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Paintball ban

May 15, 2009

German lawmakers have abandoned a controversial plan to ban paintball as part of a new set of gun control rules introduced in response to a school shooting that left 16 dead.

A paintball player with orange paint on his mask
Fans of paintball say they are not shooting but "marking" each other with paintImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

The Social Democrats (SPD) say they will not support a ban on paintball - just two days after they and their senior coalition party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), agreed on the proposed ban as part of a new set of strengthened gun control measures.

"There will be no ban," said SPD politician Dieter Wiefelspuetz, an expert on domestic affairs.

In addition to a ban on war-like games such as paintball and laser tag, the coalition's reforms would include random inspections of gun owners' premises to ensure guns and ammunition are properly stored and locked.

The plans have been criticized as not limiting gun access enough, but many also thought the paintball ban had gone too far.

While lawmakers say paintball simulates killing and war, fans say it is just a sport. The game is already illegal for those under the age of 18 in Germany and is usually not played in military fatigues as it often is in other countries.

The government has been under pressure to introduce new gun control laws after a 17-year-old shot dead 15 people before shooting himself in the southern town of Winnenden in March.

Politicians had hoped to present the reforms to parliament before the end of this month so they could be voted on before national elections in September.


Editor: Nancy Isenson