Carrying knives to the woods - knife license...inevitably rambling onto American gun stuff

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SoldierPalmer

Full Member
Dec 10, 2015
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South Wales
And just to throw another spanner in the works any member of the public carrying a knife or axe on what used to be Forestry Commission land now Forestry England, Natural Resources Wales and Forestry Scotland is also committing a crime as there is no lawful reason to carry on these grounds. These actions will be taken as intent to cause criminal damage.
 

henchy3rd

Full Member
Apr 16, 2012
404
259
Derby
Just for you to clarify...your email to the police was in regard to the pre-existing situation, or was it prompted in some way by the changes discussed in this thread?

At the 2019 Moot we had a policeman run through scenarios with people carrying knives in packs and the message was that it is situation and person specific. Two people could be sitting with identical knives in identical packs, in the same public place, on their way to the same destination. Both are committing an offence, but only one could have a defence, all based on the route they took to get there. For that reason I rather doubt that you will get as clear an answer as you might like. If they take the time to give varying scenarios, that would be awesome! I just think it very unlikely that they will.

I am not sure that licenses would have the sort of benefit that its sounds like you think they would. You can tell me if I have misunderstood.
  1. In order to possess a firearm or shotgun, one needs a license. This includes a fee and security inspection. If one agrees that bushcraft knives need to be kept under lock and key, one is suggesting they are somehow more dangerous to the public than the knives in every home's kitchen, which doesn't seem a good idea.
  2. Quantity and type of firearm and ammunition are part of the license. A similar format for knives would be problematic. How does licensing interact with buying and selling?
  3. To qualify for a firearm license one has to have a place to use it, and a purpose. This too would be a very bad approach to encourage for knife owner ship, and fairly unworkable I think to police.
  4. Even if you have a license for a firearm or shotgun, you cannot just wander around in public with one for no reason. It is up to you to prove good reason, same as we already have with knives.
What it seems that most people want when they talk about a license for knives is some kind of pre-check so the police can see what lovely nice responsible people they are, that will allow them to carry knives at times and places where they otherwise should not.

I received this generic email today from the police regarding knives.
so thought I’d pass it on as said.

9E0439A8-22A3-4B9D-A274-F3E42D42B017.jpeg
 
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gra_farmer

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Mar 29, 2016
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I have asked police friends about knives, and it is very much open to interpretation, but a multi tools in the hands of most people, locking blade or not, would not be an issue for 95% of people whom typically carry them. As it is deemed very much a tool first.
 

C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
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yeah what does tom brown know about survival
and what does dave beck know about making knives

oh wait rather a lot...
Easy there.

The Tom Brown Tracker knife, as manufactured by TOPS Knives was a chalk and cheese difference from the original David Beck knife. As the TOPS was the mass produced item, it is what most of us will have seen here. It was a boat anchor with, as was typical for a lot of TOPS production of the time, an incredibly thick and obtuse edge that could not be used to carve or do much else. The failings of the TOPS version coloured how the design concept was viewed. Given that the UK, with the influence of Mears, Kochanski and Scandinavia, tended towards smaller knives, the massive WSK concept had more of an uphill struggle than it did in the US, where "camp" knives of 8+ inches are more popular.

Superficially, the WSK concept does look like something dreamed up to fight zombies. If you broke down the design and tried to describe it in words, not by function but by shape, I think you would find it overlapped with some really impractical lumps of metal. I am not saying that the Beck WSK is impractical. If you had it, and the sort of zombie killer rubbish knives that have been banned, side by side, I suspect many here would be able to pick it out as having both quality and useful attributes. The intent of the designer was for a tool but it isn't so easy to explain what makes it so.

Tom Brown may know a lot, but it is also tainted for many by glaring inconsistencies in his writing and suspicions that he made up a lot of the stories he wrote about. I had one of his books, thought it was great, got another, and realised that one or the other, or both, were full of fiction. Many years ago I met someone who had been on one of his courses and who waxed lyrically about how great the TOPS WSK was to throw. Throw? Yeah, on the knife throwing course through the woods. Its purpose, to teach students to throw knives for hunting and taking out bag guys. Even in the US, you have to question just how realistic and useful a skill that is.
 
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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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yeah what does tom brown know about survival
and what does dave beck know about making knives

oh wait rather a lot...

Mimo ,

If you've read the thread you will see I hope that I am in someway attempting to champion that what is a 'good' knife is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Now , if you re-read the post I said "Seems mostly despised by the UK bushcrafters ( maybe rightly so ) but strong support by a section of the US Bushy crowd."

As I've not handled an original Becks WSK ( And not many have ) I reserve judgement on using it for MYSELF - But I think its fair to say not many of the UK bushcrafty mob are seeking to use one as the general consensus seems to be its not for them.

I've followed the various and many threads on Bushcraft USA regarding the people that like the WSK and its interesting to see the differences in love & hate between the Brits and the Americans regarding a tool that in theory both sides of the pond should be able to use for Bushcraft and one side seems to believe adamantly that its a tool of ego with no real use whilst on the other side of the water people love it and sing its praises as the best all around tool ever...

