Traveling to a foreign country can often be stressful, especially concerning local laws and customs. If you are an American citizen traveling to Italy and are concerned about carrying knives, you’re not alone!
Italy, a strategically important country for geopolitics, has strict laws governing knives’ ownership, sale, and usage. It’s critical to comprehend these rules before your travel.
We shall examine knife-related legislation in Italy in this article. This post will teach you to follow the law while traveling for leisure or business.
Quick Legal Facts
Statewide Preemption: No
Schools: Illegal to carry a knife in a school or other educational institution.
Critical Dimension: No, not the size but the type of the weapon matters.
Major cities with knife ordinance: Nothing noted.
Knife Law In Italy
The statistics show Italy ranks 173rd for stabbing homicides worldwide, accounting only for 112.85 (0.19 per 100K deaths).
|Country Stabbing||Death Rate (Per 100k)|
|Papua New Guinea||3.57|
The strict rules of knives can explain this picture in Italy. To make you realize the strictness of Italian knife laws, a real case we can mention here.
In 2017, a verdict was issued by the Italian supreme court ruling that Sikhs cannot carry a kirpan. A Sikh man was ordered to pay a €2,000 fine. He was carrying a kirpan, a ceremonial knife, one of five holy customs of his religion.
Note: carrying a knife in public is prohibited by law. Here, the judges refused to consider the religious aspect also.
So, let’s take a brief idea about knife legislation in Italy.
- In a nutshell, it’s illegal to carry a knife outside the home unless it meets some criterion.
- However, it is allowed when there is a justified reason to carry.
- But, certain places such as schools and football stadiums show zero tolerance. No reason can justify possessing a knife there.
- Even when there is a legitimate reason, it is always illegal and punishable to take a knife with the features of a proper weapon. For example, a sharp point and double-edged blade, out of the house, as also reinforced by the new instruction of the Court of Cassation.
List Of Illegal Knives
This section will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of knives that are illegal in Italy and the reasons for their illegality.
First, let’s see which are those knives-
- Dagger or doubled edged blade
- Switchblades or automatic knives
- Ballistic knives
- Hidden or disguised knives (such as belt buckle knives or cane knives)
- Knives with a locking blade mechanism
- Certain types of martial arts weapons, such as nunchaku
Illegality On the Type of Weapon, Not the Size
According to Article 4 of Law 110 of 1975, certain pointed and cutting instruments are considered offending instruments. Their use outside the home without justified reason is punishable.
Moreover, Article 45 of the TULPS Regulation dictates which pointed instruments should be considered weapons.
Some criteria make a pointed instrument an offending weapon. These include a double edge blade, a symmetrical shape, a hilt, etc. Think a dagger!
Now, what size of knife is legal to carry in Italy? The law has been updated, so the length of the blade doesn’t contribute much to illegality now.
Basis of Illegality: Justified Reason
It is illegal to carry a knife without a “justified reason.” But what does that actually mean?
I need a knife to protect myself is an inappropriate logic in Italy, as it is one of the safest countries. Hence, you will surely be in a mess if you utter such useless sentences.
Justified or valid reasons for carrying a knife (improper weapon) must be logical, apart from the need for personal protection. For instance, you need it for your business.
Maybe you’re a hobbyist, DIY-lover or worker. Another example: carrying a kitchen knife while going to a knife grinder to sharpen it.
But, justifying carrying a 30cm knife to cut fruits will sound like a liar, and Caribbean’s will arrest you immediately.
Here’s a story for you: A scout from Silea was fined 23,000 Euros for possessing a swiss army knife without a legitimate reason.
Improper weapon: The knives are used not for offence but have other domestic uses.
Proper weapons: Primarily used for harming people (e. g. Dagger). It cannot be carried irrespective of legitimate reason.
Recent updates in laws emphasize that the decision, whether justified reason or not, depends on the subjective condition of the bearer, place of occurrence, and functions of the object. Plus, the decision is allowed to be taken promptly.
Illegality In Certain Areas
Generally, it’s a crime, not your right, to carry a knife outside your home in Italy. However, particular areas strictly prohibit the carrying and possessing of knives, such as-
- Schools, public buildings, courthouses, football stadiums, and public events.
Because these locations are deemed as “sensitive areas” where the risk of harm to others is high, carrying a knife violates the law and can result in penalties and punishments.
For example, a double-edged blade with a sharp point is considered an offending weapon.
According to Art. 38 of T.U.L.P.S (Consolidated Law On Public Safety), this weapon is allowed for sale in gun shops and can be possessed at home, but it is illegal to use in port.
Illegality Based On Concealed And Open Knives
In Italy, the legality of carrying a knife depends on whether the blade is concealed or openly carried.
