WHAT IS THE PERMITTED BLADE LENGTH?
Regulations on the use of knives in the German Weapons Act
Knives: useful tools and dangerous weapons
Carving wood, cutting vegetables, meat or fabrics—knives are usually tools that are used in the household and kitchen, for handicraft work and for outdoor activities. But knives can also be used as weapons. The German Weapons Act therefore regulates which knives may be carried and for which the purchase or possession is already prohibited. In this article, we will deal with the ban on carrying. We explain which blade length is allowed and may be used in public.
Knife in the Weapons Act
According to German weapons law, knives can be regarded as a weapon because they can be used to hurt or even kill other people. The degree of danger that can be posed by a knife depends on the type and design of the model. The law therefore regulates the acquisition, possession and use of certain knives. Below, we look at what needs to be noted when openly carrying knives permitted to be acquired and possessed.
What blade length is allowed?
Even if a knife was actually developed and sold as a butcher's knife or rescue knife e.g., it can still be classified as a weapon. The decisive factor is the length of the blade. Which blade length is allowed, which not? If the blade is longer than 12 cm, the knife falls under the Weapons Act and is not allowed be carried in public according to § 42a German Weapons Act (WaffG). The knife may only be transported in a closed container. Knives with blade lengths of less than 12 cm may be transported unlocked.
Ban on single-handed knives
It is generally forbidden to openly carry lockable single-handed knives. As soon as the folding mechanism of a pocket knife can be operated one-handed, the carrying ban is applied. In your home, you must store single-handed knives safely and inaccessible to others. This means that the knife must be stored in a locked cabinet or other container. It is not allowed to be accessible in your home or on your property. If you leave your home or property with the knife, it must be transported in a closed container.
In a nutshell
If the following conditions are met, you are not allowed to carry your knife in public:
- The knife is a single-handed knife.
- The knife has a blade of more than 12 cm.
Exceptions to the ban on carrying
If there is a legitimate interest in publicly carrying a knife that is actually covered by the ban on carrying, the German Weapons Act provides for exceptions. A permit can be claimed from the appropriate weapons authority if the knife is required for the exercise of a profession, the cultivation of customs and traditions or a sporting event. This ist valid e.g. if the knife is used for hunting or rescue operations or by scouts as a sheath knife.
Prohibition of the carrying of dummy weapons and certain portable objects
(1) Prohibited are
- dummy weapons,
- cutting and thrusting weapons according to Annex 1, Section 1, Subsection 2, No 1.1, or
- knives with a blade that can be locked with one hand (single-handed knives) or knives with a fixed blade with a blade length of more than 12 cm
(2) Paragraph 1 does not apply to
- use in photographic, film or television recordings or theatrical performances
- transport in a locked container,
- the carrying of the objects according to paragraph 1, no. 2 and 3, provided that there is a legitimate interest.
Further regulations remain unaffected.
(3) A legitimate interest according to paragraph 2 sentence 1 No. 3 exists in particular if the carrying of the objects is carried out in connection with the exercise of the profession, the cultivation of customs and traditions, sports or a generally accepted purpose..
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What blade length is permitted for pocket knives?
If your pocket knife is not a single-handed knife (i.e. the blade can only be folded out with both hands) and the blade is shorter than 12 cm, you can carry it with you in public without any problems.