One of Germany’s biggest drugstore chains dm-Drogeriemarkt has included pepper spray in its offer earlier this year, merkur.de reported yesterday, August 21, 2016.DM CEO Sebastian Bayer told Tagesspiegel that the company had reacted to wishes of their mostly female customers to include the product in its offer. “We have checked the possibilities and have included the animal defense system in our offer,” he said. Pepper spray had been available online from May and in stores since June of this year.
A spokesperson for dm-Drogeriemarkt competitors Rossmann told the Tagesspiegel: “We don’t offer bats, pistols, nor pepper spray and leave it to specialised stores to sell those products. The spokesperson also told the newspaper that even though pepper spray (mace) is marketed as a product intended to be used as defence from animals, it was basically a defence against people.
The chairman of the German weapon specialised store association said that they aren’t supportive of dm’s decision to sell pepper spray, as there was need to educate buyers in the use of mace, which isn’t done in the drugstore. In Germany, in order to carry concealed blank pistols and mace one has to possess the Small Weapon Permit.
The number of issued Small Weapon Permits in Germany has risen to a record 400,000. For comparison, by the end of the second quarter of 2015, only 270,000 of such permits were issued. The newspaper writes, quoting numbers obtained from the Federal Interior Ministry. In order to qualify for the document, one has to have a clean criminal record, no drug or alcohol addiction, no mental illness, no physical defects, such as night blindness, etc.
Anyone in Germany over the age of 18 is allowed to purchase a small blank (or alarm) gun, a “Schreckschusspistole”, but in order to carry the weapon outside of one’s own four walls, a “Kleiner Waffenschein” (small weapon permit) has to be issued. The weapons usually look like replicas of real guns.