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Old January 24, 2017, 04:45 PM   #1
rshaw
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Owning and Using Firearms in the Netherlands

Hi All,
I have just found this forum and find it a very positive and informative source of just about everything pertaining to firearms.

I am an American, having grown up with firearms since I was very young, and now live in Europe for about 30 years.

One thing I miss about the US is the 2nd Amendment sentiment, and the relative freedom one has to own and operate firearms.. Here below a summary of firearm regulations in the Netherlands- for your reading enjoyment

First of all, owning and shooting a firearm in the Netherlands is seen as a privilege, rather than as a basic right (as in the US.)

No person younger than 18 is legally allowed to own a gun.
No person with a criminal record is legally allowed to own a gun.
No person without a permit may own, transport, concealed carry, open carry, keep on private property, buy or sell either firearms or ammunition.

To enter the world of sportshooting (hunting is a separate topic- I won't comment on that here) one would do the following:

One registers at an accredited shooting club (called a "schietvereniging") in which one may practice under supervision at a range using firearms and ammunition owned and stored by the club. A "Certificate of Good Conduct" (VOG) must be requested by the new club member at the town hall, and be sumbitted to the club. With the VOG, and 3 months of practise under club supervision, one normally then becomes a full club member. After an additional 12 months active membership, and with the recommendation of the club, one can apply to local police for a gun permit. ("Active membership" is proven by having shot at the range at least 18 times during the 12 month full membership period- one carries a "schietregister" in which the signature of the club secretary and club stamp are used to record each shooting session.)

To actually obtain your permit, you must do the following:
- submit a passport photo
- fill out several forms with the help of the club secretary
- go through a more exhaustive background check by police
- obtain 2 safes approved for storing firearm and ammo separately
- secure the safes to the wall or floor with at least 2 bolts
- pass a visit by police to your residence to verify your safes are properly installed and in order.
- arrange to obtain 1 firearm (max 22 cal) which will be registered with your permit (One cannot have a permit without at least one firearm to go with it.)
- go to the police station and pick up your permit- (They call you)
- pick up the firearm registed with your permit

Once you have your permit, you are able to:
- own, store, and transport the firearm registered with your permit
- buy / own only the ammunition suited for that firearm
- transport your unloaded firearm and ammo in separate containers, at least one container under lock and key using the shortest route to either gunsmith or shooting range.
- transport unloaded magazines with your firearm.

With this permit you can shoot as aften as you like in any range in the Netherlands, recording each shooting session as mentioned above. When transporting your firearm and / or ammo, one must have the original permit with the gun or ammo. (like driving a car- you need to have a driver's license on your person when driving.)

After 12 months with the above-described permit, and at least 18 shooting sessions, the permit can be extended; you are then allowed to own a maximum of 5 firearms up to but not larger than 9 mm.

After another 12 months, you can then obtain up to 45 caliber arms and ammunition; max remains at 5.

If you have a collector's permit, you may own more than 5 firearms; but you are not allowed to use a collector's piece on the range unless it is included on your permit.

Hope this was interesting for those of you who are curious about how it works in Europe (Netherlands). Other countries of course have different regulations. Germany is similar, and Belgium is considerably more relaxed. I don't know right now how other European countries operate.

Cheers,
RShaw
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Old January 24, 2017, 09:12 PM   #2
Nathan
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Thank you for the explanation. That seems brutal!

How do prices compare to online US gun prices you see?

There are some in America that call those "common sense" gun laws.

Are suppressors allowed? Short barreled rifles? Full auto?
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Old January 25, 2017, 12:19 PM   #3
rshaw
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Hi Nathan,

In general, prices in the US seem a bit higher than those here, but there are so many factors which come into play that it's hard to generalize. That statement is made with Lugers WWI and WWII, and P38's same period since these guns have been my recent focus. Would really have to look at very similar firearms offered for sale in the same manner in the US and in EU to put some numbers to your question.

Suppressors- have never seen them on a range here, need to check that one
Same for short barreled rifles.
Full auto is for sure not allowed here at all, nor in Germany and Belgium as far as I know. Even semi-auto's are now under scrutiny- to limit magazine capacity from the present 10 to an even lower number.

