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An Australian take on Multitools and legality

Discussion in 'MultiTools and Other Pocket Tools' started by kembativz, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. kembativz

    kembativz Loaded Pockets

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    So I've been wanting to write this for a while; something of an explanation of my EDC choices in relation to knives/multitools. This could go in either Knives or Multitool sections, but seeing as though I've ended up with a multitool... I'll put it there.

    To preface this, I live in south-eastern QLD Australia. For our international readers, the legislation in relation to carriage of weapons (simply put, DON'T) and tools such as pocket knives and multitools is significantly different to other countries.

    Having grown up in rural Australia, I grew up always with a knife on my belt or in my pocket. Following moving to Brisbane, QLD, I started looking into folding knives because my previous blades were no longer appropriate. At that time I was only 17, and (stupidly) did not investigate the local laws properly.

    In any case, I ended up buying an Emerson CQC7, which was the start of a slippery slope of buying and carrying some beautiful knives. 7 years and many Emersons, Spydercos and Benchmades later, I no longer EDC a pocket knife. This is due to our local laws, specifically section 51 of the QLD Weapons Act 1990. To paraphrase, a person may not possess a knife in a public place without a reasonable excuse. One of the listed excuses states “a person may possess a swiss army knife [includes multi-tools for purpose of legislation] for its normal utility purpose”.

    I've always appreciated SAKs, but have never found them satisfying to carry. Instead, I ended up with a multi-tool, after finding about the legislation. I feel that this is more acceptable socially and legally – it is ultimately a tool, and that is the purpose for which I carry it. It does contain a knife blade, but that is not its primary purpose. I most certainly do NOT carry it for self defence, and would never consider using it for that purpose.

    Unfortunately, awareness of local laws is not widespread in QLD Australia, and I have seen a dizzying array of different ideas as to what is and isn't legal to carry. In any case, I've posted this to hopefully help some of the other Aussies on the board, or at least prompt investigation of local laws. This is very very important, because a lot of our local legislation is not as clear cut as other areas in the world – a lot of it will come down to reasonable excuse, manner of carry, manner of person, and passing the attitude test.

    If I had been picked up by law enforcement whilst carrying an Emerson or similar blade, I likely would have been charged due to my age and having been carrying it in a metropolitan area without a reasonable excuse.

    Currently my EDC rotates between a Charge Tti (primary), Skeletool CX, and a Leatherman Juice. I feel that any of these (particularly the charge and juice, being clearly Tools) along with a reasonable excuse and specific statement of carrying “for normal utility purpose” is a safer and more legally acceptable choice.

    In addition, I carry these in a Skinth along with a Fenix E11 - reinforcing the carriage as tools/utility, and not for any offensive purpose.


    At the end of the day, you don't want to end up in court with a criminal record when there are other alternatives.
     
    Unagi42, CheepSteal, warchild and 6 others like this.
  2. metropolicity

    metropolicity Loaded Pockets

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    Good thing you look good carrying it in a Skinth, no one will question your choice of gear :)
     
  3. 11C1P
    • In Omnia Paratus

    11C1P Loaded Pockets

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    I really want to like Australia, same with Canada, but you guys have some shyte laws for self defense or just plain ability to have stuff that is useful.
     
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  4. metropolicity

    metropolicity Loaded Pockets

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    Our laws (canadian) are mostly aimed and enforced if you are an idiot. You can carry a big folder or a fixed blade (medium sized) on your belt and no one would Question you.

    If you go waving it around and yelling obscenities, then your in trouble.

    Look the part (hunter, trades person, security, handy person) and you'll be fine.

    That are certain knives that are frowned upon, mostly OTF, switch blades, fully assisted knives, push blades and balisongs but anything else is pretty much kosher.
     
    Blair likes this.
  5. Blair

    Blair Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, I've never gotten any static, even when I have a 6" fixed blade on my belt (for work), and I'm in a big hippy city.
     
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  6. comis

    comis Loaded Pockets

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    I don't live in Australia and really don't have much input for the local laws, but if I remember correctly, Australia also has one of the strictest law on laser pointer owning as well. Something like <1mW. If anyone of us knows much about laser pointer, that pretty much rule out probably 95% or more laser pointer you could find in the market.

    Back to the subject, strictly speaking, HK also has similar blade laws like British, 3" and less and also with legit reason to carry. There is a lot of room for interpretation, and how I see it is whether the cause of carry could be justified/explained. For my EDC, I always have the blade in my pocket and so it's always out of sight. And if I do have the larger blade, it is always carried within a backpack along with some light and small camping equipment(like tent picks and a Mylar emergency blanket), so I could be picking up camping equipment for the weekend. I'd advise not to have anything too 'tactical' look(you know the Denier 1000, coyote colored, squarish, rugged look), so not too rise any suspicion.;)
     
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  7. indigo_wolf

    indigo_wolf AKA Breezy

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    I am not a big fan of laws that are "conditionally" applied or where things are frowned upon or looked at beatifically. Things are either legal or not. Otherwise, you find yourself at the mercy of what side of the bed the local constable got out of. Granted there's always a bit of that, but it's always good to minimize where possible.

