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Thread: Central European Knife Law info

  1. Central European Knife Law info


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    Hey folks,
    I am an American living and working in various parts of Central Europe. I am here to offer answers to some questions regarding knife laws in this area, if any. I speak Slovak, Czech, and Hungarian, so anything written, I can translate (if I can find the law) and communicate it back.

    Slovak Law:
    For folders, any folder is able to be carried in public, but the law states that knives of any kind used in a fight which have a blade longer that the width of your palm could be consider offensive weapons and the incident may be considered an attack. Generally, there are no problems at all with knives in Slovakia because there are so many hikers and hunters and knife shops are quite abundant for the sizes of the towns. Small towns and villages sometimes have very loose laws because they are often times a farming community where edged tools are needed for maintained. I could not find a law on automatic/ double edged blades. However, I have seen autos and double edged blades and large machetes in every knife shop I have been to and I have purchased knives online and customs hasn't had a problem them.

    Czech Law:
    Many Czech laws relating to weapons are the same as Slovak law, though I hear gun laws in CZR are less strict than in Slovakia.

    Hungarian Law:
    According to the written law, blades larger than 3 inches are prohibited in all places in Hungary.

    Personally, I have been to Hungary a few times and it is a huge agri-center. I don't believe this law because it is very exclusive, but then again, it is what I have found.

    Ukraine (Eastern Europe)
    Laws are relatively loose in UA, but I recommend if you are visiting (first of all don't visit, but if you are, don't bring any knife). the police will probably shake you down. This happens to most people in some way shape or form.

  2. #2
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    Is the Ukraine that bad?

  3. I went to Ukraine after traveling throughout Europe for about 2 months. The first shop I went to was in Uzgorod, a fairly good sized city. It was a grocery store. At every cash register, behind every cashier there was a security guard and there were about 20 cash registers (large store). They were doing their best to be intimidating but being malnourished makes you small physically. On my way back to the border (into Slovakia) I got pulled over for no reason and clothes were stolen from the trunk of my car after a search. Entering the border at the Ukraine side, I got robbed by a police officer. I stopped at the stop sign, he said I didn't. I think I know what I did. He had me get out and started asking me questions and I complied. He put his gun to my head and demanded that I gave him money. Of course, if I had brought a knife or gun I would have been in violation of law and I wanted to go home so I complied. Then, you have to go to a guard shack to get your passport stamped and if you have a vehicle a small piece of paper stamped as well. They demanded I pay for coffee then they "forgot" to stamp the piece of paper. After waiting 3 hours I had to go back and get it stamped where they again demanded that I pay. Of course, when you see them taking the money it always goes from their hand into their pocket. A few weeks after that, I saw CNN hyping how wonderful Ukraine is and I would like to also say it is complete BS.

    I told my boss this story and he and his wife had a similar experience and then other people have told me other such experiences as well.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for sharing your experience. It's seems like a terrible, oppresslve place.

  5. I hear Kiev is nice, but I'm not going there. IF it is, it is probably because the government wants to keep tourism flowing...

  6. #6
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    It's good to heard from someone in Europe on this sub-forum. Do you know anything about laws in Italy? I have a small understanding based on a knife magazine I translated to English, and from a post by an Italian citizen, but I'm curious what your take is if you know about the laws there.

  7. I speak Spanish ( I am from Southern California) so I understand SOME Italian.

    The way I understand the law is that if a knife is directly on your person (pocket, belt) then it is prohibited no matter what style of blade or size. Reason given can be found in this State Dept. excerpt

    "Thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs. Pairs of accomplices or groups of children are known to divert tourists' attention so that another can pick-pocket them. In one particular routine, one thief throws trash, waste, or ketchup at the victim; a second thief assists the victim in cleaning up the mess; and the third discreetly takes the victim's belongings. Criminals on crowded public transportation slit the bottoms of purses or bags with a razor blade or sharp knife removing the contents.

    Some travelers in Rome, Florence, and Naples have reported incidents where criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. These incidents have been reported near Rome’s Termini train station; at bars and cafes near Rome’s Colosseum, Colle Oppio, Campo de Fiori, and Piazza Navona; and at bars or cafes in the center of Florence and Naples. Criminals using this tactic “befriend” you at a train station, restaurant, café, or bar, and then offer you a drink laced with a sleeping drug. When you fall asleep, criminals steal your valuables and may sexually assault you. Some victims of these assaults in Rome have required hospitalization.

