Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Australian Customs: when is a sword a "trench knife"? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject: Australian Customs: when is a sword a "trench knife&quo         Reply with quote

I just thought that I might share with you all a little exchange that I am having with the Australia Customs Service.

I emailed them to enquire if there were any issues with me purchasing an Atlanta Cutlery D-guard bowie and having it shipped to me here in Australia.
http://www.atlantacutlery.com/p-841-d-guard-bowie-knife.aspx

The D-guard bowie is a bit a strange beast, it is 23” (58cm) long and while it is called a knife it is, I feel, more akin to a hanger or small cutlass; and it has a guard similar to that of a sabre or cutlass.

The response from the Australian Customs Service was that the D-guard bowie is a prohibited import due to the fact that it is classified as a “trench knife”.

When I enquired as to the basis of the determination I was provided with the following description of a “trench knife”:
Knives and similar devices that consist of a single or multi-edged blade or spike with a handle that protects the knuckles and increases the effects of a punch or blow and made of any material.”

I queried the somewhat broad nature of that description and suggested that on that basis a sabre, cutlass, basket hilt broadsword, schiavonna, or indeed even a longsword with side rings would easily fall within that definition of a “trench knife”. The response I received is below:

In regards to the classification of knives as 'trench knives or similar devices' in the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations), the definition at Item 35 of Schedule 2 is as follows:

Trench knives or similar devices that consist of a single or multi-edged blade or spike:
a) fitted with a handle made of any hard substance that can be fitted over the knuckles of the hand of the user:
i) to protect the knuckles and
ii) to increase the effect of a punch or blow; and
b) made of any material.

The definition above makes reference to trench knives and 'similar' devices. A knife is defined as being 'a cutting instrument consisting essentially of a thin blade attached to a handle' in the Australian Macquarie Dictionary. We consider a sword to be a similar item to a knife and therefore there is no exemption for swords when being considered under Item 37 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

In general, most decorative cutlasses on swords are not considered to protect the knuckles and increase the effects of a punch or blow due to their decorative nature, lack of thickness and strength.

However, butterfly swords do meet the definition of a 'trench knife or similar device' as per the above definition. The guard on these knives/swords are think (sic.) and strong enabling them to protect the knuckles and increase the effect of a punch or blow.

The knife you enquired about originally is the D-Guard Bowie Knife. It has a strong, thick guard that would easily protect the knuckles and increase the effect of a punch or blow. The guard is not considered to be decorative or lacking in thickness and strength.


I replied and pointed out that the guard of a cutlass or sabre (or indeed most swords) is not decorative and is designed specifically to protect the hand and knuckles. To do that effectively the guard logically must be robust enough to withstand a substantial blow from the blade of a weapon of similar dimensions. This would obviously require that the metal guard be significantly more than “decorative” otherwise it would not be able to provide protection. Thus to be effective the guard would have to be“…thick and strong enabling (it) to protect the knuckles”. If it is thick and strong then it is possible that it could be used to “…increase the effect of a punch or blow.”.

I also enquired as to the basis upon which swords and sabres are classified and if they do not fall into the category of “trench knife” then provide advice upon if, based upon the description of a “trench knife”, is it still possible to import swords and sabres into Australia without applying for a permit. The response was as follows:

"I have advised you of the definition of a 'trench knife or similar device' in our Regulations. As you can see the definition does not make reference to the size of the item and there is no policy in place to exclude items over a certain length. Each item is assessed on its own merits.

I cannot give you a ruling on whether all swords and sabres meet the definition of a trench knife as each item must be assessed on its own merits. If you wish to import a sword or sabre and are unsure if it requires a permit, please email us the details and we can advise if a permit is required.
"

So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen of Australia, all swords with a protective guard may well classify as “trench knives” and thus prohibited imports, and there is apparently no essential difference between a knife and a sword for the purposes of Australian customs classification.

Government - re-defining and de-defining stuff!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan R




Location: Australia
Joined: 15 Mar 2010

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had no problem importing my two Albion with cross hilts. So you can't import knives/swords with a hand guard that protects the knuckles but you can buy them in Australia.
View user's profile Send private message
Mick Jarvis




Location: Australia
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

once the blade is over a certain length (think Machete length) it is classed as a sword and is fine.

same as the laws with dagger imports, as long as its over machete length and classed as a sword you can bring double edged goods in.

nothing new with these laws, just the usual Aussie customs.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mick Jarvis wrote:
once the blade is over a certain length (think Machete length) it is classed as a sword and is fine.

same as the laws with dagger imports, as long as its over machete length and classed as a sword you can bring double edged goods in.


