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What is legal to carry? - American doesn't want to be arrested


deewayne2003
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Gentlemen,

It appears that my dream of coming to your country will finally come to be in early May!

When I travel I always carry a small folding pocket knife clipped to my pocket for general use; but I want to make sure I don't end up in hand cuffs because of a prohibited weapon.... I nearly got arrested in Canada once because the knife I usually carry automatically opens with a button "Switch blade" (which are legal to own in Texas now)

Also - I would like to bring home a good Australian made hunting/bush knife .....Are there any laws I should be aware of for size, blade style, ect?

Example: In Texas I can own an automatic opening knife(switch blade), however double edged knives are ILLEGAL.

Any other advice on types of knives, brands or other interesting things that are unique to Australia would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi Davin,

Automatically opening knives (switch blade) are illegal in Australia as well.  I don’t know about double edged knives, I am not aware that they are illegal but someone else may need to advise you on that (you can buy military bayonets in army disposals I think so presumably they are OK).  Obviously you can’t carry knives of any sort (or even scissors) in the cabin on aeroplanes (they have to in your checked in luggage) but that’s the same pretty much the world over.  

You can also get arrested for carrying knives of any sort in public without good reason (i.e. you are an electrician and need to be carrying a knive to strip cables as part of your work, that excuse only works if it is obvious you are working or travelling to/from the job).  Having said this, so long as you are sensible and when travelling around and your knife is secured in your luggage etc then you are OK, if you walk down the main street with a Bowie knife swinging from you belt you will probably get in trouble (despite the Corcodile Dundee image, “that’s not a knife”).  If you are driving and Plod (police) pulls you over and finds the knife tucked down beside the drivers seat (or even elsewhere unsecured) then you are also in trouble.

If you are planning a hunting trip you will have to apply for a visitors firearm license, firearms licenses are administered by the police in the state that yo wish to hunt in, I am not sure if a visitors license issued in one state is recognised in other states (hopefully that is the case).  Our firearm laws are very strict as you are probably aware so please do your research so you don’t get disappointed when you arrive.  I suggest a Google search of the police department of the state/s that you wish to visit and get in touch.  There are companies that will organise guided hunts for you if your budget stretches to it, if you Google this in Australia and contact them they can also advise you on what needs to happen to make it legal for you to hunt here.  Of course if you can find someone able to have to tag along on a hunt it will be cheaper and (in my opinion) more enjoyable but you will have to do more research on what to do to stay on the right side of the law.

The Northern Territory is possibly a good place to look at to go for a hunt, lots of feral pigs, water buffalo etc.  Also awesome wilderness, but a “long” way from Melbourne or Sydney.  There are hunting safari companies that operate in the “Top End”, best to go in the “Dry” season (our Winter) so you are coming about he right time of year as we are just getting into the Dry Season now.  There are also a number of guys on this forum from the Top End (I am in South East QLD, near Brisbane).

You are probably better to hire or borrow a rifle/shotgun over here than try to bring your own over (this would be an exercise in pain I think, I have never tried to do this nor do I know anyone that has tried to bring their own firearms into Aus from overseas, its most likely possible but a lot of firearms you have access to in in the USA are not permitted in Australia and even bringing firearms in that are legal in this country probably requires a lot of hoops to be jumped through).

Hope this helps, good luck, hope you enjoy your trip.

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A oversized sharpened boomerang to take back to texas to hunt moose with.

Probably the only time you can walk around with a knife on you is when your out fishing or hunting in the field. Its a no go to have a knife on you in the city, police do spot checks

 

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It depends on which state your in but basically.... don't carry anything, some states even have a blade length law.

but if you can find something the fits within the laws of:

  • Anything that you can open with the same hand holding it
  • Auto/ switch/ OTF
  • Double edged
  • Balisong/ butterfly
  • Zombie knives (anything with painted blood on it)
  • Anything concealed
  • Anything in public view
  • Multi tools (leathermen) [because of the knife]
  • Swiss army knife (because of the knife)

 

Its not to say we all follow said laws but its a choice between practicality and police revenue.

  

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Gentlemen, Thank you very much for your advice 

I knew that Australian gun laws were much more strict than America but I didn't know they were so with pocket knives...... Now having said that there are many states in America where assisted opening knives, auto opening(switch blades) and others are illegal as well.

Funny thing is that only a couple of years ago did they make it legal for people in Texas to carry knives with blades over 5.5"(14cm) as well as switchblades.

(From top to bottom- cigarette pack for scale)

1. is the knife I carry every day clipped to my pocket, and I mean literally everywhere I go and its a Benchmade switchblade- (I don't travel with this)

2. This small Gerber is what I usually travel with as its small and if either police or someone else takes offense to it then its rather cheap to replace - but from what you mention it can be opened with one hand and from what you say it sounds like it too would be illegal; I have traveled in Europe, Bahamas, Canada and central America with it clipped to my pocket - but once again thanks for telling me about this as it is literally the knife I was going to pack in my checked bag and carry with me while in your country.

3. This Spyderco Wayne Goddard is the knife I usually travel with as my non-skinning and gutting knife for hunting and fishing trips, but as you mention it can be opened with one hand holding it.

B08uyPI.jpg

Edited by deewayne2003
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I just checked the Victorian regulations.  One handed opening knives are now ok (they were banned for a short time but that has been lifted) as long as you need to manually open them all the way (ie, spring loaded "switch blades" are definitely still out).

However a knife that "opens by centrifugal force" is a no-no.  ie you start it opening with your thumb but a flick of the wrist will open it the rest of the way.  I'm guessing all the three in the pic would fit that banned category?

One way around it is to slightly over-tighten the screws so that it won't "flick".  You can loosen them when you get home ;)

Note that this is only for Victoria.  Other states might have different rules.

Here's the link for Vic: https://www.police.vic.gov.au/weapons-definitions

 

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ps  For all practical purposes, you'd be very unlucky to get in any trouble if you follow these pointers:

- put your knife in your checked-in baggage

- if you get questioned, tell them that you've come over to go hunting/fishing (ie, you have a legitimate purpose for it)

- don't put it on show on your belt unless you're actually hunting or fishing at the time

- don't carry it when around nightclubs in the city or if you go into a bar (you could get in big strife then, even if it never left your pocket)

If you don't have it on your belt, the reality is the only questions you *might* get would be at the airport.  But who wants to have a holiday spoilt by some overzealous law enforcement dude?

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To bring a knife into the country and not have it confiscated at the airport I believe it has to be a single edged blade, no double edges, so big chef knives are ok. Also if it is a folding knife it must not be able to be opened with one hand. This means no spring loaded auto openers, no butterfly knives. This is interesting though as I have brought in folding knives with thumb studs and thumb holes which technically you shouldn't be able to bring in but the customs officer was either giving me a cheeky pass through, or just didn't know how to open it with a thumb stud.

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You'll be fine mate I've brought bayonets in checked luggage from the U.S no questions asked.

Don't walk around the city with a knife on display cops here are'nt over zealous unless you're attracting attention, a knife in your pocket is fine, the cops won't stop and search you.

Most gun shops sell some sweet blades especially lawranceordnance if old military stuff is your thing.

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I rarely go anywhere without some sort of blade. 99% of the time it is a leatherman in the pocket. Very easy to justify carrying it if questioned. Obviously if I am attending anything where I will be scanned or wanded it gets left in the car and goes into checked lugage if flying.

Carrying a knife with a genuine reason isn't  ileagal and a leatherman is the easiest to justify as it has so many uses. Personal protection isn't a genuine reason and will almost certainly see you charged. If you feel naked without a knife a leatherman is a easy compromise.

 

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I went to court for jury duty and left my folder at home but forgot about a mini Bark River bravo fixed blade in my bag which the x-ray machine picked up.

The police were cool and even helped coax out of me that I needed it for work (electrician) and food prep for the confiscation receipt.  I got it back on the way out.

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