What are some weapons issued by the military

military: FPÖ asks interior ministers about weapons passports for elite soldiers

Should soldiers of the Jagdkommando be allowed to carry weapons when they are not on duty? This question now reaches politics. The member of the National Council Christian Hafenecker (FPÖ) brought a parliamentary question on Friday: He wants to know from Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) whether he supports the issuing of weapons passports to the elite soldiers of the armed forces.

As the "Wiener Zeitung" reported, dozens of Jagdkommando soldiers applied for a gun pass after the terrorist attack in Vienna on November 2nd. This entitles you to carry category B weapons - handguns and semi-automatic firearms - with you. Around 50 proceedings are pending with the administrative authorities.

"Strange and incomprehensible"

The authorities deal with the applications differently. A weapons pass was issued in five cases, and three authorities rejected the application. In other cases, the authorities announce in statements that the application will probably be given a negative decision.

For Hafenecker it is "strange" that some authorities do not issue a gun pass to Jagdkommando soldiers. He describes the regional differences in the practice of the authorities as "incomprehensible". In his inquiry to Nehammer, Hafenecker asks whether the Ministry of the Interior is planning a decree to ensure uniform and positive decision-making practice. The current situation is unsatisfactory "both in the interests of public and personal security" of the soldiers.

The background: According to the Weapons Act, a weapons pass must be issued if the applicant is exposed to particular dangers "which can most appropriately be effectively countered with armed violence". The soldiers take these dangers for granted. They fear acts of revenge if their data ends up in extremist hands due to data leaks during anti-terrorism operations abroad. The soldiers also assume that they could be spied on in Austria.

For some authorities this is not enough. "A mere vague fear of a possible threat" is not sufficient for issuing a weapons pass, according to one authority. FPÖ politician Hafenecker wants to know from Nehammer how he assesses the threat to the elite soldiers.

If there is no particular danger, an authority can also issue a weapons pass at its own discretion. The interests of those who want to carry a weapon must be weighed against the public interest. Here, too, there are various opinions. In May 2020, the Provincial Administrative Court of Vienna decided that a Jagdkommando soldier against whom there was no specific threat should be issued with a weapons pass at its discretion. Some authorities, however, decided to the disadvantage of the soldiers, since the use of weapons "leads to a risk to bystanders". (dab)