Knives that are hidden, such as switchblades or butterfly knives, are illegal to carry in a pocket or handbag. But it’s legal to put it in your luggage where it is not accessible immediately.
On the other hand, openly carried knives are generally legal as long as they meet the “justified reason” set forth by the law.
Penalties And Punishments For Carrying Illegal Blades In Italy
According to Art. 4 of law 110/75, carrying weapons in public capable of offense results in 6 months to 2 years fine.
In addition to imprisonment, fines can also be imposed, ranging from a minimum of €1,000 to a maximum of €10,000. You may be rescued only by paying the fine if the offence is minor.
Furthermore, if the illegal knife is carried to use for criminal purposes, the penalties can be even more severe. In such cases, the punishment can range from 3 to 7 years of imprisonment and a fine of €5,000 to €10,000.
Penalties vary depending on the type of knife, the circumstances under which it is carried, and the individual’s intention.
List Of Legal Knives
In Italy, certain knives are considered legal for carrying, possessing, selling, manufacturing, importing, and trading. However, these are based on characteristics, not legal knife length.
Some examples of legal knives in Italy include:
- Pocket knives: Small, foldable knives that can be easily carried in a pocket. They usually have a blade length of less than 8 cm.
- Hunting knives: Designed for hunting and outdoor activities. They are often larger than pocket knives and have longer blades, but they are still legal in Italy as long as they are used for hunting or outdoor activities.
- Kitchen knives: Kitchen knives, including chef’s knives, paring knives, and utility knives, are considered legal in Italy.
- Lock-blade knives: These knives have a locking mechanism that helps keep the blade in place when open. Lock-blade knives are legal in Italy if they have a blade length of less than 8 cm.
Different Laws For Different Kinds Of Knives
In Italy, the laws regarding knives vary based on the type and purpose of the knife. For instance, hunting and kitchen knives have different regulations than switchblades or other types of knives considered dangerous.
The laws also vary based on the kind of the blade, sometimes by the length of the blade, and how the knife is carried.
For example, it is generally legal to carry a kitchen knife or hunting knife as long as it is not concealed. However, switchblades are illegal to carry in public.
Fun Facts About Knife Laws In Italy
- Carrying a knife for self-defense is not considered a valid reason in Italy, even if the knife is legal to carry.
- The Italian knife laws are some of the strictest in Europe, with a comprehensive list of banned knives and weapons.
- In Italy, carrying a knife in public can result in a fine or imprisonment, regardless of the size or type of knife being carried.
- It is illegal to carry a knife that can be used as a weapon, even if it is intended for non-violent purposes such as cooking or camping.
- Italian knife laws also apply to folding knives, switchblades, and other knives that can be easily concealed.
- Despite the strict knife laws, traditional Italian knife-making remains an important cultural and economic activity in some areas of the country.
- The Italian police take knife laws seriously and regularly conduct searches and raids to confiscate illegal knives and weapons.
Exceptions In The Knife Law Of Italy
In Italy, there are a few exceptions to the knife laws. Individuals authorized to carry a weapon, such as law enforcement officers and military personnel, may also take a knife.
In these cases, the knife must be brought following the specific regulations and guidelines for the authorized individual’s profession.
It is important to note that the exceptions to the knife laws in Italy are subject to interpretation and may vary from case to case. As such, it is recommended to seek the advice of a lawyer or legal expert before carrying a knife in Italy.
List Of Relevant Laws
Some of the relevant hearings and laws include:
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 4696 dated 14.01.1999
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 4498 dated 14.01.2008
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 9662 of 27.02.2014
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 26669 of 03.03.2016
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 24084 of 05.15.2017
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 8032 of 05.2.2019
- Court of Cassation Section I Judgment n. 31831 of 3.5.2019
These are available at courts of cassation.
Some other laws have an impact, such as-
- Art. 42 of T.U.L.P.S (Consolidates Law On Public Safety): It is related to weapons authorisation.
- Art. 80 of Reg. To T.U.L.P.S: List of excluded instruments that are incapable of offending.
- Art. 13 Law 11 February 1992 n. 157: This law sets regulations on the practice of hunting.
Italy has strong knife laws with severe punishments. Knife possession outside of one’s home is against the law. Knife-carrying is prohibited in several locations, including football stadiums, during games, and public events.
Only when there is a legitimate reason that is connected to the object’s intended use, legal behavior, and the location of the event is it acceptable to carry a knife outside of one’s home.
A knife with the attributes of a legitimate weapon, such as a sharp tip and double-edged blade, should never be taken outside the house.
Travelers to Italy should be aware of these rules and abide by them to prevent legal repercussions.