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ting the US, what to do with my knive?

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  • ting the US, what to do with my knive?

    Hi all!

    As I posted here some time ago, our family is hoping to go to the US in 2014. We will ben RV'ing 3 weeks in the N/E states and also visiting a couple of BSA troops (since I am a scout leader and my son is a scout). Ofcourse we will take our uniforms with us, so we can properly dress when visiting the troops. There is one thing I have doubts about, which is bringing our knives along. In the Netherlands I always have my fixed blade knife with me (hanging from my belt) and a Leatherman in the car. My son (as a scout) only has a simple pocketknife.

    I tried to understand what is legal in the US, but things differ so much from state to stat, I'd thought of asking your opinions here.

    The knives involved are:
    - a fixed blade knive with a 4.3 inch blade and total length about twice
    - a Leatherman Charge TTi

    I can wear all of the knives legally in the Netherlands. Fixed blade knives are only illegal when over 20 inches (then they become machettes ) or worn in inappropriate places (like in a discotheque). But: wearing a Scouting uniform makes a difference, since then it is simply a tool and we can even take a machette inside a restaurant while hiking. Same goes for a plumber or carpenter and his knives. For me, my knives are also a tool.

    Suppose I take along my knives when visiting the US, what will happen? Will TSA take them away for some reason (when we land in New York or New Jersey state)? If not, is having them in an RV a problem (I will keep them in a cupboard, not within reach)? Will wearing them while in uniform a problem (or a benefit)? Is it okay to "open carry" them? If this is different from state to state, please mention the state your answer applies to.

    Thanks in advance for your answers!

  • #2
    My son and husband routinely go in and out of the US with pocket knives/Leathermans in their checked luggage. As you will be visiting with several troops along the way, why don't you ask them? Around the troops we've been in, a leatherman or pocketknife in the pocket or on the belt was no big deal, but they did discourage big fixed blades.

    I googled "legal knife size va," since that's where I am right now, and ended up on the Virginia State Police website which referred me to certain sections of the state code as well as to check with my local city or county about any local prohibitions. This is more complicated than I ever thought.

    Maybe you could collect American knives here as souvenirs.


    • #3
      Other than when flying, the thought never crosses my mind that any of the variety of knives I regularly carry and use may be illegal. I don't think it is as big an issue as you may think.


      • #4
        I don't think you will have a problem. You will not be able to keep the knives in your possession while on the plane or in airports. They must be in your checked baggage, but check the TSA rules to be certain. Also, weapons of any kind are not permitted in most Government buildings such as courthouses or schools. Having them in your RV while traveling should not be a problem. I believe most laws governing knives will restrict blade length to under 6 inches, and in some localities, "switchblade" knives are not permitted (knives which spring open when you push a button). Enjoy your visit to the US and keep us updated on your travels!


        • #5
          as long as sheath knife is sheathed and in checked luggage there will be no problem. Hint: pack in same suitcase as uniform, and leave it there. Double edged knives such as daggers and dirks generally not permitted anywhere. You can visibly wear your knife while camping, hunting, hiking or on a Scout activity. However, some Scout camps and districts, themselves, have banned fixed blade knives. If knife is carried concealed, Michigan restricts blade length to three inches as otherwise unlawful intent is all too easy for angry police to "prove." Leatherman in a belt sheath is generally OK anywhere except government buildings (includes courthouses) and schools. Son's pocket knife should probably have a blade less than three inches, and do not be on school grounds -- includes parking lot -- with any knife if under 18. Knives in motor homes should be in a locked drawer, cabinet, container not easily reachable from driver's seat; kitchen knives in kitchen area exempt.

          If you can carry your knives in the UK you should have no problem here


          • #6
            Thanks for the info so far. I know the laws are very... "interresting". I can always leave the fixed blade at home (but it is much nicer to carve with, the Leatherman is only just okay for that). And I intended to leave all knives inside the RV (master bedroom in the back or kitchen area, never near the driver seat to avoid misunderstandings when pulled over) and in checked lugage.

            What I found is that knives with blades over 3 inches (sometime 4 inches) are doubtfull in terms of legallity in some states. The Latherman can be illegal too. That's why I asked here. I hope the knive laws are not enforced by the letter, so if I do not act like I want to harm anyone with it the police won't mind. But I also do not want o wear my scouting uniform the whole 3 weeks so I can carry my Leatherman.

            BTW, the fixed blade isn't a "Rambo knive", it's this one: Blades of that size are owned by a lot of our cub/boy scout leaders at our troop. The boy scouts can only have a smaller pocketknive, which preferably is lockable (which makes it illegal in some states too... same goes for the lockebla Leatherman for that reason) to avoid injuries.
            Last edited by elsinga; 06-23-2013, 11:00 AM.


            • #7
              Almost every Scouter in the country will tell you that sheath knives and fixed blade knives are "banned by BSA," but they are wrong. The BSA policy on knives can be read here: If anyone at the troops you visit challenges the knife, though, explain that it's standard NL issue, and if they insist, just toss it in the RV til you leave.


