Gun and weapon laws in Croatia
When choosing a place to live, it is important for some to know the laws for gun use and ownership of their future home.
According to available data, Croatian residents legally own approximately 315.000 personal weapons. In addition, some weapons are illegally owned, meaning they were not procured legally and are not registered.
This article relates to firearm ownership for private residents. There are special regulations reserved for police officers, members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, judicial police, other state bodies, and security guards, which will not be covered below.
In this post, we cover:
- What is considered a weapon
- Who can own a weapon
- How to get a gun or weapon permit
- Weapons for personal protection
- What violates the law
- Where can you buy a weapon
The facts are these…
The Croatian Zakon o nabavi i posjedovanju oružja građana (Law on acquisition and possession of weapons by citizens) is clear about what is considered a weapon and how such weapons can be used. This law is available here.
The following four categories are recognized as weapons:
- Category A – prohibited firearms such as:
- Explosive military missiles and launchers
- Automatic and semi-automatic firearms
- Military and police weapons
- Weapons with silencers
- Explosive devices, etc.
- Category B – firearms for which you need to be issued a permit to use and own such as:
- Various guns and rifles that can be used in hunting, sports and for personal protection
- Category C – firearms and weapons that need to be reported to the authorities such as:
- Any firearms that have been restructured to fire munitions without missiles
- Non-harmful irritating substances
- Other active substances or pyrotechnic ammunition
- Acoustic weapons
- Weapons that are collectibles and/or no longer function
- Category D – weapons that do not need to be reported to the authorities such as:
- Weapons with a coil force of 450 N or less
- Electric stun guns
- Mace sprays with permitted non-toxic substances
- Cold weapons
- Paintball guns
In summary, all weapons from Category A are prohibited. For weapons from Category B, you must prove grounds to be issued a corresponding permit from the component authority.
Possession of weapons is permitted to all people who legally reside in the Republic of Croatia based on temporary or permanent residence with a valid permit.
To possess a weapon, you must fulfill the following conditions:
- You may own a gun for hunting, sport, or personal reasons if you provide proof with documentation, a certificate or evidence you are an active hunter, that you passed a hunting exam, or that you are a member of a club for recreational shooting
- Ordinary residents must be older than 21 to file for a permit, and employees of judicial bodies, security guards, active hunters, and proven recreation users must be older than 18
- You can’t be charged with any violent crimes or involved in proceedings as the accused for any type of violent crime
- You can’t be charged with any offenses with elements of violence or be involved in proceedings as the accused for any type of offenses with elements of violence
- You must have secured conditions for safe housing and guarding of weapons, which must be proven with a written statement
- During a health evaluation, it has determined you are of sound body and mind – this certification is a combination of evaluation provided by your chosen primary health care doctor and an elected doctor of medicine specializing in psychiatry
- You have to prove you possess relevant technical knowledge and skills for the proper use of weapons and are aware of regulations governing the possession of weapons
To apply for or inquire about a weapon permit, go to the administrative police station closest to your place of residence.
You must first be issued a valid permit to purchase a weapon from Category B. Here is an example of the application form.
Once that permit is issued and you have purchased the weapon, you must register it within 8 days. An example of the registration document can be found here.
If you require a permit because you are an active hunter or an athlete that requires the use of weapons, your associations and/or clubs will be able to advise you regarding the necessary documents and certificates you will need to obtain.
Information on the administrative fees and payment is available here.
If applying for a gun permit based on personal security, you must prove to your local police station that your security is compromised or could be compromised to such an extent that the only way to be safe would be through owning a weapon. The ultimate decision to issue you a permit shall be given by a committee established by the head of the competent authority (usually the police station).
At any point during the process, your petition can be denied. You cannot submit an appeal of the decision issued by the competent body, but you may initiate an administrative dispute.
If you were able to obtain all necessary permits and acquire your weapon, be aware that the competent authority must reevaluate your situation once every five years. The primary purpose of this is to re-establish whether you still meet your original application’s requirements.
Croatian law describes numerous offenses considered to be criminal violations.
It is against the law to:
- Purchase, possess, collect, or sell weapons if you do not hold valid permits to handle them
- Sell weapons to a person who doesn’t hold a valid permit, even if you, as the seller, hold a permit
- Possess ammunition for weapons from Category B if you do not possess the permit to
No matter if you possess the relevant permits or not, it is against the law to:
- Carry or use weapons in any way that were obtained for collection purposes
- Carry a weapon into public institutions where prohibition is clearly stated
- Enable a weapon for a use that it was previously disabled or not intended for
- Keep weapons and ammunition in a manner that is unsafe and insecure
- Endanger others during the cleaning, maintenance, and reloading of weapons
- Use of weapons in places where the safety and health of other people may be endangered
- To allow children access to weapons (in cases of sport or hunting associations, special regulations apply)
- Cross the state borders while in possession of weapons and ammunition without reporting them to border police
- Sell the weapons and ammunition across the state borders, without informing border police
Violating any of these regulations (of which there are more) may result in a fine ranging from 130 to 6.630 euros or a sentence of up to 60 days in prison. View Articles 70-75 of the law for a complete list of violations here. Ignorance will not get you out of anything.
Weapons, ammunition, and all accompanying accessories in Croatia can be bought in specialized physical shops, online stores, and even on Njuškalo.
Category B weapons and ammunition may only be sold or handed over to those with valid permits or another authorized arms dealer. Use your common sense if you are buying weapons on websites like Njuškalo.
Here are some legitimate shops:
All of them have clearly stated on their websites that for weapons and ammunition from Category B, the person buying them has to obtain them personally, in the physical store using an ID and all valid permits.
View our other safety posts
- How to prepare for and handle earthquakes in Croatia
- How to report domestic violence in Croatia
- Is Croatia a safe country?
- Is tap water safe to drink in Croatia
- Shelters and counseling centers in Croatia
- Udruga Domine: Women’s NGO from Split
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.