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Acquiring a firearm

How do I ‘acquire’ a gun, legally speaking? Do I need a contract, an acquisition permit or a licence?

What constitutes ‘acquisition’?

In addition to buying one, you can ‘acquire’ a gun through exchange, as a gift or by inheriting, renting or borrowing the weapon.

Contract, acquisition permit or exceptional licence?

Depending on the type of firearm, you will need a contract, a firearms acquisition permit or an exceptional licence.

Type of firearm What you need to acquire the gun
Examples of firearms subject to a notification requirement:
  • manual repeating firearms for sport and hunting
  • rabbit stunners
  • airsoft guns
  • alarm or starting pistols
  • paintball marker guns
  • Air and CO2 weapons
  • Swiss ordnance repeating firearms such as
    Karabiner (carbine) 11, 31, Langgewehr (rifle) 11

A written contract with details of the person transferring and the person acquiring the weapon and the weapon itself.


In the case of firearms, the holder must send the contract to the new holder’s cantonal authority within 30 days.

Examples of firearms requiring a licence:
  • pistols
  • revolvers
  • semi-automatic firearms
  • etc.

Firearms acquisition permit:

You have to send an application along with a criminal record certificate and a copy of your passport or ID card to the cantonal weapons office.

Prohibited weapons Cantonal exceptional permit

Firearms acquisition permit

To obtain a permit:

  • you must be at least 18 years old,
  • you must not be subject to a deputyship or a supervision order,
  • you must not give any cause to assume that you could harm yourself or anyone else with the weapon,
  • you must not have a criminal record for violent or dangerous offences or repeated felonies or misdemeanours.

Online application form for a firearms acquisition licence

Requirements for foreign nationals wishing to acquire firearms

Special features

  • If you live abroad or do not have a residence C permit, you will need a firearms acquisition permit or a special licence each time you acquire a firearm.
  • It is against the law for foreign nationals from the following countries to acquire, own or carry weapons and to shoot firearms:
    Albania, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey.