Knife Laws in Different Countries

Knives are one of the most essential tools you can bring. You can use it in various situations when traveling, hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting. From cutting a vine, trimming clothes for emergencies, slicing a juicy fruit, to ripping the salami or baguette, knives do a lot of work and can help in many ways.

Despite the given uses, not all people think it’s safe to carry knives around. With that, countries have various laws governing knives. Generally, there’s a limit of the length of the blade, and it requires a legitimate reason for you to carry one. Nevertheless, it’s vital to get informed with these legislations to avoid getting into conflict wherever you go. Read below and discover how knife laws vary in different countries.

Austria and the Czech Republic

Both countries have lenient laws when it comes to knives. In Austria, all that is forbidden is possessing knives concealed as another object, such as dog tags, credit cards, pens, or belt buckles. Meanwhile, the Czechs don’t have restrictions in carrying knives, whether openly or concealed. Of course, common sense applies, so using them as weapons or in criminal offenses will undoubtedly put you behind bars.


Belgium prohibits automatic knives or switchblades and other knives or blades taking in the appearance of another item. The carriage of knives inside a vehicle, especially in public or urban areas, is also forbidden unless there’s a legal reason.


In Canada, possession of knives that opens automatically through gravity, a push button, or spring is criminalized as they are deemed as prohibited weapons. Ones that don’t fall on the description or one-handed or manually-opened knives are free to own and use. No restrictions apply on the length of blades one can carry. Only the law prohibits carrying a knife intending to harm, disrupt public peace, or commit any criminal offense.


China requires government registration of “dangerous knives,” which are those knives with a blade length exceeding 8.7 inches (22 centimeters) or those that are more than 5.9 inches (15 cm) but has a point angle lower than 60 degrees. Restrictions began due to potential violence and safety concerns during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


Fixed-blade or folding knives are legal to own in Denmark, as long as the blade length won’t exceed 4.7 inches (12 cm.) Ones longer than the given length can only be legally owned under legitimate purposes, such as those used for cooking, crafting, hunting, fishing, sailing, and hiking. Carrying them in public is still forbidden unless they are used for work or during leisure activities.


Finland is another country with lenient knife laws. Bayonets, butterfly and gravity knives, and switchblades are forbidden, but there are no length restrictions or need for legitimate reasons on blades not included on the list. Still, common sense applies.


In Greece, carrying knives, which are intended as weapons, is illegal. Only ones used for justified reasons are allowed, such as knives used in arts, profession, education, home, fishing, or hunting. Yet, carrying them in certain public places is prohibited, such as football matches and courtrooms.


Hungary prohibits carrying knives with a blade length over 3.1 inches (8 cm) in public. You may only bring them should there be a legitimate purpose, such as work, sports, or everyday activities.


Ireland is one of the strictest countries as carrying anything that can cut in public is prohibited. Carrying is only permissible if a legitimate reason backs it up. Keep in mind that there are no restrictions in possessing them, but only carrying and importing specific types of knives are controlled.

Norway and Sweden

Both countries ban carrying knives in cities or public places. Wilderness and nature are an exception, as appropriate knives of a reasonable size can be used without any problems in the wild.

Portugal and Spain

Portugal prohibits carrying standard knives longer than 3.9 inches (10 cm) unless there’s a practical purpose for doing so. Knives concealed as another object, automatic and semi-automatic knives, butterfly knives, throwing knives are also forbidden. Generally, the same types of knives as prohibited in Spain but allows blades longer at 4.3 inches (11 cm) only for possession. Carrying, displaying, or using any kind of knife in public is strictly prohibited.

United States

Laws and regulations in the United States vary from state to state. Generally, all states have laws prohibiting or restricting the possession or carriage of knives in places like public buildings, jails, airports, schools, police stations, and public events. Depending on the state you’re visiting, it is best to check with the local laws. You’ll never know when you’re violating any regulation as you travel from Oregon to Maine.


Different countries have different sets of laws every citizen and tourist needs to follow. Not all nations follow the same logic when it comes to knives. What may be forbidden in some might be unrestricted in others. The key is informing yourself and staying within the legal limits to avoid any problem along the way.

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