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Old 10-25-2005, 03:11 AM #1
Pitvyper69
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Exclamation German Law and Paintball F stamping

OK First thing is will a Mod PLEASE sticky this topic as its important to those players esp the US military ones in Germany.

If any one knows of an REAL changes to these laws please let me no via a PM so I can change them. Please make sure you know them for facts so we don't waste time.

SO here goes.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Josh and I ran the Red Baron paintball field for the Darmstadt outdoor rec for almost 3 years. In that time we had several dealings with the German government, its laws and the US's use of them on the base fields. So the information I am giving you is now 1 year old but should still be true. So I have a pretty good back ground for making this post in an effort to educate and advise US players in Germany.

Paintball is not legal in all parts of Germany, some places enforce the law strictly while others operate under what the Germans call "an open secret" We in the US will know it better as a wasted law. Like J walking. Basically its illegal but only when they need it to be. IN the areas were it is not legal it is permitted for the military to use it as a training method but then its only approved for active duty training.

There are 3 main laws on the German books that directly pertain to paintball. I will list them then describe them.

1. A person must be 18 years or older to play.
2. The round fired from any weapon must not exit the boundary of the
property designated for shooting.
3. The round fired for the weapon must not exceed 7.5 joule in power to be considered as NOT being a firearm and thus being awarded an "F" stamp.

1. Paintball CAN NOT legally be played, by German law, by those under the age of 18. Each US base commander has the power to set an age that they feel is right for US ID card holders on their bases. The reason for this law is part Law part Code. The German government view paintball, as well as first person shooter video games as against their morality code. They believe it desensitizes a person to killing. So 18 is an age they feel a person is old enough to make their own judgement.

2. Basically that's the big reason for all the netting any paint that goes out side the area is a violation of the law.

3. a. Germany measures the speed of the ball in power or joule, 7.5 roughly translates to 214 feet per second. By their law anything that travels faster than that brakes the F-stamp and that marker is considered a FIREARM! Truly , by their law you may as well be holding a MAC-10 or any AK-47.

3. b. The F-stamp. What is it? The F-stamp is a mark stamped into the body of all markers sold in Germany that states the German Firearms division as approved that maker for sale in Germany. When a new markers comes out, a copy of it must be sent to this division as well all its info with it. If it meets their approval it is kept on file at the division and the company is allowed to then import and stamp that type of marker for sale in Germany.

( now some of you are asking, "well it has to shoot more than 214?! Right? Nope, they turn it down, take out the velocity screw if possible and often install what's called a European spring if ones is used. All this is in an effort to ensure the marker will shoot at or below 214 fps. After the approval its in the hands of the consumer. Yup its all sort of weak and shady and believe me I am sure the division more than likely knows about it. BUT its still the law right wrong or indifferent.)

So back to the marker, what ever way the maker goes to the division is the way its supposed to stay to maintain the F-stamp. So after you buy it, if you do ANYTHING to it you break the F-stamp. Yup that means upgrading a barrel or anything you legally break the F-stamp.

Adding an F-stamp. As far as I have been able to find this is NOT legal. Is it done? YUP ALL THE TIME. Just be aware its NOT legal! Know the law is all I am saying. Even though the marker you bought in the states is the exact same one they sell in Germany.


Now all of this sounds like sillyness but understand that it is the law. SO a marker sent to your Military PO box that does not have an F stamp CAN and WILL be taken by German Customs should they pick your package to search. They have the right to search the mail, YUP even US military mail. This happened to a friend of mine there and for a while it was pretty serious. He NEVER got the marker back, and COULD have been charged with smuggling firearms in to Germany.

The US military over there as made several concessions to German laws over the years. The one that applies most in this case is the adoption of the German Gun laws, THEY now apply to ALL US military in Germany. Last I knew the law goes something like this: in order to own a gun you must past the German safety class ( expensive ) be a member of a shooting club ( paying monthly or years dues , NOT cheap either ) as well as compete at least twice a year in a shooting event with that gun. (Basically you REALLY have to be into gun and have some coin to own one over there.) SO if you marker has no F-stamp then legally they could require you to do all the above in order to keep your marker. VERY unlikely but possible none the less.

Its important to note that while it is also VERY unlikely they would do so, they could come on to a base paintball field and inspect the markers. The are fully authorized to do this. SO the whole "Just don't worry about it if your on base" statement is flawed. Like I said VERY unlikely but still possible. Let's also say you live off base or your housing is not on the base the field is on but on another base. You have to travel with your marker in the car, Should you be stopped and searched ( get in an accident etc) and you NON F -stamped marker is discovered you could be in trouble. All I want to let folks know is what the law is. Do with the info as you will but at least know what can or could happen.

Paintball has a bad enough rep in Germany as it is and only though responsible adherence to their laws will further bad will to the sport of paintball be lessened. So little things like NOT wear camo clothing while playing ( the Germans view that as para-military training ) Not shooting up the street signs where you live. Most importantly having an F-stamped marker will help this out.

Its a bit much to take in but its the LAW.

Im out
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:26 PM #2
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Another thing to add to the "firearm possession" bit:

All firearms are to be kept in an arms room (military or gun club) when not being used. That means even if you do all the things required to own a firearm (or non-stamped marker) you can't keep it at home.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:38 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFSniper
Another thing to add to the "firearm possession" bit:

All firearms are to be kept in an arms room (military or gun club) when not being used. That means even if you do all the things required to own a firearm (or non-stamped marker) you can't keep it at home.
That's bad...I have my Tippmann 98c and I don't have a place to put it cause I don't have much affiliation with the army....
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:59 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFSniper
Another thing to add to the "firearm possession" bit:

All firearms are to be kept in an arms room (military or gun club) when not being used. That means even if you do all the things required to own a firearm (or non-stamped marker) you can't keep it at home.
Yup, this is where all this stuff came from when the US adapted to the German law. So you can see where its going. It dont have an F-stamp its a gun then you have to do all the stuff I listed to keep it, odds are to keep it will cost you more than the marker is worth. Its a sort of catch 22. Now most of the MP/SP will say they dont really mess with paintball markers but should someone in your community get into trouble over their miss use of a marker it could go into affect, and the cycle starts over again. It mostely boils down to being too much trouble to deal with for little effect over all UNLESS there is a political problem over it.

See what I said in the last post about the image of paintball in Germany now?

Believe it or not as confusing as this may be from the start it was MUCH MUCH worse when I got involved with it in the start. Most of this is a non-issue in the darmstadt area as far as I know as the Base and local government are in a sort of setteld agreement about paintball and the Red Baron field.

Im out
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Old 10-26-2005, 04:58 AM #5
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Now for the F stamp some people say just Hessen and some say all of Germany, which is it? do i need a F stamp just in Hessen or all of Germany?
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Old 10-26-2005, 01:19 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griesheimballer
That's bad...I have my Tippmann 98c and I don't have a place to put it cause I don't have much affiliation with the army....
the best thing to do is what i do: dont take it out in public unless youre gonna go play, then be extra careful with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paintballinR
Now for the F stamp some people say just Hessen and some say all of Germany, which is it? do i need a F stamp just in Hessen or all of Germany?
as far as i know, its all of germany.
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Old 10-27-2005, 12:25 AM #7
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ok, for the F stamp are they suppose to put it on the same place on a gun everytime...like a 98 custom do they always put it on the right side by the "this is not a toy" because some 98's at our feild have them on the left and some are on the right and a bit smaller...what im reallly asking is does the F stamp always go in the same place if its legit? im looking at getting a f stamp for my phantom and i was wonding where it would go...thanks guys
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Old 10-31-2005, 11:20 AM #8
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Some times its on the grip frame above the trigger, others times its in the body of the marker itself. As long as its on there.

The last thing I heard about the F-stamp ( this was about 6 months ago or so IIRC), was that Wiesbaden ODR had asked the European MWR HQ what to do about the issue, at that time HQ stated all Germany based ODR and R&G were to follow German law on Paintball to the letter. Which means what I wrote above, You HAVE to have the F-stamp, shoot 214 and no one under 18 etc....NOW I would assume that all that has cooled off or every one is just ignoring those rules and doing their own thing ( That or the various base commanders have given there consent to do other that what was handed down from HQ)

Knowledge is power use it wisely.

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Old 10-31-2005, 01:08 PM #9
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red baron has a minimum age of 14 now (advertised in the magazine)... but thats all i know. supposedly other fields arent strict on age either.
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Old 11-27-2005, 01:31 PM #10
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I know of only 1 gun that is sold in the states that comes with an F-stamp.

The Smart Parts Shocker 03. It is located under the grip frame.

Can someone confirm that the Smart Parts Ion comes with an F-stamp? It looks like it is on the left side of the body next to the "Warning Label."

I'm in need of a gun that already has an F-stamp and at this point I don't care who makes it, even if it is Smart Parts.

Given their legal base, I could only assume that their F-stamp is legit. Any takers on doing the research? .... Yeah, I wouldn't do it either.

The Regensberg Area 8/11 field, will not let non-F-stamp guns on location. Doing so could risk them getting shut down, and it took a lot for them to open up in the first place.

Freedom and paintball, just doesn't mix too well in some places...

