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J.W. Owen




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: German Sword laws         Reply with quote

Hello,
I'm from Australia, but I'm currently in Alaska. My problem is that I'm moving to Hannover, Germany in one month. Now, I own one sword (of horrid quality) and I was planning on buying another (a mortuary) but now I'm holding back as I'm unsure if I could get them into Germany. So my question is if there is anyone familiar with German weapon laws who could clarify for me whether I could get them in, would s/he please respond?

Thanks


Last edited by J.W. Owen on Fri 04 May, 2007 2:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hi there,

I once turned up at Frankfurt airport with a walloon hilt in my backpack. The security guards gathered around the xray machine seemed interested in my bag -they were trying to figure out what it could be. When I told them it was a sword, they became very interested and asked me if i did martial arts. As I was flying out of Frankfurt, they helped me to repackage it in a more appropriate manner, insuring me that it would be safer and that they would put it amongst the fragile items. The german security officers were very respectful, almost reverential towards the old sword. Could be that i just lucked out with some rather enlightened young officers, i don't know. There was no mention of any legalities involved.

good luck, adam s
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J.W. Owen




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Adam, that's encouraging. Last time I flew through Copenhagen but I'll look into Frankfurt this time.
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,032

PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A word of caution...

People will tell you all sorts of things, most of them assumptions. I recently asked about bringing swords into the UK and got all kinds of answers, some of them from well meaning people full of caution and warning, basically telling me I could lose my sword or maybe get into trouble. Most of the advice I got revolved around having some proof of why I needed a sword...club ID, etc. Some residents assured me I would be fine.

When I declared my sword to UK customs upon entering the country, they asked "Is it one of those great big things?" I said yes, and they said it was okay. No club ID or other proof of why I need a perfectly legal item was necessary.

I know Germany is not the UK, but the point is that different people will tell you different things. Only listen to those that have actually done it, or just call German customs and ask them.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Max von Bargen




Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2007 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
. . . just call German customs and ask them.


This is, I think, the best course of action. I've had similar questions, and in my case, I found the relevant information very quickly and with minimal fuss.

Good luck!
Max
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Ralph Rudolph




Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Fri 04 May, 2007 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello J.W.

I am from Germany and can give you the legal situation here. I had a look into German Weaponry Law when I ordered my Albion swords, knowing they have to pass customs on entry and fearing they might be held back Worried
Here you are free to own swords and some other edged weapons, which have not to be registered with the authorities (firearms are, like special knife-forms where the blade is hidden, so that it cannot be recognised that you are holding a weapon). Albeit, you are not allowed to wear swords in public, especially in crowds of people. There, again, are exceptions for dedicated events like re-enactments or the ever more popular medieval-feasts within our old castles, when those are registered with the local authorities (i.e. precautions are evident to avoid harm to spectators).

So, you might not experience problems importing your sword into Germany. However (there is always a however) I do not know how law enforcers behave at airports, where there is special attention and high nervousness about terrorist danger. You even have to leave pincers and scissors behind when entering an aircraft. If you can, it would be best to send your sword separate with your other belongings when moving to Hannover, there should be no problem in that.

Good luck,
Ralph

Waß sich wol zwercht mit springen, dem haupt geferet [Ringeck, 29v]
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,032

PostPosted: Fri 04 May, 2007 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Rudolph wrote:
However (there is always a however) I do not know how law enforcers behave at airports, where there is special attention and high nervousness about terrorist danger. You even have to leave pincers and scissors behind when entering an aircraft. If you can, it would be best to send your sword separate with your other belongings when moving to Hannover, there should be no problem in that.


This is what I meant. There is no however. There is no terrorism threat from a sword, knife, rifle, etc. that you are checking into baggage (I'm not saying rifles are legal to bring into Germany, just making a point). If you try to take a sword onto an airplane, as in into the cabin as cary on, you will have serious problems. Happy

Also, once you get off the plane, there is no terrorist hysteria, as you are no longer trying to get on a plane.

Some people in the US, after 9/11, think you can't travel with guns on airplanes anymore. You can, just as you always could, by checking them into baggage. Just as you did before 9/11. So why do people think you can't? Because most people make what they believe to be reasonable assumptions and then treat those assumptions as fact.

The people in the airport that you have to worry about, unless you take your sword out of its bag and start swigning, are not the German police, they are the German customs. The customs people only care about one thing...people bringing things into Germany that they are not supposed to. If swords are legal in Germany (and Ralph says yes), then German customs won't care that you have a sword. In fact, if when you go to customs and swords are not on the prohibited list, you don't even have to tell them (though you can if you just want to feel sure about it).

In UK customs, cane swords were on the prohibited list, so I felt the need to ask about normal swords. I'm glad I did, otherwise I would have spent my vacation worrying if I had broken a law.

There is no need for undue caution. If the item is legal, and if there are no import restrictions, you won't have any problems.

Import restrictions... in the US, guns are completely legal (some states and localities have their own restrictions, but US customs doesn't care about that). So you might think you can bring guns into the US, right? Wrong! Happy

Importing guns into the US without paying ATF taxes is illegal, and your guns will be seized and held until you can prove you either paid the tax or bought the guns in the US (I had this happen to me...I got them back when I returned to the airport with receipts). So don't just check whether something is legal in the country, ask about its import, which is why you have to call German customs and not German police. Since swords are traditionlly not something whose import is controlled, I seriously doubt this is an issue.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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J.W. Owen




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 07 May, 2007 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thankyou all very much, and sorry the thanks took so long. I've been having firewall issues
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