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Was possession of weapons prohibited, encouraged, allowed to members of some organizations, or what?

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As @Nathan Cooper indicated, under Hitler, most of the civil weapons legislation was not actually Hitler's - he inherited strong gun control laws from Weimar Republic (aside from total prohibition for the Jews since 1938).

However, the laws were written in a way that allowed pretty much unlimited restrictions and limitations by people in power, within the framework of that legislation:

  • Guns were required to have serial numbers
  • anybody owning one without a serial number had to have one stamped on it.
  • Permitting was mostly left up to the police.
  • Permits were only given to people of "undoubted reliability" who demonstrated a "need" for a gun (Hello from New York City).

Note the laxensess of definitions. The last bullet point was such that pretty much anyone you didn't want to have a gun wouldn't have one.

A very detailed discussion is in the second half of the Straight Dope article here (the first half was mostly devoted to debunking an infamous Hitler's gun control "quote").

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What that was in practice? Were civil weapons widespread or rare? – Anixx Dec 24 '12 at 4:00

They had very strict gun laws from the Weimar government, that were made even tougher in 1938. There were the expected limitations on Jewish ownership and a requirement for "trustworthyness" (ie not opponents of the regime).

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I do not know the background. Did they permit private ownership or not? And under what conditions? – Anixx Dec 22 '12 at 23:31

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