I quickly scanned through every post so if someone already said it did, then please "remind" me. Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:00 PM #11
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Yes....and NO

Well I looked into this when I was running the Red Baron, because it could have been an issue back then. There was some cheap brass egal marker that also had an f-stamp. The response I got from one of the German places I contacted was NO.

The stamp comes from a German distributor that is athorised to do so by the German government. The problem you run into is operating a marker that bares the stamp but dose not conform to the requirements of the stamp. One or two models of markers floating around probably wont be worth the trouble. Now if this becomes the regual pratice for US/UK base marker makers to insure max sales in countries that use the F stamp system, dont be suprised to see the f-stamp under go some type of change to the system to fight these non-autohorised stamp. They could even charge the marker a flat tax on every marker made with the stamp ( yeah that would probably shut that off real quick) who knows. Think of the "pre-stamped" markers as a sort of counterfit marker, if that makes any sense.

Now if it has the stamp and thats enough for the guy running the field in your area, than cool run with it. As I have always said ( and you been round me on these boards enough to know) Just be aware of what you are doing. Legal grey area etc.

Drop an e-mail to Frank Rupert at Maxs and ask him this question I am sure he has the current laws on it.

Im out
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:20 AM #12
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Yes the Ion's have the F stamp and i believe that the nerve does as well. Like Josh said they are not really legit because they don't shoot under 214 or what ever. Does anyone know if you buy a Ion here in Germany if its anymore legit? My field is selling 2 of them, they are $275 a pop, not bad considering the exchange rate and stuff. I don't plan on buying one but was just wondering.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:07 AM #13
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Look into the Geran sellers and see if they have those marker on hand, if they do then they are recognised with the F-stamp.

However, I understand now from an old source that the distributors are or have already obtained NEWER F stamps that also have a distributor mark along with the F stamp so they can track where the marker was stamped. Be aware of this as it looks like a step toward the direction I was speaking about earlier. Possibly their effort to stop the "knock off" F stamping. Who knows. Just be aware gentlemen.

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Old 11-29-2005, 09:57 PM #14
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I think most people know what I want to say here... lol... I have my own F stamp... Served me well for 3 years. If you want to get one made then just search for a Custom Metal Stamping company. It cost me $50 and I charged $5 a pop. I made that back in the first weekend at the field. Now tack on ever weekend and 3 years. You make your money back... Just be smart with it.
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Old 11-30-2005, 01:58 PM #15
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boozshey, you're back stateside now!? i talked to the guy at Maxs and he said there is NO legal way to get an F-Stamp put on your marker if its already over here. my friend said his family got theirs stamped somewhere in the states, but i dunno where because he's getting his GED online so i havent been in touch with him since last school year.
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Old 12-01-2005, 08:10 AM #16
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That's why he has his own, the stamps are not legal but nobody know that.
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Old 12-02-2005, 03:27 PM #17
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yeah i know. i heard your school uses co2 powered rifles for rifle team. is it true? im just curious. if they get it for free, you might be able to get fills there...i just thought of that at practice today.
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Old 12-03-2005, 06:48 PM #18
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Okay Boozhey, I'll bite. Which website did you buy your stamp from? PM if you don't want the entire world to know. Regardless, I'm sure the sneakiness of it all is pleasingly untrivial. F-stamping, the world wants to know.

Do you think, America should pass such a law for Paintball guns? If they did, there would be F-stamps proliferating every field and shop resulting to overgorged paintball taxes and the likes...

Yeah, I'll quit rambling now.
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Old 12-03-2005, 10:02 PM #19
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No need for F stamps in the US, we cant seem to regulate the real thing so markers are the least of our worries.

Honestly the main reason for the F stamp is to controle the "gun" like access to the German public, that and Taxes. The older German public as a whole is still living with alot of the past and paintball has a very different conitation than it has in the USA. As you well know. The guys we play/played with over there now will have a differnt view of it when its there turn to be the decision makers, but as for now its still crazy against paintball and the laws help reflect that.

Every thing changes we just have to keep on playing through it.

IM out
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Old 12-05-2005, 02:29 PM #20
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the f-stamp law pisses me off. what i dont get is why Maxs sells upgrades but that would void the f stamp...so whats the point!?!?
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:28 AM #21
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Look, I know/knew almost all the guys at Maxs, short and sweet answer to that question is, they dont think the law make any sense either, but it the law none the less.

So why sell an upgrade? Well, your the one breaking the law if you upgrade your marker, not them. I totaly agree that its a weak attempt at regulating the sport, but ya have to learn to play the game. As long as you follow the rules the powers that be cant touch you. Silly as the rules may be. Just do your time over there and come back to the states where none of that is an issue!

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