There is a lot of interest in black powder here in Limburg in the south of the Netherlands, and several certified gun clubs each with it's own culture and flavor. But the freedom to be had in the US is simply not the same here.....
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Old January 25, 2017, 01:13 PM   #4
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Interesting and I thank you

I find your post to be interesting to say the least and although I have some personal views, will not judge their judgement. I have often wondered about the gun control laws, in other countries and you have covered yours well. ..

Quote:
There is a lot of interest in black powder here in Limburg in the south of the Netherlands, and several certified gun clubs each with it's own culture and flavor
I am a Hunter Safety instructor as well as muzzleloader instructor. Are the laws any different when it comes to muzzleloaders? Also, do you have a Hunter Safety program, in place and any association with the IHEA? Welcome aboard and looking for ward to your future postings and replies. ......

Quote:
each with it's own culture and flavor.
Can you elaborate on this? ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 25, 2017, 04:53 PM   #5
rshaw
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Hi Pahoo,
Thanks for your comments, and your questions!

Re. Hunter Safety Program- yes we do have such a program, although since I don't know the particulars of the US version, I cannot make a comparison here. To hunt here in NL, one needs of course a permit for the proper firearm, and a separate license to hunt. To obtain a hunting license, one needs to pass a Hunter Safety Course, and then a marksmanship test. The course is comprehensive, and takes a few weeks... When hunting, one needs to report to police when one is going out, and for what kind of game one is pursuing. I had a chat with a customer at our LGS who was in the middle of the course, and she was very pleased when she passed the course and marksmanship evaluation. That's the only reason I know even this much!

Have to look up muzzle loading rules... I do not know what the IHEA is

I know of three clubs in my area- #1, 2 indoor range. #3 both in and outdoor

The first #1, has a small, older range, with many locals who all know each other well- about 40 members, 15 or so of whom shoot regularly, and whom I know pretty well now. Of this club I am a member now since April 2015.

The second #2, is much larger (160 mmbers) with a very nice range- electric target reels so one doesn't have to enter the target area at all. More than 2x the expense of the first, and the people come from a much wider area. A wider range of firearms is represented, and several collectors here as well.

The third, #3, is far more oriented toward competitions and family outings- they have black powder competitions, they bring in people to demonstrate their special firearms, and promote the sport much more than the first two. This one requires far more participation to keep up the in and outdoor range to keep the costs down. More a family group.

Hope this gives you a feel of how it works here...... I would be interested in your views regarding the gun laws here.....
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Old January 25, 2017, 09:46 PM   #6
Armed_Chicagoan
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I don't get the logic at all behind only being allowed to shoot 5 guns, even if you are a collector and have more.
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Old January 25, 2017, 11:26 PM   #7
rshaw
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I don't fully understand it either. I do miss that freedom in the US. Many gun enthusiasts here seem frustrated with the slowly increasing restrictions anticipated in the coming years. There is a continuous tug of war between the KNSA (like the NRA) defending the basic position that penalizing sport shooters and collectors for the lawless deeds of a few is unfair and ineffective and the efforts of a far away Brussels to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks.

We can still go to the range though, and shoot a few boxes with a friend in relative freedom. And enjoy other collectors' favorite pieces and swap stories over a beer.
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Old January 26, 2017, 05:14 PM   #8
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Tell your Dutch friends this is the way it is in Texas:

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Old January 26, 2017, 08:57 PM   #9
Pahoo
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A big difference !!!

Quote:
To obtain a hunting license, one needs to pass a Hunter Safety Course, and then a marksmanship test. The course is comprehensive, and takes a few weeks... When hunting, one needs to report to police when one is going out, and for what kind of game one is pursuing
Interesting as our course is 12-hrs. duration, broken up into two sessions. We don't have to notify any authority on what weapon we intend on using or what game you intend to hunt. The type of firearm you use, in defined in the laws and the game you hunt is anything that falls within that date window or period. It's obvious that your firearms and hunting laws, are much more stringent than ours and so be it !! ......

Quote:
I do not know what the IHEA is
International Hunter Education Association. .... With world wide participation.

Thanks for sharing and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old February 17, 2017, 02:23 AM   #10
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rshaw: Goeden Morgen---

About five years ago my wife and I stayed at a smallish B&B on the edge of Hall in Tirol, right ON the Inn River, several miles downstream from Innsbruck Austria.