              • #8
                I was not clear in my explanation. You will not have to be in uniform to carry your Leatherman. Guys here in Ohio carry their Leathermen while in civilian clothes. They use a belt sheath both to make it visible, and to avoid wearing a hole in their pockets Your son should carry his Scouting ID card on his person. As a foreign guest visiting our country neither of you should have much of a problem. I carry my 4 inch lockable into the courthouse all the time; I just need to leave it with the guard and pick it up when I leave. On the other hand, if I did that in a big city I might get arrested. A partially deaf man was killed by police in Seattle. He had had his legal knife out and was whittling while crossing an intersection. He apparently did not act meekly enough to suit the police officer


                • #9
                  I regularly carry actual machetes through air travel and I have never had anyone question these blades (they call them 'cutlasses' where I go..or 'swords' and if they call it a 'sword' they even pronounce the 'w'..interesting place). I've had as many as 5 in a single checked bag. No problem. They DID confiscate my sunscreen from carryon bag - WAY too dangerous for carryon. They also took my roll of emergency packing tape (in case a zipper or latch breaks). Explanation: it could be used to bind someone's hands. I offered them my dental floss. They weren't amused.

                  But it seems that big blades are no problem for checked bags.

                  I think the laws against blade length are mostly local. But no matter where you are, if your sheath knife is hidden from view, it might be considered a concealed weapon and you risk a big hassle if someone wants to make a big deal over it. Especially if some foreigner from a terrorist hot spot like the Netherlands is carrying it. You Dutch persons...and your daffodils and are a true menace to the world!

                  But seriously, I'd probably leave it at home for the trip. I feels so strange, not having it. But leaving that blade home would completely eliminate the risk of some local yokel with a chip on his shoulder from being able to 'show hard' over that concealed weapon.'ll know that it will be waiting for you when you get home.

                  About thoae machetes, I really like them. And where I go, I carry one with me almost all the time, in my hand, no sheath. No one bats an eye unless I bring it into a bank or something (not a good idea BTW).


                  • #10
                    Okay. thanks for your info. I will leave the fixed blade at home and only take the Leatherman (visible on the belt or checked in the suitcase while on the plane). My son can leave his pocketknive at home. And we will bring our scoutcard, we're proud to be a scout afterall.


                    • King Ding Dong
                      King Ding Dong commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I think you could bring your sons pocketknife. I would just give it to him when you were at a place the you have verified it is ok for him to carry it. Like a scout camp.

                  • #11
                    Pack you really have me thinking now. Where do you go that you carry a machete in your hand most of the time AND has banks that you might need to visit ? Sounds like a video game.


                    • #12
                      The 'Nature Island of the Caribbean', Dominica. I go there fairly often. The immigration people know me by do most of the park rangers and some of the government people. I always have my trusty blade with me because I go into remote areas where it's fairly common to have the trail/road blocked by a fallen tree or something. Even more commonly, if a trail hasn't been cleared in the past week it is likely to be grown over with elephant grass or some vines or some other fast-growing plants. I do a lot of hacking my way through stuff. Almost everyone cruising the bush will carry one for the same reasons. Farmers even use them to dig in the ground sometimes. They are, I guess, the Dominican version of the 'Leatherman' all purpose tool, lol.

                      The bank is the Royal Bank of Canada and I go there about once a week to exchange currency. They have an ATM but I usually exchange cash to avoid the ATM fee. I completely forgot about the blade one day and was reminded of it firmly by the bank guard, lol. He remembers me too, BTW. It's all good.

                      As long as this is hijacked I'll also note that they sell really nice blades made in Sheffield, England and at decent prices too. Usually things are really expensive on these islands but for some reason machetes must be exempted. They make great souvenirs/gifts for friends when I bring them back.


                      • King Ding Dong
                        King Ding Dong commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Ha. I don't know Pack, machetes and banks still has moonlighting for a drug cartel written all over it. Lol.

                    • #13
                      LOL! I like the machette hijack! When I go to Dominca, I must remember to get one there (and not forget to put it in my checked luggage when I leave for home again!).


                      • packsaddle
                        packsaddle commented
                        Editing a comment
                        If you do go there, let me know and I'll give you some ideas on where to go and what to do (and good restaurants, etc.)

                        One of the great things about Dominica is that the only US franchise you'll actually see is KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway. And only one each in the capital city. No other stores, hotels, restaurants, etc. Some of the stores 'hijack' well-known names and symbols. There is a Best Buy for example. It has absolutely nothing to do with what we think of in the USA. Also Ace Hardware. Again no relation. But you can get a good deal on one of those Sheffield blades at Ace Hardware outside of Roseau in Goodwill. You'll never find one of those blades in Ace Hardware in the USA, lol. If you do go there and pick one up, you may want to smooth the wooden handle some because they're rough and you'll earn a blister quickly otherwise. Also, they come really dull. Don't expect to cut anything other than imported butter until you apply the stone to it. They come in three lengths. I find that the short blade is sufficient. For those who feel they need to compensate, there are some really long ones, lol. But who wants something that big dragging the ground all the time?

                        Vicki, are you out there somewhere?

                    • #14
                      I am in the N/E us knives are not much of a issue here. even in Massachusetts. once you are out of the airport there will be no issues. Too many trades rely on the leatherman to be an issue at all and you will find them a common sight while you are here.
                      fixed blades at a mall will be an issue at a mall but not at a campsite.
                      I have worked extensively in Vienan and you will find that the social norms of walking in Amsterdam or Utrecht are far more strict than Boston.


                      • #15
                        once landed, no reason son can't carry his own Leatherman in a belt case