No way. Not under the current regulations. There are two separate parts of the act that conflict with one another.

If you import a blade over a certain length then is is classed as a sword and therefore is not subject to knife import restrictions.

HOWEVER

If you import a sword with a "robust hand guard", including sabres, cutlasses, etc., then it is legally classed as a "trench knife" since that part of the prohibited weapons act makes no allowance for blade length. It is therefore illegal to import these weapons into Australia under Item 35 of Schedule 2 of the weapons prohibition act. Each weapon will need to be individually assessed to determine if it can be exempted.

HOWEVER

Once these are in the country then they are perfectly legal to own and sell because they then fall under state jurisdiction and are subject to state weapons acts. Victoria has the strictest weapon restrictions.
View user's profile Send private message
William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

scenes like this ALMOST make me want to move to the USA.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Mick Jarvis




Location: Australia
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Mick Jarvis wrote:
once the blade is over a certain length (think Machete length) it is classed as a sword and is fine.

same as the laws with dagger imports, as long as its over machete length and classed as a sword you can bring double edged goods in.


No way. Not under the current regulations. There are two separate parts of the act that conflict with one another.

If you import a blade over a certain length then is is classed as a sword and therefore is not subject to knife import restrictions.

HOWEVER

If you import a sword with a "robust hand guard", including sabres, cutlasses, etc., then it is legally classed as a "trench knife" since that part of the prohibited weapons act makes no allowance for blade length. It is therefore illegal to import these weapons into Australia under Item 35 of Schedule 2 of the weapons prohibition act. Each weapon will need to be individually assessed to determine if it can be exempted.

HOWEVER

Once these are in the country then they are perfectly legal to own and sell because they then fall under state jurisdiction and are subject to state weapons acts. Victoria has the strictest weapon restrictions.



yes that is true according to the law, but i have never heard of a saber or cutless or any other sword with a "robust hand guard" being stopped in Customs. but with Customs what the law says and what is let through is another thing.

take folding knives, they are now trying to say that if a folding knife can be opened with one hand it is a "flick knife" and a few people have had their knives stopped at customs yet others have had no dramas getting them in.


swords with guards are no dramas, its just knives
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
scenes like this ALMOST make me want to move to the USA.

You'll come straight back to Australia after the first time you have to go to a hospital. Razz
View user's profile Send private message
Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just get an permission to import permit from customs. It takes a few weeks, but I've never had a problem obtaining one (for a dagger).
View user's profile Send private message
Gottfried P. Doerler




Location: Tyrol, Austria
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 228

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
scenes like this ALMOST make me want to move to the USA.

hehe. i often had the same thought, as austria and australia seemingly not only share a large part of the name, but also complicated weapons restrictions.

i mean, live here would be perfect, as in all these little central european/scandinavian countries, switzerland, austria, belgium luxemburg, denmark.... very high income per capita, low crime rates, highly developed educational system, best possible medical care for every one, welfare, "mindestsicherung" (every longterm-jobless gets at least 753€/month from state in austria)........
BUT, sometimes i feel like beeing in a golden cage. it starts with simply making a fire. its so difficult just to go to nature with your friends, pitch a tent and have a campfire without violating regulation this and decree that.....horrible, all is so overregulated...
I think the US still have quite an extra bunch of freedom compared to the rest of us.
View user's profile Send private message
Darryl Aoki





Joined: 12 Oct 2006

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
William P wrote:
scenes like this ALMOST make me want to move to the USA.

You'll come straight back to Australia after the first time you have to go to a hospital. Razz


But that's what Canada's for, I thought. Razz

Well, that and the bilingual road signs in metric.
View user's profile Send private message
Charles Richmond




Location: Casstown Ohio
Joined: 16 May 2011

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's interesting that they seem to be hung up on the "object designed to increase the effects a punch" subject, and basically glossing over the long pointy piece of steel hanging out the front end of the guard.

Move to Ohio mate, Brass Knuckles and Trench Knives for everybody !!!