I raised it as an example not to get you hot and bothered because someone, in the context of what we are discussing thats not a Judge / Police officer that makes or enforces policy, may have as you have a different opinion to the perceived norm on what is useful / non-useful / zombie tool.
 

TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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Yes you are right about a certain type?
Most archery clubs will not allow crossbows or pistol style crossbows on site for that reason,It’s more to do with being associated with wildlife cruelty.

As for a decent slingshot in the wrong hands I personally think they can be more dangerous than a legal air rifle..easy to conceal & deadly accurate.
Yet they are such good fun firing clay balls at a score card.


I need to add for full disclosure that I have Two crossbows myself. Not El Cheapo types.

Maybe they are associated with animal cruelty simply because for the average Oik they can actually hit a target with a crossbow rather than a standard bow which requires some skill and finesse.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,273
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Birmingham
First you pay a fee to apply, possibly pay a fee over £200 for a medical report. Then you'll need to sort out secure storage. Add an alarm if you own over a certain number of knives. Notify the police within 7 days of buying a new knife. Add to that possibility of having to prove you have somewhere to use a knife before being allowed to own one!
I have a friend who was looking to get a shotgun licence for work and in a normal semi he could not practically satisfy the requirements.

Also worth noting the people involved in those incidents shouldn't have had their licences at the time.
Having said that I think it's likely that licensing has kept certain crime down.
As someone who lives in Birmingham and we have had 3 shootings in the last month I am not sure that they are keeping any crime down. Criminals by definition commit crime.

for god sake ok i took my co2 colt 45 no co2 cartridge inside no shells no pellets just the colt in the crap holster I made just to show my work mates what i do with natural veg tan hide please dont call the police !!!
Actually that is the thing you should be afraid of, someone sees you and then calls the Police. The UK armed response Police have a very bad reputation for shooting first and then looking bad in the press.

I am not sure a licence is the answer, might not a membership with guidelines and more importantly legal cover be a better idea. I pay £12 quid to St John Ambulance so I am covered with legal insurance to use my First Aid at Work certificate on the public. I am not worried about breaking the law, I am worried about being faced with taking a caution or going to court so being able to hand a card over and go ring the number they will send a lawyer might be more useful.
Also politically activism along the line of getting multi-tools removed from the lock knife rule would be useful. A campaign for a sensible set of laws around this subject might also be useful.
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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Without de railing the thread it’s worth noting that some of the worst firearms incidents we’ve had in the UK were by licensed firearms holders.
Having a licence doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.
Interesting. While I agree with you in principle, our results have been slightly different. It’s been a while since I looked up the statistics but about 8 years ago the incidence of licensed concealed weapons carriers committing crime were significantly lower than the incidence of police officers committing crimes. In turn the incidence of police officers committing crimes were drastically lower than that of the general population.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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But that's the whole point and why I support the law as it is. Divers and canoeists etc. have a valid safety reason to carry knives that are generally not allowed in public (without good reason). As do you in an environment where it is a necessary tool to get a job done such as a camp. The knife itself isn't 'illegal', it's the reason it is being carried that may or may not be legal. I can see no reason, in this modern world, why anyone has a reason to carry a fixed blade knife on a belt in a town for example or need a blade longer than two inches let alone the three we're allowed.
The true fixed blade (vs a lock blade) would be very, very reasonable for someone with only one hand who has difficulty opening a folder. On the other hand I think the reasons for lock blades are too self evident to discuss.
 

TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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In the context of legalities, a replica would be no different from an original. “Replicas” are fully functional.

Not entirely sure why you are quoting me there Santa - maybe you wish to expand your answer.

I'm pretty sure in terms of legalities a Replica isn't viewed as an Original in the eyes of UK Law. That doesn't mean by brandishing it or waving one around or leaving it on you car passenger seat in plain view isn't going to get you in a similar amount of trouble or potentially shot by the local AFO.

The reason I'm being slightly pedantic to your pedantry is that A Replica clearly DOESN'T function in the exact same way as an Original - its unable to fire live rounds and so does not function in the same way.

You wouldn't get charged and sent to jail for owning one in the same manner as if you owned an actual functioning handgun.

Maybe you'd care to elucidate your original statement.
 
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Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
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Interesting. While I agree with you in principle, our results have been slightly different. It’s been a while since I looked up the statistics but about 8 years ago the incidence of licensed concealed weapons carriers committing crime were significantly lower than the incidence of police officers committing crimes. In turn the incidence of police officers committing crimes were drastically lower than that of the general population.
The point I was getting to was that having a licence, a permit being a member of BASC etc doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.
holding the office of constable doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.

certainly in the uk when there is an incident with a firearms licence holder the first thing that gets mentioned is that they are a gun nut, fascinated with guns or other negative term.

I actually think the UK knife law is pretty sensible, if you need a knife then carry one, but it’s on you to prove that you do. A permit would change nothing.

