Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Knife Dealer's Licences

Anyone carrying on business as a dealer in the following articles must have a Knife Dealer’s Licence under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982:

  • Knives other than those designed for domestic use.
  • Knife blades other than those designed for domestic use.
  • Swords.
  • Any other article:
    • Which has a blade.
    • Which is sharply pointed,
    • Which is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person.

A “dealer” is defined as a person carrying on a business which consists wholly or partly of:

  • Selling.
  • Hiring.
  • Offering for sale or hire.
  • Exposing for sale or hire.
  • Lending.
  • Giving.

to persons not acting in the course of a business or profession any article, whether or not those activities are carried out incidentally to a business which would not otherwise require a knife dealer’s licence.

Selling is defined as including sale by auction and accepting goods or services in payment for such articles. The legislation also applies to remote sales of knives and may require both the premises that the article is sold from and the premises where the article is dispatched from to be licensed, depending on where those premises are located.

The legislation does not define “domestic” or “non domestic” knife. Orkney Islands Council interprets “domestic” as being “any knife, tool or blade used or habitually used in accommodation such as family homes.” Anyone dealing in knives that do not fall into the definition of “domestic”, or anyone dealing in swords, will require to apply for a knife dealer’s licence.

There are also certain exemptions from the requirement to obtain a knife dealer’s licence. The Knife Dealers’ Licences Exceptions Order 2008 provides:

  • That the following knives are exempt from the licensing requirements, but only where the blade does not exceed 8.91 centimetres (3.5 inches) in length:
    • Folding pocket knives.
    • Kirpans.
    • Skean dubhs.
  • Where a person is teaching or training another person in the sport of fencing, the hiring, lending or giving of fencing weapons does not constitute a business requiring a licence, but only where the person teaching is a professional who is qualified to teach or train in the sport.

Anyone who operates a business dealing in non domestic knives without the appropriate knife dealer’s licence commits a criminal offence.

All the documentation required to apply for a knife dealer's licence can be found within the Related Downloads section.

If you require further information about this topic please contact the Licensing Team, Legal Services, on telephone: 01856873535 extensions 2229 or 2232 or via email.

If you would like to see someone in person to discuss a licensing matter please contact the Licensing Team to make an appointment.

Data Protection Information - Civic and Miscellaneous Licensing

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018.

Application forms and guidance issued by Orkney Islands Council (the Council) in relation to civic and miscellaneous licences will be updated.

In the meantime, an information sheet accompanies documentation provided to applicants and is published in the Related Downloads section on this page.

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