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German government stops Americans from registering firearms

By MARK PATTON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 15, 2010

WIESBADEN, Germany — Americans are unable to register privately owned firearms in Germany after the German government halted the program recently.

Problems began a couple of months ago when Installation Management Command officials in Europe moved the person responsible for signing certificates needed to purchase and register weapons from Munich to Grafenwöhr.

“That wasn’t perceived by us to be a change to the program, but the Germans did,” said Dan Gasparino, IMCOM-Europe’s chief of recreation branch. “Where that individual sits is really irrelevant, our perspective is we haven’t changed anything.”

Officials at the German Federal Office of Administration did not respond to queries on the subject.

IMCOM officials in Europe have sent a request to the German government for a meeting to sort things out, but they say no date has been set.

“I think this meeting will straighten this out,” said Dan Gasparino, IMCOM-Europe’s chief of recreation branch

The issue “has brought the sports shooting program to a standstill,” said Ed Puterbaugh, assistant manager of the Heidelberg Rod and Gun Club.

Hembrook said he now has to use his hunting weapons for sport shooting competitions, because he can’t purchase a competition pistol. He’s not alone.

According to IMCOM, there are 2,331 firearms registered to 483 authorized U.S. personnel in Germany. The Registry of Motor Vehicles Weapons section puts the number of firearms at 2,841.

Anyone moving to Germany in the near future will be unable to bring their firearms with them. Army regulations say import permits are needed before weapons can be brought into Germany. According to German law, a person who illegally owns a gun can be imprisoned up to three years or be punished with a fine.

pattonm@estripes.osd.mil