Crossbows in the German Weapons Act
What You should know
Crossbows, no matter what design (even those with “rubber string”) are subject to the German Weapons Act.
This means that they count as “weapons” which may only be possessed by adults (aged 18 years and above).
Children and youngsters are in principle not allowed to handle with such weapons.
Adults, however, need no authorization to possess, manufacture, import/export and deal with crossbows.
Also the transport of crossbows is at first not subject to any further restrictions, except that it is generally forbidden to “carry” such weapons on public events (e.g. on fairs/folk festivals).
Exemptions are, however, possible (e.g. medieval markets, weapon shows etc.) and LARP-CONs usually are no “public events” pursuant to the Weapons Act.
If crossbows are used on public events (medieval markets, street festivals etc.), an authorization by the responsible Public Order Office is needed.
For closed society meetings (LARP-CONs), this is not required but it certainly does not harm to inform the relevant authorities (and the local police) beforehand.
For shooting with crossbows, neither an approved shooting stand, nor specially trained staff, nor a special authorization is necessary.
The liability for property damage or personal injuries caused by failed projectiles, however, remains unaffected thereby.
Here basically the same rules are applicable as for archery.
This summary exclusively serves as an information and in no way replaces a qualified legal advice.
For errors and potentially different interpretations through authorities and courts, no liability can be assumed.
When in Rome do as the Romans do!
Please note that in foreign (EU) countries completely different regulations may be applicable. In some countries (e.g. Denmark) crossbows even require an arms possession card.
In other countries they are considered a simple sports equipment (e.g. Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Austria).
Punishments for offending against each effective national law can be unexpectedly radical and laws can change rapidly.
Stand: Dezember 2016