Sunday, 6 May 2012

Swords: Offensive Weapons?

Q: Good day, is it legal for someone to carry a sword on their person in public?


A: Firstly, I must say that this is the strangest question I have ever been asked.

To answer your question:

The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1960 prohibits "the importation, manufacture, sale or other disposition of certain offensive weapons". There is no definition of an "offensive weapon".

The Prevention of Crime (Offensive Weapons) Act 1953 prohibits "the carrying of offensive weapons in public places without lawful authority or reasonable excuse".

The Act seeks to add clarity by including the following definitions:
  • “public place” includes any highway and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise.
  • “offensive weapon” means any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him.
This law is flawed because of the definition of an offensive weapon. "Adapted for use for causing injury" is subjective. Which is capable of causing more harm: a well sharpened pencil or a blunt sword?

The Act basically implies that a weapon is only offensive if the person in possession of the weapon has the intention of using it to injure. So technically, one can walk in public with a sword just for show and still fall within the remit of the law.

Regardless of this archaic, poorly written legislation, I would not advise you to walk around with a sword, or similar object, unless, maybe, it's sheathed and definitely not intended to be used as a weapon. However, the Police do the arresting, and I'm sure that you will be arrested for such an act.

24 comments:

  1. Sikhs carry a small sword as part of the requirement of their faith. that is not against the law.

    It is the interpretation of the court that will test this law. I'm not aware of any test case.

    But Trinidad being what it is, carrying swords and machetes and cutlasses are not 'illegal' but seen as a common everyday part of life, despite the many murders committed using said weapons. Go figure.

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  2. Yea, not illegal, but how many people know that? Do you think the police even know that?

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  3. I think you're right when you said that it may be a matter of subjectivity. I'm not sure I would describe it as archaic. I feel like it covers a great breadth of 'weapons; it reminded me of a case I witnessed in the magistrate's Court; a man being charged under these acts for using a cable wire to beat his cousin.

    If it were to be made more sophisticated, how do you think you would word it?

    And whilst carrying a sword is not so norm; machetes and cutlasses are. It's a historic dilemma I suppose. I'm sure it is still a weapon of 1st choice just above the gun.

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  4. If i wear the sword in a holdster on my back would i be arrested?

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    Replies
    1. Try it and let me know.

      On a serious note, arrest is a possibility.

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    2. i cosplayed with a real sword and was walking around with it, into a restaurant as well. i wasnt disruptive though.

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  5. You could be arrested but you could fight it out in court and win.... possibly wine some money to for suing the state? I would sue the state. =/

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  6. Can you give me your opinion on an object such as a switch blade.
    Which does not pose a threat when sheathed.

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  7. Switchblades are considered to be offensive weapons in Trinidad, its illegal to walk in public with one but its legal to own one

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    Replies
    1. any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to any part of the knife, commonly known as a “flick knife” chapter 11.10 fine $750 and 6 months

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  8. can i order a sword for away will i get it or d popo will take it

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  9. Is it illegal to own a katana

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    Replies
    1. i dont think so, i own a sword and knives and they sell katanas quite casually now.

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  10. Can I import knives for my hikers in my hiking club..IS THERE A RESTRICTION ...ON HOW MUCH AND WHAT TYPE.

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  11. I am trying to find any laws regarding , purchasing a compound bow and importing said compound bow. Also I was told it's illegal to hunt with a compound bow , why? and I would like to be shown the laws regarding this. Please email me at marc.anton2010@gmail.com , Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Compound bows can fall under "offensive weapon".

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  12. good day, would a multitool be classed as an offensive weapon and would it be legal to carry?
    eg. a leatherman multitool (leatherman juice s2, leatherman rebar or leatherman wave) all of which have blades less than 3 inches
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These things are very subjective:
      A flick knife in the pocket of a UWI student is not the same as being in the pocket of an electrician.

      A cutlass in the hand of a drunk man at a bar is different if that same man was on his way to his garden.

      A chinee chopper in the hand of a man walking along the bus route may be offensive unless he is a dog-meat vendor.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for the reply.
    i see so it;s subjective and depends on the circumstances of actual intended use.
    Multi-tools are actual tools just some have a blade or two- not flick based as in the statute. Like a Swiss army knife-nail nick style.
    i guess it'll be safer to remove the blade-so it will be blade less.
    So if these 'tools' are illegal to carry- why is it sold here? It's unfair for those who want to be able to carry a multi-tool in case of emergency.

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  14. is it illegal to own a sword or have one in your home?

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    Replies
    1. At home is fine. It's like having a cutlass.

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