In certain metropolitan Hospital ERs, they issue you one in the waiting area.
View user's profile Send private message
Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

(Sarcasm and Objective Humor). The "Peoples Republic of Australia", sounds a lot like "The Peoples Republic of IL, Hawaii, NY, MASS., and a few other states where the Law Abiding Citizen with no criminal record is hereby ordered to be the "sitting duck" target of any violent criminal element! In some of these states not even a handicapped person or elderly and physically
Impaired law abiding citizen can legally take any meaningful measures of self protection or preservation! Gee, I wonder why there are so many crime victims?
And we're only talking for collection and hobby interests here! In some states you can and will be prosecuted for protecting your home, family and property. Even if no criminal charges are brought against the resident and the home invader is convicted of home invasion and violent intent. He can still file and prosecute a civil suit against the defending resident! And in civil court a ruling only needs a "preponderance of guilt"! This to me in my opinion is absolute legal insanity! Sounds to me by the letter of the law, if you really dissected it, that a museum collection of knives, bladed weaponry, sword, polearm or otherwise would be a transgression of the law! Obviously, there's a legislative clause allowing for public and institutional collections, but a private collection is quite another judicial matter and ruling!
Oh and whatever you do, never use a caustic substance like sulphuric acid, bleach, ammonia, rat poison, etc, especially to the face and or eyes. In most states this is. "Henious battery with a caustic substance with the intent to cause disfigurement and blindness! This is a Class X Felony and in many states carries a mandatory Life Imprisonment sentence!
So putting straight bleach, ammonia, etc in a squirt gun for self defense is a Big "NO NO"!!
My Sincere Sympathies From The Heart and Soul!
I am not an attorney or law enforcement, however,I have learned many things from very close longterm friends, 4 are lawyers and 1 is "Chief of Police" in a township of over 100,000 people. The latter of which our friendship goes back to 1974. Just validating I have learned "some" things from legal experts and not talking any jibberish to hear myself talk, or in this case "type". LOL! Little humor there for a Friday evening.
Bob

It IS What It IS! Only In Truth, Can Reality Exist!
To "Learn" we must empty our minds and therefore open our mind and spirit. A wet sponge absorbs no water. A preconceived mind is recalcitrant to new knowledge!


Last edited by Bob Burns on Fri 08 Jul, 2011 4:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Basically i posted that stuff because i just thought that it was surreal that a vague and ill defined description of a trench knife was so broad that it basically covered almost all swords, and that there was, according to the legislation, no difference between a knife and a sword. That said though, yes, the enforcement of the legislation is somewhat "patchy" to say the least and that more often than not, most things are not intercepted on the way into australia. Needless to say that knuckle dusters are illegal - also, oddly enough, so are flails and articulated weapons like nunchuks (i think this is to supress the outer suburban bogan ninjas); another odd thing is that maces are prohibited - flanged and studded maces, but seemingly not warhammers and the like; axes and hatchets are fine but push knives are not.

Interestingly the descriptions of what is allowed actually seem to contradict the advice from Customs; under knives and daggers it says:

Daggers and similar devices: Sharp pointed, concealable, doubled edged knives. Traditional long swords and bayonets are excluded.

But under trench knives:

Trench knives: Knives and similar devices that consist of a single or multi-edged blade or spike with a handle that protects the knuckles and increases the effects of a punch or blow and made of any material.

But given that they seem to regard a sword as a knife the mind boggles as to how to interpret the legislation. Either way though i don't think that on the whole it actually effects the day to day business of buying stuff and getting it sent to australia, but it just shows what can happen when you get government to try and define a sword or a knife.

Don't even go near the firearm laws here though; not that i've ever been intrested in bang-sticks and such there was a case here a couple of months back where a guy was carrying around a novelty umbrella with a handle in the shape of a rifle butt; he was intercepted by armed police and it was confiscatred; the store that sold them withdrew them from stock and i doubt that you can import them. The thing is that replica firearms, even seemingly things that have only a passing resemblance to a rifle, for the sake of registration and regulation actually classify as firearms and as such are prohibited without a lot of paperwork and identity checks. That rules out everything from non-firing replica's to airsoft stuff and crossbows.

And, nope, pretty much nothing would persuade me to move the the US (no offense guys); even though its a nanny state here, even though the political debate here is less sophisticated than Judge Judy; even though we are basically an open cut mine for the rest of the world, I like our health care and social security systems (what's left of them anyway).
View user's profile Send private message
Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 803

