Knife legislation is the body of statutory law, promulgated by a government, that prohibits, restricts or criminalises the otherwise legal manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, importation, transport or use of knives.
To carry knives in public is restricted by law in many countries. Exceptions may be made for pocket knives and knives used for work-related purposes like professional knife etc, depending on the laws of a given jurisdiction.
To carry or possess certain type of knives is perceived as deadly or offensive weapons such as switchblade knife, automatic or butterfly knife which may be restricted or prohibited even where knives are legally carried on the person, this right may not extend to all circumstances and places and it may be prohibited at public buildings, schools or Courthouses and at public events.
According to the Weapons act 1990, a person must not physically possess a knife in a public place or school, unless he has a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse includes-
- To perform a lawful duty, activity or employment
- To participate in a lawful entertainment, sport or recreation
- For use for a lawful purpose
The act goes on to give examples like
- One may carry a knife on his belt for performing work in primary production
- A fisher may carry a knife while fishing
- A person may use a knife to cut or prepare food at a restaurant in a public place or when having a picnic in a park
- A person may carry a Swiss army knife or a pen knife for use for its normal utility purposes
The last line in the rules suggest that it is OK to carry around a Swiss army knife but do not try to cart a Bowie knife or similar around as it may cause trouble. Do not try to carry it through Security at airports.
It is an offence to carry any bladed or sharp instrument in a public place with the exception of a folding pocket knife having a blade that is 7.62 cm (3 inches) or less.
A lock life is not a folding pocket knife and so it is an offence to carry such a knife irrespective of the length of the blade, if you are not having any good reason. A lock knife has a blade that can be locked and re- folded only by pressing a button.
It has a mechanism which locks the blade in position when extended fully, The Blade cannot be closed without releasing the mechanism. A lock knife is not considered as an offensive weapon as these were made with the specific purpose in mind and were not intended as a weapon.To possess a lock knife in a public place without any good reason is an offence.
To possess a multi tool incorporating a prohibited blade or pointed article is an offence, even if there are other tools , which may be useful to a person in a public place. For example – a can Opener or a screwdriver. It is for the person to prove that they have a good reason for possession.
The Ban is for the person in possession of such an instrument to prove on the balance of probabilities that there is a good reason for them to possess it. It has to be genuine, for example someone backpacking across the lake district may be expected to have a knife for the preparation of a meal.
It will be more difficult to justify on the streets of a city or town but there are occasions when someone is going to a martial arts sports or scout meeting which is easily checked . The penalty for this, is a prison sentence of four years.
You should be aware that some bladed articles may be considered as offensive weapons for example daggers, flick knives and butterfly knives . There is an offence of carrying an offensive weapon in public without lawful authority or any reasonable excuse.
The law allows you to carry non-locking pocket knives with the blade length of 3 inches without any valid reason. You can carry a knife which exceeds these guidelines in public, but you have to remember that then you need a good reason to carry it.
Reasons To Carry A Knife In Public Include
- Taking knives to use at work to and from work.
- Taking knives to a museum or gallery to be exhibited
- Knife is going to be used for film, television, theatre, historical re – enactment or religious purposes, for example the kirpan some Sikhs carry.
It is decided by the court if you have a good reason to carry a knife if you are charged with carrying it illegally.
Abuse Is Still Illegal
To use any knife( legal or illegal) in any threatening way is also illegal. Using your Swiss Army knife in any threatening way is still illegal.
Knife Free Zones
There are zones where you are not allowed to carry any knife at all, irrespective of size or locking mechanism. This is often the case in football stadiums, clubs, bars, City Centres and other crowded places.
Buying, Selling Or Carrying Knives - Basic Laws
It is illegal to –
- Sell a knife to someone under 18 unless it is having a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less.
- Carrying a knife in public without any good reason, unless it has a folding blade with the cutting edge 3 inches long or less
- To carry, sell or buy any type of knife that is banned
- Use a knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife)
The current scenario for legality of knives is that –
- To carry spring actuated knives is illegal
- To carry button actuated knives is illegal
- To carry knives of more than the specified length is illegal
As long as you are not carrying a very large knife, guns or explosives it is absolutely ok to carry a Swiss knife. Airlines however are very strict about it and you have to pack your Swiss knife with your check-in luggage.
In the Shopping malls – there are some shopping malls, where If the security finds you with the Swiss knife then they will ask you to deposit it with the luggage department. You can later carry back the item you deposited using the token they gave you when you had deposited the item.
Swiss army knives are not typically considered weapons anyway. But that’s the relevant section of the law. There are state laws, but nothing indicates that you are going to jail for carrying a pocket knife. Some privately owned establishments may do weapons checks but it is not heard about anyone’s SAK confiscated for reasons other than good old-fashioned corruption.
So anything with a folding blade 3 “or less is legal to carry in a public place. This includes the majority of Swiss Army Knives.
- If it has a locking mechanism it’s illegal
- If the blade doesn’t fold, it’s illegal
- If the blade is bigger than 3 inches (7.62 cm) it’s illegal