Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Is that a knife in your pocket?"

I don't get this all the time but there are some folks out there who are very observant or plain nosy.

"Oh! You are dangerous!" - That's the common fear. Its okay if a chef or butcher packs a knife. The rest are dangerous criminals. A perception that usually cripples a person in fear. Anyone who carries a knife is a threat. Is that so? The American Knife and Tool Institute or AKTI has been advocating this for more than 10 years. I think they are successful in the States but here in Malaysia, knife carrying folks are usually shunned. Blame it on bad publicity? No. Wayside robbery involving knives - usually long blades such as the parang is a common thing. 8 out of 10 cases stated the same pattern. Small blades on the other hand, are intimidating, but the issue of 'size does matter' is apparent when you see innocent folks getting robbed, sometimes injured when they got slashed by the cheap RM30 parang. Can we do something? Yes and no. Sales of long blades such as the parang is not regulated. As a matter of fact, its recognised as an agricultural tool. Possession of a tool of such, legally speaking, requires a permit. But its a grey area when it comes to enforcement. Again, what are the legal parameters of owning a knife? Since we pay tax, the status of the blade without a single doubt - is legal. Awereness, in this issue, is important.

Are knives legal at the first place? Yes and yes. You pay duty and sales tax for them and it works out like 25% + 10% excluding freight and profit margins. And I am talking about kitchen knives. You find them at supermarkets, department stores and specialty outlets. So, technically speaking, it its. But from the legal perspective, its an intrepretation. UK for instance, have outlawed knives such as fixed blades and locking folders. The country's legislative system had found a way to impose strict laws on possession. Again, public pressure has plunged the knife industry, once a thriving business, into the oblivion. The same applies in other Commonwealth countries including Australia and Singapore. Again, is it lawful to carry a knife in public? Yes and no.
Do's and Don'ts
Be mindful of others if you ever plan to pack a knife for everyday carry. Use a 'politically' correct piece like a slip-joint or non locking knife in an environment where you constantly expose it.
Never intimidate a person with a knife. First, its rude and stupid. You can also be charged for threatening people with an offensive weapon
Always observe the law. Legally speaking, even if you can purchase a knife, there must be a just reason to own it and carry.
Cooperate with the Law Enforcement Officer. If they want to confistcate your knife, do not throw in the legal jargon or retaliate. Give some room. Be courteous. You have nothing to fear if the knife is used for lawful reasons.
Be mindful of presenting your knife to a non-knife person. Firstly, its intimidating. You generate a bad first impression. Look at it more as a tool first. The law intreprets a knife as an offensive weapon..

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