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Thread: Bringing a knife into a European country?

  1. #1
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    Bringing a knife into a European country?


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    I am going on a trip in a few weeks and will be visiting England, France and Germany. I have searched for and found plenty information about what I can and can't carry in these countries. What I can't find is if it is legal to bring a knife into these countries. For example, if I have a UK legal knife in my checked bag and for whatever reason it is searched @ Heathrow, will I get into any trouble? I find it ridiculous that I have to worry about this but I want to make sure nothing screws up my much needed vacation. Hopefully someone here can shed some light on transporting a legal blade into England, France and Germany. Thanks in advance for the help.

    ET

  2. #2
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    I don't know the legal answer to your question, but in cases like this you might consider buying a usable but relatively inexpensive folder in each country and gifting it to someone before you leave. Knife laws are very idiosyncratic and subject to a lot of subjective interpretation. Getting arrested would more than ruin a vacation and probably blow heck out of your budget.

  3. #3
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    That was always my back up plan. I kind of liked the idea of buying one nice knife to take on the trip and keeping it as a memento. I think buying a new knife in each country might be the safest thing though. I sure wouldn't want to get arrested in a foreign country! This is the first real vacation I have taken in 10 years so I need to make sure I don't do anything to jeopardize it. I'll wait and see if I can't dig up any more information on the laws before deciding what I am going to do. Thanks for the input.

  4. #4
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    I really doubt you'll have any problem. You may run into security issues at museums and such. Last year I was in Paris and had to go through metal detectors before climbing the Eiffel Tower. Funny thing was, I tossed my Case peanut into the bowl along with my keys and coins and watch and the guard didn't bat an eye ..... I also had an Opinel no. 8 in my backpack that went right through the x-ray without a problem. I doubt I would have been that lucky at the Louvre though.

  5. #5
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    I'm watching your thread with interest because I'm also going overseas this summer (just England, though). Getting into some kind of legal issue could be a huge PITA, or worse, and very expensive (just for starters).

    Quote Originally Posted by Talley1013 View Post
    That was always my back up plan. I kind of liked the idea of buying one nice knife to take on the trip and keeping it as a memento. I think buying a new knife in each country might be the safest thing though. I sure wouldn't want to get arrested in a foreign country! This is the first real vacation I have taken in 10 years so I need to make sure I don't do anything to jeopardize it. I'll wait and see if I can't dig up any more information on the laws before deciding what I am going to do. Thanks for the input.

  6. #6
    I would buy a SAK everywhere; they're available at all airports, and most touristy spots. Cheap, and you can just leave them behind.

    There are tons of ways to bring back a momento of a great trip and all its aspects. I would choose one that wasn't so high risk.

  7. #7
    I've travelled a lot within Europe by air. As long as your knife is in the checked baggage, then you won't have a problem. It's perfectly legal to bring your knives on your trip.

    I once travelled to Turkey with a Gerber LMF II in the bottom of my backpack, that i had forgotten all about. I only noticed the knife when I got back. The bag was checked, that's why I didn't experience any problems.
    Long live the weasels!

  8. #8
    It is possible that you could have a problem with locking knives in the UK. Laws vary, and so I have always gone without any sort of knife when traveling to Europe.
    I have purchased them there and brought them back in my checked luggage - that is a different story. You can always mail a knife back to the U.S., if it is worth it to do so.
    In some places, e.g. Norway, you can get a hefty fine for carrying any sort of knife.

  9. #9
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    I find it absolutely disgusting that one cant have a small folder on them at all times anywhere they go. I mean in what universe is making it illegal to have an edc blade on you NOT a direct violation of basic human rights. And I would put all the money I have on the fact that making it illegal DOES NOT decrease crime.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Rez View Post
    I find it absolutely disgusting that one cant have a small folder on them at all times anywhere they go. I mean in what universe is making it illegal to have an edc blade on you NOT a direct violation of basic human rights. And I would put all the money I have on the fact that making it illegal DOES NOT decrease crime.
    Amen, bro! Every time I think I'm not allowed to carry even a swiss army knife (!!!) I get angry. So so so stupid. Robbers, of course, go around with whatever they please. Shameful s**t.

