Assisted Opening Knives in UK

WhizzBang

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
24
Hi I'm going to the U.S. In a couple of weeks and was wondering if it was legal to be able to take home an Assisted Opening knife?
is this allowed?
Will I get into trouble if it's found in my main luggage (in the hold)?
thanks Whizz.


WhizzBang.
 

Norm

Retired Administrator
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
9,515
Location
Australia
30 seconds of Google and I found this

Banned in the UK

flick knives (also called ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’) - where the blade is hidden inside the handle and shoots out when a button is pressed
butterfly knives - where the blade is hidden inside a handle that splits in two around it, like wings; the handles swing around the blade to open or close it
disguised knives, eg where the blade is hidden inside a belt buckle or fake mobile phone
gravity knives
sword-sticks
samurai swords (with some exceptions, including antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954)
hand or foot-claws
push daggers
hollow kubotan (cylinder-shaped keychain) holding spikes
shuriken (also known as ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’)
kusari-gama (sickle attached to a rope, cord or wire)
kyoketsu-shoge (hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or wire)
kusari (weight attached to a rope, cord or wire)
This is not a complete list of banned knives. Contact your local police to check if a knife is illegal.

Norm
 
Last edited:

WhizzBang

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
24
Thnx norm but reading that I can't see how AO knives come under those. As they are not flick knives as there is no button.
What is classed as a gravity knife?
And other forums have mixed opinions about whether they are legal are not.
It seems a bit of a grey area and want to know your opinion if whether or not it is worth the risk?


WhizzBang.
 

Grizzman

Well-known member
Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
3,259
Location
Kansas City
I'd guess that the majority of assisted opening knives have locking blades. The site to which Norm linked states that locking blades are illegal to carry in public without good reason. The "good reason" part makes this a less than black and white legal topic, and only you can decide if the risk is worth taking.
 

smokinbasser

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2003
Messages
1,194
Location
East Texas
A gravity knife is one where the blade will "fall "out of the handle on its own, no spring action is used. IMO a gravity knife action is not a safe action as it can close just as easily and if the operator has a hand wrapped around the handle it could cut them as it swings freely towards the closed position.
 

WhizzBang

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
24
I'd guess that the majority of assisted opening knives have locking blades. The site to which Norm linked states that locking blades are illegal to carry in public without good reason. The "good reason" part makes this a less than black and white legal topic, and only you can decide if the risk is worth taking.

Hey Grizzman, I was only going to use it on my boat and at home. Wasn't going to carry it in public, unless for fishing if that is a viable reason and smokinbasser I'm not going to get a gravity knife, I was just wondering what they were and if they AO knives were in that category.


WhizzBang.
 

Grizzman

Well-known member
Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
3,259
Location
Kansas City
I think (not an expert on the subject) that they are considered separate knife categories. The linked webpage also states, "This is not a complete list of banned knives. Contact your local police to check if a knife is illegal."

I expect your local police agency to be the best source for this answer, due to the ambiguity of the info.


 

Norm

Retired Administrator
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
9,515
Location
Australia
You could always purchase the knife, be sure to declare it to customs and be prepared to lose it.

Norm
 

Chicken Drumstick

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
1,478
Location
UK
30 seconds of Google and I found this

Banned in the UK

flick knives (also called ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’) - where the blade is hidden inside the handle and shoots out when a button is pressed
butterfly knives - where the blade is hidden inside a handle that splits in two around it, like wings; the handles swing around the blade to open or close it
disguised knives, eg where the blade is hidden inside a belt buckle or fake mobile phone
gravity knives
sword-sticks
samurai swords (with some exceptions, including antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954)
hand or foot-claws
push daggers
hollow kubotan (cylinder-shaped keychain) holding spikes
shuriken (also known as ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’)
kusari-gama (sickle attached to a rope, cord or wire)
kyoketsu-shoge (hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or wire)
kusari (weight attached to a rope, cord or wire)
This is not a complete list of banned knives. Contact your local police to check if a knife is illegal.

Norm
You missed a rather critical point in your cut and paste Norm.

[h=2]Banned knives[/h]There is a ban on the sale of some knives:


The list you copied is about selling such knives, not owning them.
 

Chicken Drumstick

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
1,478
Location
UK
Op - Honestly I think there is no actual answer to your question. And any judgement will be the sole 'opinion' of that person/body at the time. This includes the Police and other legal bodies. Remember in the UK the Police have tried (more than once) to prosecute a person for carrying an illegal length folding blade by claiming you have to measure the serrations on the blade to get it's full length.

The Police 'enforce the law', they don't write it.

For guidance I would suggest heading over here and asking:
http://www.britishblades.com/forums/forum.php
 

subwoofer

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
2,496
Location
Hove, UK
You will find a lot of discussion about this in British Blades Forum.

