Are butterfly knives legal in the UK

Austria is the land of knives

Vienna - Little good news has recently been reported about Messer. The proportion of knives used as weapons in violent crimes has increased enormously: According to the Ministry of the Interior, only 272 reports were filed in 2008, compared to 1,060 in the previous year. Since almost a third of all suspects identified were asylum seekers or non-EU citizens, this should be the case The ban on firearms for this population group should be extended to all weapons, including knives that are considered weapons. Kitchen knives or pocket knives that are classified as utility items are not affected.

Switchblade knives allowed in Austria

But what are the rules for knives in Austria? "A Richtiga Bua hot a knife and a Schnua", it was once said in the distant past. Today the smartphone is the playground for adventurers who are young at heart, but knives of all kinds are still very popular. And that is no coincidence, because compared to many other European countries, Austria is a knife paradise. People aged 18 and over are allowed to have butterfly knives or switchblades in their pockets, put military knives in their boots and, if they want, dangle a tomahawk from their belts.

Prohibition at meetings

Whether you can use it to get into public buildings, means of transport or bars, of course, depends on the respective house rules. It is also not allowed to attend meetings armed.

In Austria, "the acquisition, import, possession and carrying of weapons whose shape is suitable to simulate another object or which are disguised with objects of daily use" is prohibited in Austria, according to the Weapons Act. In the case of knives, this includes stabbing weapons disguised as ballpoint pens, so-called neck knives, which look like pendants, but also historical classics such as the rapier hidden in a walking stick.

A kitchen knife is not a weapon

Whether a knife is a weapon is regulated in the Weapons Act as follows: "Weapons are objects which, by their nature, are intended to eliminate or reduce the ability of people to attack or defend themselves through direct action." Even if a kitchen knife can also be used for criminal purposes, it is primarily a kitchen knife, not a weapon. A switchblade whose blade pops out and is fixed at the push of a button, on the other hand, is not intended for peeling potatoes; it is considered a weapon. This classification only means that the knives are taboo for people under 18. And: If a person is banned from weapons, this applies not only to firearms, but also to corresponding knives.

The length of the blade

The length of the blade is irrelevant in Austria. In Germany, yes. There, for example, switchblades with a blade length of 8.5 centimeters or more are prohibited if the blade jumps out of the handle. Jumpers with a straight blade are generally not allowed.

In Germany there are much stricter knife rules. The Federal Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden specifies a weapons law relevance for certain models in declaratory notices. It is crucial, for example, whether the blades are sharpened on one or both sides, what shape a blade has, or whether knives can be opened with one hand.

Carpet knife problematic in Germany

The diverse German rules also lead to strange decisions. For example, drivers were punished if they carried rescue knives with them to cut belts. In Germany, only craftsmen are allowed to have carpet knives with them. Even multitools such as Leatherman or Swisstool with a mechanically fixable blade have actually no place in a private backpack in Germany.

In some countries, like Belgium, you have to be able to explain exactly why you have a knife with you during controls. In Finland, on the other hand, knives are only allowed outside of the kitchen in nature.

Plastic knives banned in the UK

In the UK, plastic knives that metal detectors do not respond to have been placed on the prohibited list. In addition, the British meanwhile interpret the term weapon very broadly, it applies to all objects for which no conclusive reason can be presented for taking and which can be used as a weapon. The same applies in Austria in weapon prohibition zones, which can be imposed according to the Security Police Act. (Michael Simoner, November 29, 2018)