Sword and Knife Legislation in Italy

Sword and Knife Legislation in Italy

Many people wonder if it is necessary to have a gun license to buy, transport, or possess swords and collector's knives at their own home.

Knives: Daggers, switchblades, double-edged knives, and bayonets are considered proper weapons; other knives, of any shape or size, are cutting and stabbing tools and therefore improper weapons. The sale and possession are allowed if one is of legal age, but carrying them is only allowed for justifiable reasons (hunting, sports, outdoor activities, camping, etc.). In urban areas, there is never a justifiable reason to carry a blade.

Let's clarify once and for all: there is no law that talks about "blades 4 fingers in length" that can be carried freely. This law was repealed in 1975, so without a justifiable reason, you cannot carry any type of blade, even with only 1 cm of cutting edge.

Proper Weapons - purchase and possession must take place with the presentation of a gun license or a purchase permit issued by the local police department - include switchblades, spring-assisted knives, double-edged knives (sharpened on both sides), military bayonets with rifle attachments, push-daggers, brass knuckles, extendable and non-extendable batons, and animated sticks.

Swords: sharpened swords are considered proper weapons, and purchase and possession must take place with the presentation of a gun license or a purchase permit issued by the local police department. Unsharpened swords are considered sports equipment or decorative objects, and their sale and possession are allowed if one is of legal age.

As for the transportation of improper weapons, it is sufficient to keep the blade absolutely not ready for use, perhaps wrapped up, so that the intention not to use it during transport is evident.


Current laws in force:

Art. 585, 697, 699, 704 of the Italian Criminal Code Art. 42 TULPS and Art. 45 and 80 of TULPS Regulations Art. 4 Law no. 110 of April 18, 1975 Art. 13 Law no. 157 of February 11, 1992 (Hunting)

The knife is a tool created by man to cut not too hard materials through a blade fixed to a handle. It differs from those white weapons designed to penetrate the human body, such as a dagger. The distinction, from a technical point of view, can in some cases be very subtle, so much so that mixed instruments are obtained (knife-dagger), but the primary destination is usually sufficiently clear and, based on the historical origins of the instrument, its use in certain cultural or ethnic environments, its technical characteristics, it is not difficult to say whether we are dealing with an instrument that is only occasionally capable of offending or a proper weapon with a primary function of injuring the person.

Since the point of contact between the two categories is given precisely by the knife and the dagger, it is necessary to specify their respective characteristics and the basic terminology. A knife consists of two main parts: the handle or grip and the blade. The blade is generally a flat strip of steel, with parallel faces or forming a wedge, which is sharpened on one side to create the so-called cutting edge that can be smooth or serrated, wavy, sawtoothed, etc. In thin knives, where the two faces form a very acute angle, the cutting edge may be missing. The end of the cutting edge is called the edge, which may be missing in some knives (e.g., oyster knives). By sharpening the right angle of the cutting edge.

The blade may end in a point, straight or curved upward or downward, or more or less rounded or truncated. Even the rounded or truncated point can be more or less sharp. The point that is sharpened for a short distance also on the spine near the point itself is called a false edge. The edge begins at the tip and ends at the heel, which is the sturdiest part of the blade on which the fittings rest (guard, handle, etc.). After the heel, the tang begins, which is the extension of the blade on which the handle is mounted.

Daggers differ from knives in having two cutting edges and two edges and a spear point, meaning symmetrical on both sides. Sometimes the length of one of the cutting edges occupies only half of the blade, which therefore has both a spine and a cutting edge on one side. Depending on the type of handle and blade, knives take on various names.

The fundamental distinction is between fixed blade knives and folding knives or lock knives or pocket knives.

Fixed blade knives are those in which the blade is permanently rigidly attached to the handle. Included in this category are kitchen knives, table knives, survival knives (also known as "Rambo type"), hunting and fishing knives, etc. As a rule, fixed blade knives are carried in a sheath to prevent damage to the edge and the risk of accidental cuts. In this category, there may be work tools with the strangest shapes, such as, for example, skinning knives and tanners' knives (skinners) with a semi-circular blade and handle at a right angle to it, so that the blade comes out between two fingers of the hand that grips it. Some have then been modified to have a pointed blade to serve only as offensive instruments (push knives).

Folding blade knives are those in which the blade is movable and hinged in the handle, within which it can be clamped (hence the name "lock knife"). Most of them are equipped with a safety lock (tooth or stop plate, rotating ring), which locks the blade once opened to prevent it from folding during use and cutting the user's fingers. Small pocket knives are called penknives. Many pocket knives are equipped with blades of different lengths or various accessories (file, saw, screwdriver, awl, etc.). In this category of folding knives, the following should be distinguished: extendable knives, balisong knives, snap-open knives, sliding blade or gravity knives.

Extendable knives are somewhat rare folding knives in which the blade is longer than the handle, so that when the knife is closed, a part of it still protrudes; they can therefore be used, in some way, even if folded.

Balisong or butterfly knives are typical Filipino knives in which the handle is split lengthwise into two halves, within which the blade is housed like a sheath, hinged at the heel with them. Opening the two halves and rotating them 180 degrees, the blade is free and the handle is formed to grip. It is therefore a normal knife whose purpose to offend or not must be determined based on the characteristics of the blade.

Snap-open knives are knives in which the blade, hinged on the handle, is automatically opened, with the pressure of a snap button, by a spring. As a rule, a mechanism then locks the blade in the open position. It is worth remembering that due to a linguistic misunderstanding, having many understood that a lock knife was one in which the "blade is fixed (clamped) in the handle", some dictionaries and the Supreme Court in many rulings, have called snap knives "lock knives", creating not a little confusion.

Sliding blade knives are knives in which the blade is not hinged or fixed on the handle but slides inside it and comes out due to gravity and because it is projected forward by a spring until it is locked in the open position. They are not very common and are more often used as weapons rather than tools since the blade lacks the necessary stability for manual work.

As for the legal qualification of knives, there is no doubt that the general rule applies to them: any tool, even dangerous, that has a primary function other than offense to a person, must be qualified as a tool intended to offend. This has always been the orientation of jurisprudence, which has made a single exception only for switchblades and, more recently, mistakenly, also for folding knives with a blade lock. In fact, to be entirely consistent, the investigation into whether the tool is a weapon or not should be done on a case-by-case basis, but this is not practically feasible due to the subjectivity of many concepts. Consider, for example, the little practical significance of the distinction between a dagger and a butcher's knife, both extremely sharp, both pointed, both designed to be easy to handle, both more than suitable for killing, since for a human body it makes little difference whether a blade has one edge or two edges! The analysis of the subject, based on daily practice and the general principles of the law, which can be found, albeit with many deviations, in jurisprudence, allows us to derive the following general principle: knives are always to be considered tools intended to offend unless their specific characteristics, and in particular those of the blade, demonstrate that they are not suitable for any reasonable use other than offense to a person. It is therefore assumed that a knife is a tool unless specific characteristics identify it as a proper weapon.

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