The bottom line is that although assisted knives are not illegal in the UK by the 'letter of the law', they are certainly would be based on the 'intent of the law' (designed to cover easily deployable and concealable knives) and would be if the law were to be updated. This would most likely also include 'flippers' and possibly even all one handed openers.

This makes them an EXTREMELY grey area and one where you won't want to push things too far. Owned and kept on private property should be fine, but taking one out (even when there is good reason) would be very dodgy.

Assisted knives are currently available to buy in the UK so that might be the safest approach. You can also effectively disable the assisted aspect by tightening the blade pivot. Customs officers may only inspect and item, not modify it or undo any screws/bolts. You have no need to declare the item unless its value is above the allowed amount.

I've imported several assisted knives into the UK and only had one seized. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was a "Schrade Extreme Out The Front Assisted Open Pocket Knife" (google it), however if you are questioning if assisted knives are OK, this is also not illegal by the letter of the law, but would you say it was OK for the UK?

Grey, GRey, GREY!!!
 

Norm

Retired Administrator
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Messages
9,515
Location
Australia
You missed a rather critical point in your cut and paste Norm.

[h=2]Banned knives[/h]There is a ban on the sale of some knives:


The list you copied is about selling such knives, not owning them.

Strange that you say that, the overall heading is :Buying and carrying knives: the law obviously if a knife is banned from sale that also means banned from owning, their cutting it off at the source.

Norm
 
Last edited:

subwoofer

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
2,496
Location
Hove, UK
Strange that you say that, the overall heading is :Buying and carrying knives: the law obviously if a knife is banned from sale that also means banned from owning, their cutting it off at the source.

Norm

Ah, but actually the wonders of UK law mean that although you can't buy, sell, manufacture or import banned knives, you can own them (the theory being that if you owned them pre-ban you can continue to own them). :thinking:

So 'if by magic' you happen to have one of these banned knives in your home, you can continue to own it.

You are right about cutting off the source, but the intention is for natural wastage, as people get old and die, the knives end up being destroyed (although I'm not sure what the law has to say about inheriting these knives).
 
Last edited:

WhizzBang

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
24
You will find a lot of discussion about this in British Blades Forum.

The bottom line is that although assisted knives are not illegal in the UK by the 'letter of the law', they are certainly would be based on the 'intent of the law' (designed to cover easily deployable and concealable knives) and would be if the law were to be updated. This would most likely also include 'flippers' and possibly even all one handed openers.

This makes them an EXTREMELY grey area and one where you won't want to push things too far. Owned and kept on private property should be fine, but taking one out (even when there is good reason) would be very dodgy.

Assisted knives are currently available to buy in the UK so that might be the safest approach. You can also effectively disable the assisted aspect by tightening the blade pivot. Customs officers may only inspect and item, not modify it or undo any screws/bolts. You have no need to declare the item unless its value is above the allowed amount.

I've imported several assisted knives into the UK and only had one seized. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was a "Schrade Extreme Out The Front Assisted Open Pocket Knife" (google it), however if you are questioning if assisted knives are OK, this is also not illegal by the letter of the law, but would you say it was OK for the UK?

Grey, GRey, GREY!!!


I am not intending to take it into public exactly, only at home and on my boat at sea. I'm just getting a cheap stiletto style for the gimmick and a Kershaw leek/chive. I am aware of the Schrade Extreme. Although it does look cool I'm not going to get one just incase. And chicken drumstick I'm going to using my knives for a purpose so length will not matter so I can't get screwed over on that one, but I have noticed to assisted opening knives seem to be a rare occurrence in British shops and online. Only US websites really stock them so as I'm there I think I will pick one or two up.

Also I'm not going to ask my local police for information because if I do bring back an 'illegal' knife (by accident obviously) I will have shot myself in the foot a little. Especially if I do decide to use it in a public place. I remember my friend bringing back flick knives (switch blade knives) back from Thailand and he told me he was shitting himself bring his cases through customs in Singapore because they searched his bags. He got away with it in the end but as assisted knives are technically legal so I cannot see any issues.

Thanks again.


WhizzBang.
 

patoriku

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
10
My understanding of the UK knife law (which is ridiculous btw like the gun law and I'm from there) is that you cannot carry a locking blade period. It doesn't matter how it opens.

As for bringing one back, you're from the UK so you'll go through the faster queue for customs. If you feel the risk of packing it inside your suitcase and not declaring it, is yours to choose. I certainly wouldn't tell customs and you might as well just give the office 50 quid.
 

8steve88

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2013
Messages
161
Location
Cleveland U.K.
My understanding of the UK knife law (which is ridiculous btw like the gun law and I'm from there) is that you cannot carry a locking blade period. It doesn't matter how it opens.

As for bringing one back, you're from the UK so you'll go through the faster queue for customs. If you feel the risk of packing it inside your suitcase and not declaring it, is yours to choose. I certainly wouldn't tell customs and you might as well just give the office 50 quid.

You can legally carry a non-locking knife with a cutting edge less than 3" in length. Get caught going into a sporting event, concert, club or bar along with most other public events will see you answering some very pointed questions.
Owning a locking knife is legal and you can carry a locking knife under or over 3" if you have "good cause" as part of your work tools, camping, bushcrafting - it all depends where you are, something that will get a nod and sent on your way in rural parts will get you detained in towns or cities. Just a bit of common sense, don't look as though you are up for mayhem and a shouting match with a constable and you'll not have a problem - maybe. Up to you but I carry a knife everyday, most often more than one.
Bringing one through customs is another matter, keep it legal and in your checked in non-cabin luggage and tell the officer if stopped at customs what is where and explain the legal nature and don't just let him discover it would be a good idea.
Assisted opening knives are a grey area as already explained, as are flipper opening, they will get detained at customs but you'll probably walk away after explaining that you are terribly sorry and did not realise such a thing could be illegal, trying to offer the officer a £50 note would probably see you in a cell overnight, court, home on next plane.
If you are travelling to the U.K. for any length of time then simply buy one here. Fair warning - U.S.A. Postal Packages seem to be much harsher policed, 2 out of 4 parcels I have had from the U.S.A. have been opened and one knife seized. Other countries I have ordered from seem to be so busy that not everything gets checked. I'm not sure if this is true for passengers as well. If you do decide to buy when you're here then be prepared to be shocked at U.K. prices for U.S.A. made knives. You mentioned a boat - Spyderco Dragonfly 2 Salt will be around $100. Going too and from the boat would be a fair example of good cause for carry, expensive knife, you don't want to leave it on board. ;)
 

Dipti13

Active member
Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
32
I'd guess that the majority of assisted opening knives have locking blades. The site to which Norm linked states that locking blades are illegal to carry in public without good reason. The "good reason" part makes this a less than black and white legal topic, and only you can decide if the risk is worth taking.
According to my knowledge its illegal to carry even an assisted opening knife with you. If you got lucky then take it to home otherwise you can lose it somehow.
 

subwoofer

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
2,496
Location
Hove, UK
According to my knowledge its illegal to carry even an assisted opening knife with you. If you got lucky then take it to home otherwise you can lose it somehow.


Worthy alternative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-zdxhT17RQ


Spyderco PITS Folder

It is my understanding that even locking blades are generally illegal there.


To both:

As has been said many times, in the UK, 'assisted knives' are a grey area. The letter of the law would say they are OK, but the spirit of the law would ban them. It has yet to be proven in court. There is a lot of debate amongst users, all of which is pretty useless as unless there is a court case we will never know for sure. Right now, they are on sale freely on popular UK websites.

Assisted knives will be locking knives from their very nature, and locking knives can be legally carried in public places in the UK with 'good reason' and walking in the countryside can be 'good reason' enough. Walking around in town - No.

Here is my Spyderco PITS review on CPF -
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...n-locking-Sub-3-quot-%96-Titanium-%96-N690Co)

But there are LOADS of UK EDC legal knife options, the SPITS is quite expensive and so not or everyone.
 

ForrestChump

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
3,097
To both:

As has been said many times, in the UK, 'assisted knives' are a grey area. The letter of the law would say they are OK, but the spirit of the law would ban them. It has yet to be proven in court. There is a lot of debate amongst users, all of which is pretty useless as unless there is a court case we will never know for sure. Right now, they are on sale freely on popular UK websites.

Assisted knives will be locking knives from their very nature, and locking knives can be legally carried in public places in the UK with 'good reason' and walking in the countryside can be 'good reason' enough. Walking around in town - No.

Here is my Spyderco PITS review on CPF -
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...n-locking-Sub-3-quot-%96-Titanium-%96-N690Co)

But there are LOADS of UK EDC legal knife options, the SPITS is quite expensive and so not or everyone.

Worthy alternative:

It is my understanding that even locking blades are generally illegal there.

Buttterfly knives and OTF ( out the front / switchblades ) are some of the top sellers in the USA. They are also pretty much illegal to carry most
places. I assume when someone is considering a pocket knife they plan to carry it to most places they go. Im not sure where we disagree?
It's also my understanding most UK LEO rely on mace, batons and speedcuffs as there primary defense tools. If they already have an interest in searching you, I highly doubt popping out a locking, assisted opener would work in your favor. Locking being illegal ( sans the countryside ) assisted being in the grey......

Nice writeup on the PITS by the way, I read that prior to the posted link.
 
Last edited:
Top