  11. #11
    You will be at major risk in the UK carrying any bladed instrument up to and including scissors and multitools, foreigner or not, if you are searched by police for the right/wrong reasons. They have gotten fairly fanatical and aggressive towards knife crime considering the coverage and stigmas. There have been a number of laws passed in the last 20 years that are pretty damning.

    Also - legislation changes based on location rather drastically. You can be guilty in one municipality and not another. This completely invalidates everything else I'm about to tell you, because local laws trump it.

    1- No blade over 3'.
    2- "Good reason" to possess. Subject to interpretation by police.
    3- Carried only to and from places where you have a good reason.
    4- Don't open carry.
    5- The locking mechanism thing is unclear. Many police believe your sub 3' pocket knife needs to be non locking in order to comply. Whether this is actually true or not is up to debate, in the courts. Stick with no lock.
    (A Crown Court case (Harris v DPP), ruled (case law). A lock knife for all legal purposes, is the same as a fixed blade knife. A folding pocket knife must be readily foldable at all times. If it has a mechanism that prevents folding, it's a lock knife (or for legal purposes, a fixed blade) The Court of Appeal (REGINA - v - DESMOND GARCIA DEEGAN 1998) upheld the Harris ruling stating that "folding was held to mean non-locking". No leave to appeal was granted.)

    You will get arrested for box cutters, screwdrivers, scisscors, kiridashi, sharpened toothbrushes, and any other pointed or bladed instrument that is greater than 3 inches, a fixed blade, or otherwise seems like your carrying it around to potentially stab someone with. Self defense is not considered a good reason.

  12. #12
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    I spent some months in Germany (in 2010), maybe I can help. There are some limitations about knife carry; you can carry these knives without legal issues:
    - two handed opening knives, regardless of blade length or locking mechanism (Search more information about this point since I've heard that recently in some Lander the law changed)
    - non-locking folders (e. i.: small swiss army knives)
    - fixed blades with a blade length of 12 cm (4.73 inches) and under

    Some knives are strictly forbidden:
    - balisong (totally illegal after a school shooting)
    - gravity knives, OTF, autos, push dagger
    - "knives meant to be weapons", like double-edge knives (survival knives with serrated back can be considered double-edge), belt buckle knives, knives with knuckle duster handles, sword-sticks, machetes, axes.

    Don't EVER bring a knife in a public event or in places that are usually crowded. Concerts, speeches and universities must be considered no-knives zone, carring weapons in such cases violates the right of assembly and it's a serious felony. Batons and eggs (yes, eggs) are forbidden as well in these cases.

    When I lived in Berlin I usually had with me a Blackhawk Kalista (fixed blade, ca. 8 cm blade) or a Meyerco Wharning (fixed, even smaller). Technically, a knife like the Kalista is legal to carry; still I've never been searched by a policeman, and people usually flip when they see a fixed blade, so I wouldn't risk. Never had a problem at the airport with them (they were in a sealed box, no hand luggage of course)
    My suggestion: said small swiss army knife or nothing at all.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szilard View Post
    You will be at major risk in the UK carrying any bladed instrument up to and including scissors and multitools, foreigner or not, if you are searched by police for the right/wrong reasons. They have gotten fairly fanatical and aggressive towards knife crime considering the coverage and stigmas. There have been a number of laws passed in the last 20 years that are pretty damning.

    Also - legislation changes based on location rather drastically. You can be guilty in one municipality and not another. This completely invalidates everything else I'm about to tell you, because local laws trump it.

    1- No blade over 3'.
    2- "Good reason" to possess. Subject to interpretation by police.
    3- Carried only to and from places where you have a good reason.
    4- Don't open carry.
    5- The locking mechanism thing is unclear. Many police believe your sub 3' pocket knife needs to be non locking in order to comply. Whether this is actually true or not is up to debate, in the courts. Stick with no lock.
    (A Crown Court case (Harris v DPP), ruled (case law). A lock knife for all legal purposes, is the same as a fixed blade knife. A folding pocket knife must be readily foldable at all times. If it has a mechanism that prevents folding, it's a lock knife (or for legal purposes, a fixed blade) The Court of Appeal (REGINA - v - DESMOND GARCIA DEEGAN 1998) upheld the Harris ruling stating that "folding was held to mean non-locking". No leave to appeal was granted.)

