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Ownership of firearms in Spain?

The Legislation on the use and ownership of firearms in Spain is probably one of the most restrictive in Europe. This is included in the Spanish constitution under article 149.26 where it is said that the Spanish government has exclusive competence control over production, sale, possession and use of firearms and explosives.

Spanish law, except in specific cases determined by Spanish authorities (mostly related to security forces or people in a situation of grave danger), considers the use of weapons only for Olympic shooting and other official shooting sports or hunting.

The possession of machine guns, submachine guns and any other kind of automatic weapons is strictly forbidden except for military personnel and elite police forces only within the context of their missions.

Can I obtain a licence for firearms?

In order to have a license for firearms you have to be of age and pass a theory exam and a psychological examination. You will have to store the weapons in a safe intended for this use.

There are several licenses available:

  • Licence A: All kinds of weapons except automatic and war weapons. This license is exclusive for members of the state and the security forces.
  • Licence B: Self defence, allowing the possession and use of handguns under special government authorisation.
  • Licence C: Ownership and possession of handguns in the context of private security duties.
  • Licence D: Licence specifically intended for big-game hunting allowing the use of rifles and multifunction shotguns.
  • Licence E: License specifically intended for small-game hunting (game no bigger than a fox), including shotguns.
  • Licence F: Focused on the use and possession of sport weapons and Olympic shooting sports, including pistols and carbines.
  • Licence AE: For muzzleloader weapons, specifically for collectors (if the weapons are in working conditions).
  • License AEM (Autorización especial de Menores, special authorization for minors): License for minors intended as a preparation for license F. This license is difficult to obtain, and regulate the strict supervision of the minor using the weapons.

How can I buy or sell a weapon?

Once the license is obtained, a weapon can be purchased in an armoury, nevertheless the purchaser cannot walk away with the new weapon. The armoury will have to send it to the new owner address using a specialized transport company.

Weapons can be sold to another person with a legitimate licence. The sale will have to be authorised and supervised by the Guardia Civil. After filling the forms and receiving the authorisations the seller will surrender the arm to the Guardia Civil. The buyer will then fetch collect it on the Guardia Civil premises.

Weapons can be lent to another person for a maximum time of 15 days provided that a form is filed at the Guardia Civil and the other person has the necessary licenses.

Can I use a firearm for self-defence?

Security professionals during their servicewhile working are allowed to use their calibre 38 handguns within a specific mission (they are not allowed to use any other weapon) and only for self-defence.

A private person can use a firearm only for hunting or for sport shooting. In very specific cases (people under threat or security officials) the government can authorise the use of a handgun for self-defence.

There are many cases of people with a license for sport or hunting, that after have used their weapon in acase of self-defence and then were sentenced for illegal use of firearms.