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 4:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Lee wrote:
I like our health care and social security systems (what's left of them anyway).
So did the Greeks, what the state giveth the state can taketh away!!!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Christopher Lee, not to derail the topic matter, you are exactly correct as tothe health care situation here in the United States. It's ATROCIOUS!!
Back to the subject matter, I have come across something but not conclusively validated. The matter. This is in relation to pronounced triangular cross section knives and blades being banned by the Geneva Convention, because of the ghastly wounds they create and therefore extremely complicated to restore to a healed stage and therefore the complications of infection, so I am wondering if a triangular pronounced rondel dagger would be yet another legal problem "Down Under"?
Yet another law that makes no sense when one considers the wounds from large caliber magnum handguns and especially revolvers. The latter of which facilitates much longer shell casings and therefore "Ooomph" to the firing blast, projectile velocity. And explosion of tissue matter of the recipient! As trauma surgeons put it, the velocity and mass of the projectile when impacting living tissue which is basically of a liquid matter is forced from the impact location with such force and velocity that it can and does cause ruptures of even mass proportions. Still, large caliber magnum revolvers and ammunition are quite legal (I Am 100 percent Pro Gun Rights for Law Abiding Citizens), yet in some states "butterfly knives" switch blades or any spring loaded blade, brass or steel knuckle knives, triangular blades etc are prohibited.
In my "Knight of Madness" (self labeled humorous nickname) opinion, these insane laws are a result of the anti weapon agendas, who in most cases have zero knowledge of weaponry, self defense and are clueless to the very large percentage of "would be crime victims" that were spared HORRORS of themselves and loved ones, because they DID have a means of self defense!
For thousands of years, swords defined, changed and protected borders and kingdoms. So In All Common Sense, swords of all shapes and sizes are a "Vital and Integral Source and LEARNING Resource of. Most peoples History, Culture and Heritage and not necessarily weapons at all! By the way, a "BOOK" in the hands of a martial artist can be quite a weapon, even a deadly weapon! (Sarcasm) Do we prohibit books because a martial artist could kill somebody with it?
I just had to "throw" a book into the mix! LOL!

Bob

It IS What It IS! Only In Truth, Can Reality Exist!
To "Learn" we must empty our minds and therefore open our mind and spirit. A wet sponge absorbs no water. A preconceived mind is recalcitrant to new knowledge!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bob Burns wrote:
I am wondering if a triangular pronounced rondel dagger would be yet another legal problem "Down Under"?


Yep, in my experience any blade, knife, etc. with a triangular section would be a problem to import; i know because i once tried to import a steel stileto (really a three sided spike, not actually three sharpened sides) - intercepted by customs and had to apply for a permit before i would be released. Yet, bizarrely, you can buy one in australia from various purveyors of indian and pakistan made replicas. Also pretty sure that you can buy triangular section replica bayonets in australia as well? If a rondel is classified as a dagger then it could very well be stopped by customs anyway.

The situation you mention with the large calibre handguns isn't an issue here as its pretty hard to own a handgun and i think there are a fairly high number of restrictions on the weapons that are legal to own, where they can be taken, etc.; absolutely no concealed carry that's for sure. As for an anti-weapon agenda, you have to remember that the US is probably the outlier when it comes to weapons laws, the exception rather than the rule (well, for modern western nations anyway). There is a very large and vocal pro-gun lobby group and there are a lot of votes to be lost for anyone who proposes tightening up gun ownership; whereas there is probably not a really strong lobby group for sword, knuckle duster or butterfly knife ownership.
View user's profile Send private message
Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Lee wrote:
Bob Burns wrote:
I am wondering if a triangular pronounced rondel dagger would be yet another legal problem "Down Under"?


Yep, in my experience any blade, knife, etc. with a triangular section would be a problem to import; i know because i once tried to import a steel stileto (really a three sided spike, not actually three sharpened sides) - intercepted by customs and had to apply for a permit before i would be released. Yet, bizarrely, you can buy one in australia from various purveyors of indian and pakistan made replicas. Also pretty sure that you can buy triangular section replica bayonets in australia as well? If a rondel is classified as a dagger then it could very well be stopped by customs anyway.


"Triangular section" also described a lot of single-edged knives. That is, triangular section with a thin pointy triangle. I don't know at what edge angle it goes from being a single-edged knife (not restricted) to a stiletto (restricted), so if there is any doubt, one should ask. From the legislation: "needle-like blade, the cross section of which is elliptical or has three or more sides". Swords and bayonets are specifically excluded from this, so smallswords and spike bayonets are OK to import without a permit. (I have a Chinese spike bayonet on my desk waiting to be turned into a dagger.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Steven Janus




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 8:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Us has the best heatlhcare system in the world. The treatment will save you but the bill will enslave you but at least you get taken care of unlike in a lot of those 'socialized' health care coutnries. Just saying...People rush from Canada to the US for cancer treatments among other procedures the Canadian health care system denies them.
Newbie Sword collector
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,137

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 8:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Folks, political commentary is best left for sites whose focus it is. Happy

Back to topic, please.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2011 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, what do you all think; is the atlanta cutlery D-guard bowie a trench knife, sword, machete or just a plain large knife? I wonder if i should just chance it anyway and if it gets intercepted i can always just apply for a permit retrospectively?
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Australian Customs: when is a sword a "trench knife"?
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum