Are Training Butterfly Knives Legal In The UK?
The UK prides itself on being a knife safe zone with the law allowing you to carry around certain sized and certain types of knives so long as there is pure, good intent behind carrying that knife. For example, you may be permitted to carry around a swiss army knife if you plan to use it in a TV show.
However, as knife friendly as the UK is, there are still some very tight laws that you must abide by. So what is the law surrounding the right to carry a training butterfly knife in the UK?
What Is The Difference Between Possessing And Carrying?
Before we dive into the legalities of butterfly knives in the UK, we much first define the difference between carrying a knife on you and simply possessing one.
Carrying a knife on you means having it in your pocket or on your person in a public space. This may be on public transport or at a football game where there are knife free zones. Regardless of the knife, if you plan to carry one you must have clearly harmless intent that would hold up in a place of law. This is because more often than not when you are accused of carrying a knife for harmful intent, the evidence will be against you as you were, in fact, carrying a knife.
As for the idea of possessing a knife or any other object that may be deemed a weapon, this is a grey area. The idea is that when you possess a knife, it is for at home purposes such as being part of a collection or as a survival knife.
While you may be allowed to possess some knives, you may not be able to carry them on you. This is the case for a butterfly knife.
Am I Allowed To Import A Butterfly Knife?
No matter what type of knife you are importing, you run the risk of it being seized upon entry into the UK. Once again, this not only goes on the type of knife it is but the intent behind its import. The police have every right to prosecute regardless of the knife you are importing.
As for butterfly knives specifically, it is deemed illegal to import any knife of its kind into the UK. Instead, if you wish to purchase one then it must be done within the UK. Likewise, it is illegal to hire, rent out or give a butterfly knife under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 which was based on the Offensive Weapon Act 1996 so the law on butterfly knives in the UK has been the same for a long while.
That being said, if the knife you plan to import is over 100 years old then it falls under the protection of an antique and can be treated as such within UK borders.
How Would Carrying A Butterfly Knife Been Seen In Court?
Butterfly knives are much like any other knife when it comes to legal issues in court. While this kind of knife is not particularly sharp or can not do an irreparable amount of damage if you were to unintentionally hurt someone, there is still the issue of intent.
Unlike a pocket knife, it is hard to justify carrying a butterfly knife on your person as it is typically a knife used for martial art practices or as training equipment for other kinds of activities. This means that while in these situations you may not be sharing somebody as they are used under very careful observation, it is still deemed as more of a weapon that other legal knives.
Under UK law, if you are to threaten somebody with your knife even if it is just an empty threat or used as a fear tactic, then you are breaking the law. The minute that you voice your intent to use the knife as a weapon, it is seen as an offensive weapon. This not only goes for butterfly knives but other, domestic types of knives too.
This is why it is better to not carry a butterfly knife with you at all as it can easily be seen as being a weapon or planned to be used as a weapon. In fact, the only reason that may hold up in court is if you were carrying the knife directly to or from your martial arts class. Of course, this knife would have to be in your kit bag and carefully protected but it may be seen as a viable reason with no malicious intent.
You can pretty much assume that if you get caught with a butterfly knife on your person that you will be charged with the illegal possession of a knife, especially so if you have threatened someone with that knife.