    You will get arrested for box cutters, screwdrivers, scisscors, kiridashi, sharpened toothbrushes, and any other pointed or bladed instrument that is greater than 3 inches, a fixed blade, or otherwise seems like your carrying it around to potentially stab someone with. Self defense is not considered a good reason.
    That's a pretty big knife...I can understand why someone might hassle you over it...
    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

    "Chance favours the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur
    #929 in RyanW's 2014 GAW!

  14. #14
    I live in a state with really harsh knife laws at the moment, and if there was a sub 3' rule here practically every knife I have would be illegal. Serious

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szilard View Post
    I live in a state with really harsh knife laws at the moment, and if there was a sub 3' rule here practically every knife I have would be illegal. Serious
    You know you're using a foot notation in your info...right...not inches...3"=3 inches/3'=3 feet.

    More to a poin...Im lucky...at stringent as the guns laws here where I live are...the knife laws are nowhere near as stringent. If you can fold a sword and put it in your pockets...you're good. I, too, would like more info on international laws...specifically Ireland as I'll be spending 9 days there this fall and I feel naked w/o a knife.
    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

    "Chance favours the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur
    #929 in RyanW's 2014 GAW!

  16. #16
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    This is obviously not legal advice so do not take it as such, but I have personally never had a problem with bringing a knife with me in the checked luggage anywhere in Europe. This assumes that you don't bring an "evil" knife though, such as balisongs or autos. Carrying them around on your person is a of course a different story all together and depends on the country in question.

    Since another poster mentioned Norway, I just thought I'd chip in with a bit of info. It's true that it's generally illegal to carry a knife here, excepting activities that take place in the woods or on the work site of course. The funny thing is that you can legally carry a fixed blade or non-locking folder with a blade shorter than 6 cm (or 2.35") on your person on a plane. It's generally illegal to carry it on the street but on a plane, sure, go ahead. You think you have it bad in some states?

  17. #17
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    thanks for the info brothers!...the wife and I are flying into Rome for our honeymoon and going on a cruise. I was planning on a leatherman and a svord peasant folder in my checked luggage, but I will probably be coming back with some local goodies (if I can find a knife shop while walking around) any recommendations for a good shop near/in Rome?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by shockjockey24 View Post
    thanks for the info brothers!...the wife and I are flying into Rome for our honeymoon and going on a cruise. I was planning on a leatherman and a svord peasant folder in my checked luggage, but I will probably be coming back with some local goodies (if I can find a knife shop while walking around) any recommendations for a good shop near/in Rome?
    Glad to hear about people coming to visit my beautiful country Anyway, carrying any kind of blade in a city is strictly forbidden; swiss army knives, multi-tools, peasant folders... even a 1' blade is illegal. If you're searched by the police and they find a blade on you, you may end up in trouble. Museums' security is quite tight, many places in Rome have metal detectors, so I suggest you to keep your blades in your hotel room. If you have a double-edge knife or an auto, things get even worse since those knives are considered weapons and you need a permit to buy them. (up to 2 years of detention for carrying such a knife)
    Taking a knife from the knife shop to your hotel room is fine: just keep it in the box, if you travel by car put it in the trunk and keep your receipt with you (scontrino in italian).

    The are many good knife stores in Rome; I only know these shops, but try to ask your hotel's reception:
    1) Coltelleria Barone
    2) AzLame
    3) Zoppo (shop and sharpening)

    Since you're in Italy, I suggest you to visit Maniago, "the city of knives". It's in northern Italy, quite far from Rome but it's worth it. Actually, it's amazing. (lots of knives, good wines and good food). Have a nice holiday!
    Last edited by Olive Tree; 07-15-2012 at 11:44 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Olive Tree View Post
    Some knives are strictly forbidden:
    - balisong (totally illegal after a school shooting)
    How'd somebody manage to shoot someone with one of those?


  20. #20
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    I spent a year in europe, traveled to every country, and had my leatherman charge on me the whole time with never a problem.

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