Acquiring a weapon as a private individual
‘Acquiring a weaponʼ means buying, receiving as a gift, inheriting, renting or borrowing a weapon. Depending on the type, you will require a contract, a weapons acquisition permit or a special permit.
Weapons that have to be declared
To acquire weapons subject to declaration and their essential components you require a written contract detailing seller/buyer and weapon. If the weapon is a firearm, the seller must send a copy of the contract to the buyer’s cantonal firearms office within 30 days of concluding the contract.
Weapons for which a permit is required
Weapons subject to licensing and their essential components require a weapons acquisition permit. You must submit an application to the cantonal authority of your canton of residence.
Banned weapons, ammunition and weapon components
Banned weapons, essential and specially constructed components, as well as weapon accessories require a special cantonal permit. Applications for an exemption permit must be submitted to the cantonal firearms office in writing and must contain the reasons why you require the weapon. Permits may be issued for the following weapons in particular:
- Sports (combat) weapons used in sports clubs
- Banned knives used by disabled person or by certain occupation group
Cantonal firearms offices
(This document is not available in English)
- Foreign nationals who do not possess a long-term residence permit require a weapons acquisition permit for all types of weapons and their essential components. They must also have an official certificate from their canton of residence or country of origin confirming that they are authorised to acquire the weapon or main components.
- Citizens of certain countries are generally not allowed to acquire weapons or essential components.
- Minors may borrow a sports weapon under the following conditions: they can prove that they do regular shooting sport; there is no indication that they are a danger to themselves or others; they do not have a criminal record.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- A large number of persons from the conflict areas or war zones of these countries live in Switzerland.
- There has been ethnically or politically motivated confrontation in Switzerland between members of the warring factions from these countries (or there is a real risk of confrontation).
- Weapons have found their way illegally from Switzerland to the conflict areas involved.
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