Knife Laws in Scotland

We are aware that recently there have been a few fears raised about a potential knife law which could look to make the possession of certain Sgian Dubh’s illegal. This law has been introduced in order to crack down on the inherent knife crime and concealed weapon culture found in Scotland’s streets.

Shops and online retailers selling any form of knife have been warned to keep them to less than three and a half inches in length but this has led to a large outcry from Scottish highland dress retailers who believe that this law will hit consumers and tourists who want to buy “heritage or highland dress products” the hardest.

Under the far-reaching proposals anyone buying a knife in the restricted category would have to produce photographic ID, and the dealers would have to keep a record of customers and the knives sold.

During its consultation on the controversial plans, a government spokesman said: “This may be a consequence of the scheme, but there is no practical way of exempting tourists from the requirements of the licensing scheme.

“Tourists will still be able to make purchases of sgian dubhs or other small knives that have a length of blade of under three and a half inches, as these will be exempt from the licensing laws.”

We are happy to announce that this law will not affect any of our customers as we can guarantee that all of our Sgian Dubh’s have a blade that measures less than three and a half inches. As an integral part of our highland dress we are adamant that any changes in the law will be met in order that we can continue to stock these fantastically varied and stylish items. We also fully support any law that aims to cut down knife crime in our country.

It is ironic that the whole tradition of carrying a Sgian Dubh in the top of the wearers sock was originally started in order to avoid having concealed weapons. Courtesy and etiquette would demand that when entering the home of a friend, any concealed weapons would be revealed. It follows that the Sgian Dubh would be removed from its hiding place and displayed in the stocking top held securely by the garters. Of course it is now more commonly used for ceremonially cutting haggis or as the perfect way to compliment your kilt outfit.

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8 thoughts on “Knife Laws in Scotland

  1. Sam

    Thanks for the article, I’ve been wondering about this is my own sgian dubh is about 3.5″ long and the only information I could find suggested that, having a fixed blade, it may well be considered illegal. Can you point me towards any further information on the current legal situation?

    1. Gary Post author

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment. From the information I have seen it seems that your blade may possibly be illegal (in Scotland). If the blade is 3.5″ or larger then it would be deemed illegal; but if the blade was 3.4″ for instance then this would be legal.

      Many sgian dubh manufacturers have gotten around this ban by shaving off a few millimetres from the blades of their sgian dubh’s and thus making them legal.

      I unfortunately cannot seem to find any definitive government statement regarding the issue. I would say that the police are trained to apply common sense when it comes to the possession of sgian dubh’s. If a person is in full highland dress with a sgian dubh tucked in their sock then it is very unlikely that the police would stop them to check the blade length. I think only if you had a situation where someone was brandishing the sgian dubh as a potential weapon would there then be an issue.

      I am sorry I cannot fully put your mind at ease but it is certainly worth measuring the exact length of the blade and if it is 3.5″ or over you could perhaps look at reducing the length of the blade somehow.


  2. tim

    As the law stands what is the outcome of carrying a concealed knife in scotland. In particular if this is a first offence.

    1. Fergus

      No idea I’m afraid. I would guess it depends on the circumstances. I would suggest investigating via the Police or the Procurator Fiscal. Perhaps has some useful information.

  3. allister linton

    this is just another racial discrimination act and dictatorship being inflicted by the english government on the true Scotsman

    1. Joe

      To be a legal carry knife in the uk all knives must be under 3.5″ in length and must be folders without a locking mechanism. If you have a fixed blade knife which only has a 1″ blade it is not legal to carry in the uk, unless it is part of your national dress. So if you are in full Scottish dress then you can carry a sgian Dhu or a dirk which usally have blades 12″ or slightly larger.


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