    According to Canada's Bill C68, in addition to:
    1. OTF
    2. switch blades
    3. fully assisted knives
    4. push blades
    5. balisongs
    this applies...

    (a) a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, or

    While a gravity knife is something that we are used to seeing dissalowed, the key words centrifugal force pretty much disallows any knife with a weak detente.... that could put a whole lot of knives in the fuzzy gray area of interpretation.

    ATB,
    Sam
     
    Last edited by indigo_wolf, Jul 15, 2013
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  8. kembativz

    kembativz Loaded Pockets

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    It'd be nice if things were a bit more clear cut - it would make things simpler for both citizens and law enforcement. As it is, you're only likely to get charged if its being carried in a manner which is concerning, if you're involved in an incident, of if the law enforcement officer is particularly switched on with pocket clips etc. This of course varies situation to situation, and I've never seen or heard of a situation in which it has been applied at all unfairly.

    Either way, its worth thinking about. At the end of the day, how you present yourself to your fellow citizens and to law enforcement is perhaps more important that minute points of law. It might save you from having to debate a point of legality in court, instead never ever getting to court.

    And metro; its never come off my belt since I got it! And another one ordered last week...
     
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  9. 11C1P
    • In Omnia Paratus

    11C1P Loaded Pockets

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    I am also curious if either Canadian or Australian laws vary greatly by province or territory like they vary from state to state in the U.S. What I can get away with here in N.D. would get me several felony convictions in several states.
     
  10. kembativz

    kembativz Loaded Pockets

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    Very different in the different states of Australia. For instance, Victoria is a lot tougher, even on ownership
     
  11. metropolicity

    metropolicity Loaded Pockets

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    It's pretty universal but there are some localized 'customs' if you may. Larger metropolitan areas are where the idiot laws take into effect, they don't really care as long as you are a responsible user.
     
  12. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, there's similar wording in Tennessee's law. I figure it's as was mentioned above, gives a cop one more reason he can do whatever he wants to you. He likes you, you're a good ol' boy with a pocket knife. He doesn't like you, you're carrying a centrifugal force knife for the purpose of going armed, turn around and put your hands behind your head...

    Make a thing legal or illegal, and if it isn't legal, why's it on the store shelves?
     
  13. KnifeTex

    KnifeTex Loaded Pockets

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    Even in Texas, there are stupid knife laws. I have a concealed handgun license which allows me to carry my choice of firearm(s) (No Limit On Quantity), yet I can't carry: automatic knives, Bowie Knives (go figure), balisongs (butterfly knives), double-edged knives, etc...

    A possible traffic stop interaction with a cop in TX:

    "OK, so you have a Glock 26 with a round in the chamber?- No problem... Hey! is that a balisong???!!! Get your hands up!!!"
     
  14. 11C1P
    • In Omnia Paratus

    11C1P Loaded Pockets

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    The chasm between common sense and the laws politicians enact make the grand canyon look like a scuff mark in the dirt.
     
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  15. 11C1P
    • In Omnia Paratus

    11C1P Loaded Pockets

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    I think if they required a sunset on all laws passed of 10-20 years, then it would force them to keep them consolidated and up to date with modern gear and technology. I am not talking about the Constitution or the Bill of rights mind you, just the laws that Congress and legislatures pass.
     
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  16. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    Police carry Glocks and ______s carry balisongs and switchblades. That's reason enough in Texas. (Fill in the blank with the racial slur of your choice.)
     
  17. archcat74

    archcat74 Loaded Pockets

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    Well ive looked through Victorias laws and a multi tool isn't specifically mentioned in any of the 3 headings - Prohibited, Controlled or Dangerous, but under Dangerous Weapons it does state you can't carry anything that is being carried with the intent to use it as a weapon - and here a screwdriver was pictured! So I'd say that a Leatherman will fall under this too, but unless you are carrying it in the middle of Melbourne CBD or similar, I don't think your gonna have too much trouble!
     
  18. rangetroop

    rangetroop Loaded Pockets

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    Over here in West Oz the law talks about prohibited weapons (switch blades etc.) Controlled weapons (firearms etc.) But other knives are not considered a weapon unless used in a threatening manner or used as a weapon. As others habe mentioned though the one hand opening issue is with regards to importation andrew does not seem to be affecting the importation of multitools. To the best of my knowledge you should not have any issues going about your business with a multitool in Australia. Having said that I would avoid unnecessarily taking a multitool into an entertainment precinct at night.
    I am absolutely gutted however about the silly customs importation ban, has anyone seen what folders are available in Oz now? Shop displays look like something from the 70's!
     
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  19. Rrrino43

    Rrrino43 Loaded Pockets

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    if you want kerambits,knuckle dusters or slingshots try ebaysellers from China and request the seller to label the package as camping equipment..."illegal" things just have that appeal to me just because its illegal :)
     
  20. Border Force

    Border Force Empty Pockets

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    Probably not the best idear. Huge fines and a Commonwealth conviction which will follow you right around country
     
    Texmos likes this.