A Dutch guy (maybe in his 40s) at breakfast was discussing sports with me, and the subject of Austrian target shooting somehow came up.

His view was that the Austrian interest in competitive target shooting must be connected to an aggressive nature among Austrians. This viewpoint might be fairly common among people in the many small countries which were quickly invaded/occupied?

During my other 25 visits to Europe/UK/Ireland, the subject of sports shooting has never come up, except among a former LEO (running a B&B) by Lake Windermere, England. His view of Americans' enthusiasm to own guns "Toys, toys", seems more balanced than other comments I have read about from citizens in UK/the Eurozone. Or at least he was diplomatic.

At least the Czech and Estonian gun laws are not nearly as repressive. At THR, 'Snejdarek' and 'Pond, James Pond' can explain.
The Czechs are now 'butting heads' about gun regulations with the power-consumed zealots in Brussels.
And the EuroZone elitists Still can't figure out why the 'Brexit' happened?

Don't some of the tightest gun regs go back to poaching regs on Royal Property in the Middle Ages? The modern subjects seem to seldom question Their Masters.
Tot ziens---

Last edited by Ignition Override; February 17, 2017 at 02:35 AM.
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Old February 17, 2017, 09:13 AM   #11
g.willikers
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Guess they didn't learn much from the Nazi experience.
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Old February 17, 2017, 09:47 AM   #12
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It is a bit easier to get a firearm in New Jersey, but not much easier.
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Old February 18, 2017, 05:26 AM   #13
rshaw
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A Dutch guy (maybe in his 40s) at breakfast was discussing sports with me, and the subject of Austrian target shooting somehow came up.

His view was that the Austrian interest in competitive target shooting must be connected to an aggressive nature among Austrians. This viewpoint might be fairly common among people in the many small countries which were quickly invaded/occupied?


Hi Ignition Override,

There are two groups of people here in the Netherlands - a definite "shooting community," and- "everyone else not connected with or interested in firearms." Your Dutch contact sounds like one of the latter (no disrespect intended). I have spent some time in Austria- I have never viewed them as aggressive at all.

I am an American, born and raised in New York, and have grown up with firearms since I can remember. I have lived in the Netherlands since 1991, after 7 years living in Germany and Belgium starting in 1984. So I have had a chance to appreciate both the EU and US sides of the coin, and they are indeed, VERY different.

Most people in the "non-firearms camp" with whom I have spoken about the general subject seem to have a deep fear and/or suspicion of firearms, rather than an association with aggression. Within the firearms community, there is an element of "macho" among some younger shooters, together with a fascination with fine machinery and an appreciation of firearms and their history within the older crowd. There is a keen appreciation for safety; procedures at the range are followed very strictly. Collectors form a small but very dynamic and wonderful group here who are very knowledgable- and who also have a keen interest in American classics like the Colt SAA or 1911... Smith & Wesson revolvers and Winchester rifles.....

The gun laws here are very restrictive, yes, and there is an element of alienation from the lawmakers in Brussels who are seen as repressive and uninformed. One comment which rings a bell is " Trying to control terrorism by restricting firearms across the board is like trying to reduce traffic deaths by making it more difficult for responsible drivers to own cars."

My shooting friends here are shocked when I tell them that, as a youngster, we had a gun closet full of shotguns, rifles and pistols, but never once did we deal with restrictions, police, or permits. I remind them that that was in the 50's and things have changed since then.

Interesting that the Swiss are not part of the EU, they have much more open firearms laws, and they have never been invaded.

Don't some of the tightest gun regs go back to poaching regs on Royal Property in the Middle Ages? The modern subjects seem to seldom question Their Masters.

Yes there is some truth to that, together with a general effort in the early 1900's to "disarm the people" - I do not know so much about the details. I do know that the modern subjects very much question their "masters," and that the shooting and collecting community here will not be happy with additional restrictions from Brussels. There is talk of a "Nexit" (Netherlands leaving the EU), but I really wonder how far that will go.
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Old February 18, 2017, 10:33 AM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rshaw
Most people in the "non-firearms camp" with whom I have spoken about the general subject seem to have a deep fear and/or suspicion of firearms, rather than an association with aggression. Within the firearms community, there is an element of "macho" among some younger shooters, together with a fascination with fine machinery and an appreciation of firearms and their history within the older crowd. There is a keen appreciation for safety; procedures at the range are followed very strictly. Collectors form a small but very dynamic and wonderful group here who are very knowledgable- and who also have a keen interest in American classics like the Colt SAA or 1911... Smith & Wesson revolvers and Winchester rifles.....
In fact, the same is true in the United States, as most of us know. We can probably safely assume that 95+ percent of participants on this forum are shooters to at least some degree. How many of the gun owners you know would you characterize as innately aggressive? A great many shooters are hunters or target shooters who don't even have a carry permit or, if they do, never carry.

