The (ridiculous) weapon laws of the Netherlands

in guns •  3 years ago  (edited)

Being a firearm enthusiast and being born in Dutch society don't go hand in hand. The Netherlands is one of the most strict countries when it comes to firearm ownership. Owning firearms is considered a privilege and not a right, and it's restricted to law enforcement, hunters and target-shooters.

Shooting club in the Netherlands.

If you want to own a gun you need to give a valid reason to the police. This must either be hunting or target-shooting. If you say self-defense, you won't be permitted a license. Using a gun to deter non-armed intruders is also a violation of the law and will get you in trouble in court. However, If the intruder is armed with a gun, you are allowed to fire back.

If you want to hunt with a gun you need to obtain a hunting license, which you'll get after passing a hunters safety course. For target-shooting, you need to be a member of a shooting club for at least a year before you can get your own .22 caliber firearm. Higher calibers can only be achieved by being a member of the regulated shooting club for multiple years. But once you're there, most semi-automatics, handguns, and magazines of all sizes are legal, as are most types of ammunition. However, fully automatic firearms are banned, and you can only have a total of 5 guns per person. Once not in use, guns must be stored in a safe. If you want to take your gun to the shooting club, you need to take your paperwork and license with you and the gun must be carried in a good case, and it must be disassembled so you can't use it out of the box. Open carry or concealed carry is absolutely forbidden. If you violate any of these laws, you're license and firearms will likely be confiscated by law enforcement.

A .22 Ruger that you are allowed to own after a 1 year shooting club membership.

If you want to apply for a gun, you need to have a perfectly clean track record. Any history of felonies, mental illness or addictions will get your submission turned down. Once you do have your license, your name and status will be submitted into the law enforcement agency, so the government keeps track of all who own guns, and annual checks by police to see if you are still allowed to own firearms may apply.

Type of gun safe you will need when the police comes to inspect.

Even the laws for owning airsoft guns are very strict. If you want to own an airsoft gun, you need to be 18 years or older and a member of an airsoft association approved by the National Dutch Airsoft Association. You also need to have a clean track record and if you want to transport airsoft 'weapons' they need to be carried in a case.

Owning pepperspray in the Netherlands is illegal and you're not allowed to carry it. Carrying any knife or weapon in public for self-defense is also illegal.

Now what weapons are allowed without a license in the Netherlands? Surprisingly, you can own a bow, crossbow or pellet rifle not resembling a mainstream gun, without any license. But only if you're 18 years or older when it comes to the latter two, and either can only be used on your own property or at a shooting club/dedicated range.

Type of pellet rifle that is legal to own without any license, but can only be shot on your own property or at a range.

The Netherlands has a total population exceeding 17 million and only about 200 000 legal firearms are registered. That's 1 firearm per 85 people. As a result, the Netherlands ranks on the 107th place when it comes to gun crimes, and you're about 20 times less likely to be involved in a gun crime in the Netherlands than in the USA.

What do you think about the weapon laws in the Netherlands? Do you disagree or agree with them? Let me know!


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I am very happy about these strict laws.

you're about 20 times less likely to be involved in a gun crime in the Netherlands than in the USA.

This says enough for me. I feel a lot safer walking outside or in the city, knowing most people won't be carrying weapons. People cannot be trusted with these things in such a densely populated area. Accidents can happen, but even more so: what about hot-heads? Not all people can think rationally and I would not want to risk having a gun aimed at me, just because I accidentally walked into someone (so to speak).

Even if I'd not be involved at all, I wouldn't very much like to see a fight escalating to the point where people started pulling guns. Fights are much easier stopped by a crowd when people just use their fists and they are less likely to end in fatality.

U.S. Gun crimes are overblown. If you don't travel to CHICAGO, ATLANTA, DETROIT, or BALTIMORE you effectively eliminate any odds of being even 5 miles from a shooting. I live in a county with the HIGHEST PER CAPITA issuance of concealed carry permits and work in public safety - guess what - we have nearly 0% gun crime. 0 - zero. If you take suicides and gangs out of the numbers guns are safer than your bathtub. Rifles kill less than 300 people a year - ACCIDENTS mostly, and pistols are literally all dirt bags and gang bangers. Firearms are inanimate objects. Laws cannot guarantee your safety. They banned drugs and yet they are everywhere. The anti-gun mindset is rooted in illogical ideals based on false realities. It will never win and never work.

I assume most Dutch people are happy about the laws. Gun enthusiasts (like me) are by vast the minority.
I understand that strict laws are good with a densely populated country like ours, but I do think they're a little bit too strict. I'd love to see regulations cut down on bolt action rifles, which in my opinion should be free to own if you own other property (like a house or land). Of course different rules should apply to metro poles or cities.

My main reason for increasing gun ownership is clear, it keeps the government in check and it gives power back to the people.

Of course, I don't believe regulations are going to be removed any time soon, larger chance is they're going to be increased. I'll be happy if they don't touch current legislation on pellet guns, which is quite lax. The best solution for me, is ofc to move to a more gun friendly and less densely populated country, like North America or even to Scandinavia, Switzerland or the Czech Republic.

And yet, violent crime has plummeted by about 50% across the board in the US over the past 30 years despite the relaxation of carry restrictions, the sunset of the Clinton Ban on Scary-Looking Guns, and the continued sale of firearms. Blaming gun ownership misdiagnoses the problem and results in a false prescription to cure it.

Oh I agree. If you trust people with driving a 2 ton vehicle 80 mph than you should also trust them owning a firearm. Both items ask for big responsibility and sanity. Banning one but not the other would be hypocritical and irrational.

I was glad today to be able to carry a gun. I wore a pistol when I went outside to investigate some stray dogs roaming the neighborhood. Had they been aggressive, I would have been able to defend myself. Since they were not aggressive, I had no need of it, but who is to say beforehand what the situation would have been?

Here in the Netherlands I am by far the minority who promotes gun ownership. Even our so called "classical / liberal " parties don't promote it, there's only 1 party that wants to make the rules a little more lax but they're very small. There's an irrational fear for guns around here and an irrational trust in the authorities. It all started in the 1960s and on wards with the creation of the nanny state, and there's deeper rooted problem behind this but I can't tell as that would be very controversial, but that hasn't just affected us but the whole of the West.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

When I read your article, I thought you were talking about Brazil. Then I realized it was Netherlands haha

The laws are very similar to the ones in my country and honestly, this is ridiculous. The State denies the basic right of self-defence to the regular and law abiding citizen.

Its not about safety concerns, but about control, where all arms belong to the State and its armed forces, so if a status quo wants to be forced upon the population, how will one defend oneself without a weapon?

The line on gun crimes doesn't really constitute any rational point, though. Overall crime rates are what matter.

Saying that crime drops when there is less gun ownership is absolute nonsense. Sure, some parts of the United States where firearms are allowed are quite dangerous, but there are enough countries that are way more dangerous while not allowing firearms. Just look at Central American countries for example. Firearms aren't allowed over there but the homocide rate is through the roof.
On the other hand, there are also parts of the world where firearms are allowed, but crime rates are very low, such as New Hampshire (US), Switzerland or Iceland.
I'm Dutch and I'm all for gun ownership for people that do no harm to others. It really annoys me at times that people have this irrational fear for inanimate objects like guns, all the while they are totally fine riding a bicycle with no protection of any sort and risking getting run over by the same hypothetical psychopaths who could have used a gun to achieve the same objective: killing them. Be bloody consistent.

That kind of sucks, especially as I am paranoid I wouldn't trust to sleep relaxingly anywhere in the world...