In medieval times, the nobility had the right to freely posses arms, and actually it almost had to, since fighting was part of its duties.

When firearms where introduced, AFAIK they were not immediately banned; instead, purchasing and possessing them was just as allowed as purchasing or possessing swords.

Fast forward to nowadays, and in Europe generally possessing firearms (sometimes also even crossbows) requires permits, which are more or less tedious to obtain.

When did most European countries enforce this law?

  • 3
    I'm not sure this is a single event. For example, Britain's first gun control laws were introduced after WW1 and gradually extended over the next eighty or so years to be an almost complete ban.
    – Steve Bird
    Dec 28 '16 at 19:51
  • 2
    You mention the nobility had the right to freely posses arms and asks for limit citizens’ rights to possess weaponry. So inside your question you are changing the definition of the weapons owner. Maybe the change is less the right for weapons, but the definition of the relevant group?
    – knut
    Dec 28 '16 at 21:04
  • And in a lot of countries the laws were seriously affected by WW2 both in their wording and enforcement. Both the German and allied occupation forces disarmed the general population to quell potential rebellion, in some cases in spite of the civil laws in effect at the time, laws that were more often than not afterwards brought in line with the now de-facto ban.
    – jwenting
    Dec 29 '16 at 10:17
  • Something to do with it being a stupid idea for increasingly urban people to have lots of increasingly deadly firearms. Weird!
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 29 '16 at 10:36
  • While agreeing with most comments, I would search (like @NeMo points) to the Industrial Revolution forward, because: a) cheaper weapons, b) better weapons, c) more urban population = less hunting weapons and d) poor living conditions & more urban population = more risk of revolution.
    – SJuan76
    Dec 29 '16 at 11:33

The question is too broad because: a) there are too many European countries and all had very different laws until recently.

b) as you noticed yourself, the right to carry weapons was most of the time restricted to certain classes of society.

c) there are many kinds of weapons.

d) requiring permits/registration is very different from prohibition.

  • 2
    and still... While laws are becoming more homogenised, they're certainly far from identical between nations.
    – jwenting
    Dec 29 '16 at 10:14

Regarding Russia it was after the Civil War, so after WWI.

  • More precisely: after October revolution.
    – Alex
    Dec 29 '16 at 12:38
  • @Alex, Anixx, nope. The question is about when the state policy regarded firearms was shifted from ‘allowed by default’ to ’prohibited by default and requires a special permission’. That happens a decade earlier — after the First Russian revolution of 1905. Dec 30 '16 at 18:23

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