Shooting in France Forum reopened - click here for the shooting in France forum
NEW FRENCH FIREARMS LAW FROM JANUARY 2006:
22lr bolt action rifles require either a hunting license or a target shooting license to purchase. Purchasing of ammunition should now also require relevant paperwork! This is also the case for the not so interesting 9mm garden guns. Ammunition now also requires membership of either a chasse or a gun club in France. However some shops are still selling ammunition without checking your membership etc.
To find a gun club in France near to you try this link: http://www.fftir.asso.fr/ there is a box on the right hand side that allows you to search for a gun club in France by department etc.
OK folks here’s the ‘definitive guide’ to the acquisition of legal firearms in France…but don’t shoot me if I get it wrong. I’d better add that it’s taken a while to get the hang of this subject and my French is not perfect so errors maybe included in this text.…..
Firearms are divided into categories here in France I’m not so sure on the hunting legislation for the retention of firearms, so I’ll stick to what I know best: Target shooting.
Paperwork involved in ownership of firearms in France.
The easiest firearms to buy here are 7th category firearms which include bolt action .22lr rifles and black powder pistols (possibly black powder rifles as well not sure). To buy these all you have to have is proof of your address and identity. The Cart de Sejour covers all this perfectly.
To buy anything else for target shooting you’ll have to join the ‘Federation Francaise De Tir’ which normally involves joining a local target shooting club as well all in for under 100 Euros. This gives you access to the club range and insurance, plus most importantly the ability to buy category 5 firearms which are: rifles that are not self loading and are not military calibres. This happens very quickly, that is you can join the federation and buy a rifle at the same time. With this membership you can also buy shotguns because clay pigeon shooting is of course not hunting but target shooting.
One prerequisite is that you'll have to have an address in France, this could be a rented property, but normally this would be your own house. The best place to find Brittany Property for sale is: www.brittany-property-direct.com
If you want to buy hand guns and or self loading weapons (these are in categories 4 and 1) then you’ll have to get a carnet de tir. This is simply a log book which you must get stamped at your club every two months as proof that you go shooting and are seen by the other club members.
After you’ve collected 3 stamps (6 months) you can then complete a green piece of paper from your club called ‘Avis Preable’ which is signed by the regional president confirms that they think you are OK to buy some more interesting firearms.
With the ‘Avis Preable’ you can get another piece of paper called something along the lines of ‘Demand de la retention des arms’ I got mine from the Gendarmerie who also helped me fill it in and sent off the copies to the Prefecture for me. This paper is filled in requesting a specific calibre weapon and describing if it’s self loading pistol/revolver or rifle etc…You also have to take copies of your Carnet d Tir with it’s three stamps, a copy of your Federation Francais de Tir membership card, the ‘Avis Preable’ and a receipt or photograph of your gun cabinet.
After a few weeks I had a visit from the Gendarmes with my approved demand de la retention des arms, which allowed me to buy the specified type of arm. For each firearm you will have to complete one of these demands. The demand is only valid for three months when it comes back so you have to go shopping!
Firearm categories in France:
1 Self loading rifles, Self loading pistols, Pistols/Rifles that are a military calibre.
4 Revolvers of non military calibres, self loading 22lr pistols and rifles.
5 Rifles not self loading of non military calibres.
8 Deactivated firearms.
Firearm Calibres Classified as Military in France
7.62mm, 9mm, .303 British, .45, .50 The classification is not based on power it is simply on the fact that a specific calibre has been deemed a military one. This list isn't quite complete but covers most of the popular choices. All of these calibres are categorised as 1st Category in France.
Buying Ammunition in France & Reloading
Apart from 22lr where there are no limits, no ID required (possibly an age limit though) all other calibres of ammunition firstly require the owner to have the relevant paperwork for the calibre and secondly you are limited to 1000 rounds per annum per gun. This means that reloading is very popular/essential. The limit also applies to empty cartridges as well (I think) but once you have them there is no limit to powder/bullets or caps. ASFAIK to buy reloading powders, bullets and caps doesn't require the permit but to buy cases does. With the Permit de la retention des arms you have a section which is stamped whenever you buy new ammunition or cases, therefore limiting you to 1000 rounds per annum.
Out of interest if you want to own a tank and take it target shooting these are in category 2 and there are firing ranges around for these but not in Brittany! When not going to the range the firing mechanism must be handed into the Gendarmerie for safe keeping.
Your local gun shop should be able to provide information/membership help etc…
AFAIK the above is correct, sorry if I’ve missed anything out/made errors but hope it’s helpful. If you want to make corrections/additions etc email firstname.lastname@example.org