When did you become a gun owner?

Almost 20 percent more gun owners than two years ago

Member entries in the Central Arms Register of the Ministry of the Interior have reached a new high. As of September 1, it lists 285,234 gun owners. Compared to July 2014, this is an increase of 18.5 percent or 44,535 people.

The strongest percentage increases occurred in Styria, Salzburg and Carinthia. In absolute numbers, Lower Austria with 74,012 gun owners is ahead of Upper Austria (49,294) and Styria (47,100).

It would be wrong to attribute the increase to population growth alone. The proportion of people who own weapons has grown from 2.8 to 3.3 percent of the total population. The desire for a firearm varies from region to region. However, there is an increase in gun owners in every federal state.

While almost every 21st citizen in Burgenland has a weapon, in Vienna only every 55th citizen has a weapon. There, the increase is the lowest compared to July 2014 - from 1.68 to 1.82 percent of the population (+0.14 Percentage points). The increase is most pronounced in Carinthia and Styria, where the proportion of gun owners in relation to the population has risen to 3.9 and 3.8 percent, respectively (+0.66 percentage points each).

Gun stocks only declining in one category

The arms inventory in Austria is divided into four categories, A, B, C and D. The gun inventory is only in decline in the Category A. These include prohibited weapons and war material. There are currently 6,925 D weapons registered. These include, for example, pump guns or fully automatic weapons. They are responsible for 0.8 percent of the registered private arsenal.

Almost 94 percent of weapons in Austria belong to category B and C. To class B include, for example, pistols, revolvers or semi-automatic firearms. A psychological report is required for acquisition. The tests for this were criticized in the summer because, on the one hand, they are supposed to be out of date and various reviewers can be visited until a positive result is available.

This type of weapon has increased by 8.6 percent over the past two years. 392,546 firearms like the Glock are registered as of September 1st. That equates to 4.5 firearms per 100 inhabitants. Two years ago there were 4.6 firearms. This ratio has also decreased in the other three categories.

The most common weapons are the Category C. This includes rifled guns. They are notifiable, but a gun license is not required. Anyone over the age of 18 can buy these weapons. Anyone who has a gun pass, hunting license or membership in a traditional shooting club is allowed to take them with them.

However, there is a period of three days before buying - this is to prevent acts of affect. The deadline does not apply with a gun pass. 505,287 of these weapons are registered, 16 percent more than two years ago.

For weapons the Category D The same rules apply as for those in Category C. These include weapons with a smooth barrel, i.e. shotguns. However, old stock does not have to be registered. It is to be assumed that the actual stock is higher than the indicated one. Registration is only necessary as soon as there is a change of ownership or a new acquisition. It can also be done voluntarily. As of September 1, 61,179 smooth-barreled firearms were registered.

The average number of guns per owner increased from July 2014 to September 2015 - from 3.47 to 3.52 guns per owner. Since then, the number of guns per owner has fallen - most recently to 3.38 guns per gun owner. This also reflects the urge to use the first weapon.

The Ministry of the Interior has no information on how gun ownership is distributed in Austria in detail. It is unclear whether few people are hoarding many weapons, as is the case in the United States. Three percent of the population there have 50 percent of their weapons at their disposal. An evaluation of this kind would be "technically not possible." (Gerald Gartner, September 28, 2016)

What is the Central Arms Register?

Since October 1, 2012, all newly acquired firearms must be recorded. Weapons of category C and D must be registered with the weapons dealer within six weeks. The old stock had to be registered by June 30, 2014. This was mandatory for rifles with a rifled barrel (C) and voluntary for rifles with a smooth barrel (D). Category B weapons are automatically registered with an entry in the weapon passport.

How about some transparency?

You can view and download the raw data here.