological state of health compatible with the acquisition and possession of a weapon.
As regards category C weapons, their acquisition is subject to the presentation of the medical certificate, a hunting permit bearing the validation of the year in question.
The penalties for perpetrators of weapons trafficking are increased. Henceforth traffickers risk seven years in prison and a fine of $100,000 or even ten years in prison and a fine of $500,000 if the acts are committed in organized gangs.
Historical and Collectible Weapons
They include weapons whose model is prior to January 1, 1900, except where they present a known danger. In this case, they shall have been rendered incapable of firing by the application of technical processes approved by the public authorities and of such a nature as to ensure their neutralization.
Historical and collectable weapons are also considered “weapons whose model is after 1 January 1900 and which are listed in a joint decree of the Ministers of the Interior and the Defense in view of their cultural, historical or scientific interest “.
A 1995 Order provides a list of 74 weapons classified as historic and collectable weapons: 17 of them are after 1900. This list will be updated as weapons become obsolete.
Creating a weapon collector status
The law provides that “natural or legal persons may, at their request, be recognized as collectors of firearms by virtue of an authorization issued by the representative of the State in the department of their place of residence “.
This status gives rise to the establishment of a collector’s card on which are inscribed the weapons held by its holder. The collector card may only be issued if a medical certificate attests that the physical and mental health of the applicant is compatible with the acquisition of a weapon and that if the applicant justifies having been made aware of the safety rules in the Field of arms.
The collector card does not give rise to the possession of operational ammunition and the cardholders must respect certain measures to prevent theft of the collection if the latter is qualitatively and quantitatively important.