Generally, any German can apply for a weapons permit. There's a list of thing required to complete the application (the class itself being the last item). Generally, because of the hassle.....you just don't have that many Germans who want to apply themselves for the paperwork, class, etc.
So, plan "B" tends to fall into place.
I noticed a comment in the news from the VDB (German Association of German Gunsmiths and Arms Dealers). Over the past year, their chief spokesperson noted that pepper spray purchases have doubled.
The neat thing about pepper spray.....unlike about ninety-percent of the alternate measures....is that there is no permit, no application, and no classes required. Well, at least presently.
The other potential defensive measure that is legal and without paperwork? Tasers.
So, in most significant German towns.....there's a knife or gun type shop, and you can find either the taser or pepper-spray device for sale.
Oddly, what the experts say is that presently.....there are two things in Germany which are drawing attention to defensive weapons. One of course is the Paris attack and growing terrorism trend. The second one is a curious one.....an increasing number of wolves noted in rural areas of Germany. The public is told (almost weekly via regional news commentators) that wolves are not a threat to the human population. It's believed to some degree.....but farmers and hunters debate the message and the safe angle to wolves being in a public area.
All of this is simply adding up to more interest and more willing nature to accept the paperwork and classes required.....to have a weapon, or go to the plan "B" measure.
The idea that Germans may give you in a public forum that they don't allow weapons into private hands or the public has accepted absolute control?
Well, here's the simplicity of this. No one is denied a weapon, unless they apply and there's some crime history, some mental health issue, or there's a physical or mental impairment which makes it all but impossible for you to handle the weapon.
A regular guy, with no arrests, no mental issues, and competent enough to take the class? He gets to the end.....gets the permit.....and buys his first weapon. This big threshold that Germans like to brag about in their public forums? If you have an arrest or two, alcohol issues, or a mental stress condition with drug history? You will be denied a weapon.
To be kinda honest.....if one were to take Mainz as an example and Memphis as a counter-example.....one could walk around Mainz twenty-four hours a day....seven days a week....and never feel threatened within any neighborhood of the city (within city limits). In Memphis, there are various areas of town where upon sundown.....you really ought not be walking around, period. In some areas of Memphis....it's not safe to drive a car around after 10PM....unless you have a weapon in the car.
For me? The wolf problem is probably a bigger issue....since I am one of those enthusiasts who walk the trails around Wiesbaden. No one within two hundred kilometers of my village has reported seeing a wolf.....so I'm kinda feeling safe. Maybe two or three years into the future.....things might change, and a wolf report or two....might convince me to carry a pepper-spray container as a minimum.
Things changing on pepper-spray? This is a curious thing. I've noticed in the local news on a dozen occasions in the past year.....where some harsh discussion started up between two parties.....and one guy or gal used pepper-spray against the other. It wasn't really a life or death situation.....just where someone got provoked and decided 'enough was enough'. I expect the political folks to get all disturbed eventually, and make up some stupid permit for pepper-spray......along with a class....and try to educate people not to use the stuff unless absolutely necessary.
So, being defensive in Germany isn't illegal.....at least not yet.