Conversely, there are countless videos on Youtube showing anti-gun types who are anti-gun because guns are scary. They don't know anything about guns, and they don't WANT to know anything about guns. They don't know anything about gun laws, and they don't want to know anything about gun laws -- they just know that, if people can still own guns, we must need more gun laws.

Fear of guns is almost entirely irrational. My great grandfather wore a beard late in life, to cover up the scar of where he shot himself in the face while cleaning a firearm. Despite this, my grandfather understood that it wasn't the gun's fault, it was great grandfather's fault. My grandfather owned firearms, and taught me to shoot (and to not shoot myself with an "empty" gun). But ... my grandfather was a rational man.
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Old February 18, 2017, 06:35 PM   #15
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Well said Aguila
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Old February 20, 2017, 12:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rshaw
One registers at an accredited shooting club (called a "schietvereniging") in which one may practice under supervision at a range using firearms and ammunition owned and stored by the club. A "Certificate of Good Conduct" (VOG) must be requested by the new club member at the town hall, and be sumbitted to the club. With the VOG, and 3 months of practise under club supervision, one normally then becomes a full club member. After an additional 12 months active membership, and with the recommendation of the club, one can apply to local police for a gun permit. ("Active membership" is proven by having shot at the range at least 18 times during the 12 month full membership period- one carries a "schietregister" in which the signature of the club secretary and club stamp are used to record each shooting session.)

To actually obtain your permit, you must do the following:
- submit a passport photo
- fill out several forms with the help of the club secretary
- go through a more exhaustive background check by police
- obtain 2 safes approved for storing firearm and ammo separately
- secure the safes to the wall or floor with at least 2 bolts
- pass a visit by police to your residence to verify your safes are properly installed and in order.
- arrange to obtain 1 firearm (max 22 cal) which will be registered with your permit (One cannot have a permit without at least one firearm to go with it.)
- go to the police station and pick up your permit- (They call you)
- pick up the firearm registed with your permit

Once you have your permit, you are able to:
- own, store, and transport the firearm registered with your permit
- buy / own only the ammunition suited for that firearm
- transport your unloaded firearm and ammo in separate containers, at least one container under lock and key using the shortest route to either gunsmith or shooting range.
- transport unloaded magazines with your firearm.
can you clarify the part about owning the firearm? you mentioned at first that you could only practice at a range using guns and ammo the range owns...?
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Old February 20, 2017, 08:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koda94
can you clarify the part about owning the firearm? you mentioned at first that you could only practice at a range using guns and ammo the range owns...?
I understand that to mean you have to first register at a club for 3 months, then join the club for another 12 months, before you qualify for a permit to own your own guns.
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Old February 20, 2017, 11:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armed Chicagoan
I understand that to mean you have to first register at a club for 3 months, then join the club for another 12 months, before you qualify for a permit to own your own guns.
That's how I understood it.

Like a learner's permit before you get a driver's license.
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Old February 20, 2017, 11:57 AM   #19
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Ok, that makes more sense... Thank you.
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Old February 20, 2017, 02:39 PM   #20
rshaw
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Right.

One first joins the shooting club, but of course one does not have a permit, and can therefore not buy, own or transport a gun and / or ammo. During that time, it is OK to use the club's ammo and firearms only when at the club.

After 3 months startup, and the following 12 months membership, one can then obtain a permit, after which one can own a maximum of 1 firearm, max calibre: 22.

After 12 months possession of a permit, one can then have a max of 5 firearms, max calibre 9 mm.

After a second 12 months of permit ownership, then one can go up to 45 calibre, max 5 firearms.

Takes a while.... I have to wait until August 2017 before I can expand my collection. Ah well.
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