I do not believe there will be any changes in knife law that allow more routine carry without reasonable excuse.
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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The point I was getting to was that having a licence, a permit being a member of BASC etc doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.
holding the office of constable doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.

certainly in the uk when there is an incident with a firearms licence holder the first thing that gets mentioned is that they are a gun nut, fascinated with guns or other negative term.

I actually think the UK knife law is pretty sensible, if you need a knife then carry one, but it’s on you to prove that you do. A permit would change nothing.

I do not believe there will be any changes in knife law that allow more routine carry without reasonable excuse.

Agreed!
 

mimozine

Member
Jan 26, 2021
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Not entirely sure why you are quoting me there Santa - maybe you wish to expand your answer.

I'm pretty sure in terms of legalities a Replica isn't viewed as an Original in the eyes of UK Law. That doesn't mean by brandishing it or waving one around or leaving it on you car passenger seat in plain view isn't going to get you in a similar amount of trouble or potentially shot by the local AFO.

The reason I'm being slightly pedantic to your pedantry is that A Replica clearly DOESN'T function in the exact same way as an Original - its unable to fire live rounds and so does not function in the same way.

You wouldn't get charged and sent to jail for owning one in the same manner as if you owned an actual functioning handgun.

Maybe you'd care to elucidate your original statement.

the uk legal term is realistic imitation firearm or RIF. airsoft guns fit this catagory
 

Mike313

Nomad
Apr 6, 2014
269
22
South East
I live in the UK and I can do most of what I want to do with a SAK. On my own plot, I very occasionally use my Morakniv and a folding saw for a specific task. On walks through woodland (public or private) I don't carry them. I can't help thinking that there is AT TIMES an over-emphasis on the need to carry knives or axes to have a day out in the woods. Unless you are on your own land, or have permission from the landowner, you most likely would be committing a crime processing (someone else's) wood to make a shelter or a fire. I know fixed bladed knives , folding saws, machetes and axes have their place and their uses. I'm just saying that SOMETIMES, (not all the time) when these subjects are discussed, I occasionally feel it's a case of 'the tail wagging the dog' - i.e. that it seems to be more emphasis on owning a knife or a collection of knives, than actual enjoying nature, more an interest in owning a collection of big sharp knives that an interest in bushcraft. But, to each his own, . . . . . .
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,273
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Birmingham
SOMETIMES, (not all the time) when these subjects are discussed, I occasionally feel it's a case of 'the tail wagging the dog' - i.e. that it seems to be more emphasis on owning a knife or a collection of knives, than actual enjoying nature, more an interest in owning a collection of big sharp knives that an interest in bushcraft. But, to each his own, . . . . . .
As I have said elsewhere the Mors video were he use to use simple knifes, then simple lock knifes and finally Moras was very interesting.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,273
80
Birmingham
The point I was getting to was that having a licence, a permit being a member of BASC etc doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.
holding the office of constable doesn’t mean you won’t commit an offence.
The problem is not an offence you commit, it is arguing against the offence they think you have committed.
There is a lawyer in London who charges about £50,000 a time to get people off speeding fines.

certainly in the uk when there is an incident with a firearms licence holder the first thing that gets mentioned is that they are a gun nut, fascinated with guns or other negative term.
I have a piece of media related trivia. This is actually so bad that you can look on President Biden's web page and it mentions this. Assault Rifle is a term that does not relate to any weapon, it is rumored to be a mistake made by a journalist in that he thought for some reason that the AR of AR-15 stood for that as apposed to Armalite Rifle. You will see it used all over the media however it does not actually relate to anything and is a made up term.

I actually think the UK knife law is pretty sensible, if you need a knife then carry one, but it’s on you to prove that you do. A permit would change nothing.
My problem is not with the law more that we have to rely on the imperfect people who enforce it and that you need money to survive it.

I do not believe there will be any changes in knife law that allow more routine carry without reasonable excuse.
The only change I would like is to exclude multi-tools from the lock knife rule.

On mental health, Biden talks about 40,000 people dying from gun shot wounds a year however no one ever mentions that 2/3 of them are self-inflicted.
 

Herman30

Settler
Aug 30, 2015
830
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Finland
Knife is one of the oldes tools in history of mankind. It is so utterly and beyond belief how scared some people have become of a tool. Oh the stupidity of modern mankind.
 
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fenix

Forager
Jul 8, 2008
121
87
Kent
So what I did last summer in my hometown would not be possible in the UK? I took an axe to the pub, when stopping for a beer after a day out to a fireplace on the coast. We were with biccycles and I did not want to leave the axe at the bike outside. I did give it to the man behind the counter to hold until I left, though. And the axe was carried like this:


But in all fairness, had the police seen this I think I might have gotten some problem.
Depends where you live. In he countryside, even pretty near to London people are not alarmed if you go into a pub with a shotgun in a case. One of my locals pubs has a clay shoot nearby and shooters will go in there for a drink or food after shooting. The landlord of local has held onto an air pistol until I could pick it up the next day.
 

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