    Thieves are also known to have impersonated police officers in order to steal. The thief shows you a circular plastic sign with the words "police" or “international police" and then in perfect English asks to see your identification and your money. If this happens to you, you should insist on seeing the officer's identification card (documento), before handing over your wallet as impersonators tend not to carry forged documents. You should immediately report thefts or other crimes to the actual police. "

    This law does not apply to people carrying a knife in a backpack or something similar. I think a fanny pack (bum bag for those in the UK) would be borderline. This law does not apply to a tool such as a multitool without a blade (basic victorianox or wenger).

    You need an explicit reason to carry a knife and I would say that if you are a tourist not causing problems you probably won't be searched. However, if you do decide to EDC something and are searched for some reason, you could probably cite the quoted text as a warning for travelers about criminals in Italy to the officers, but I don't know if they would buy it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks, that is similar to the information I had gathered so far. I am traveling there soon and have no intention of carrying any sort of offensive or defensive knife. Rather, I want to keep my SOG Powerlock multitool at least in the general area (like a backpack or briefcase) just because it's darn useful. You can actually swap tools out in powerlocks, so I may just take the knife-blade out before I leave.

    That state department quote brings back memories. I was there in the 1990s and things were mostly the same: Not much in the way of violence, but loads of pickpockets and smooth-talking swindlers.
    Last edited by glistam; 06-28-2011 at 03:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by europeanoutdoorsman View Post
    Hungarian Law:
    According to the written law, blades larger than 3 inches are prohibited in all places in Hungary.

    Personally, I have been to Hungary a few times and it is a huge agri-center. I don't believe this law because it is very exclusive, but then again, it is what I have found.
    Well, in Hungary we measure in metric, not in traditional English scales. Most people here don't know how long one inch in centimeter. Our law says cutting and stabbing length cannot exceed 8cm. It means if you have something which is sharp pointed, but no real cutting edge and longer than 8cm, it's illegal as well. Choil also count in the length, because you can stub until the handle. 8cm is about 3,15 inch

    The following I only heard, no personal experience! It's a usual methond in Hungary that our policemen measure blade length near a cigarette box, which is actually 85mm long, so if you are lucky, you can cheat some extra millimeter.

    No restrictions about locking mechanisms, one hand opening and fix blades. No restrictions on assisted opening knives, like many Kershaws. No restrictions about neck knives, pushdaggers, claws. No restrictions on balisongs/butterfly knives.

    Restrictions on automatic knives and those ones, which can shoot out the blade - our law call them "French knives", but sincerely I have no idea, why. Typically Russian NRS-2 Scout Shooting Knife is like that.
    Last edited by cuccos19; 05-21-2012 at 09:55 AM.

  10. #10
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    Can't tell you much about the countries mentioned above but I can tell you that in Spain you better not carry any kind of knife. At all. If you do so, put it in your bag, and while travelling, keep the bag in the trunk. And if possible, pack it with any kind of camping gear you may also carry.

    A mere Spyderco Delica Wave clipped to my pocket during a police check (they were looking for drugs mostly) got me a 300€ fine (about $400) and it took me a few months to get my knife back. After all the knife was perfectly kept inside a paper bag with no damage, none used it.

    Knives, unless autos or folders with 4"< blades are perfectly legal to own... but no to carry. Kind of nosense I know. Usually, if you are going hiking, climbing, fishing, hunting, traveling, or whatever... you won't have problems at all as long as you don't act stupid or keep showing your knife. Part of my job consists on designing security systems with metal detectors, scanners and such... and I usually go into those buildings carrying a folder and a multitool no problem... It is all up to the officers. Don't carry if you are going out party, don't carry if you are going into an official building (if you must do so, because you carry all your luggage with you, warn the officers and they will just keep your knives untill you go out again).

    I hope this helps,
    Mikel

  11. #11
    Hi guys, I know this is very old post, but I'm looking for some knife laws in Europe and this forum was one of first results, so little clarification may help someone else too.
    I'm from Slovakia and we don't have any law regulating knives(no such thing as blade long as palm). There is only one mention in law, that any cold weapon used or carried in a threatening way(in public place) is punishable.
    Anyway, use any weapon in conflict in other way than self defense, you will have a problem. Other than that, you can carry whatever you want(concealed to not scare people), you can even see people walking around with big 2 handed swords(walking home from shows and so...).

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