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posted by janrinok on Friday May 10, @01:51AM   Printer-friendly

The next Swiss Army Knife won't have a knife:

The Swiss Army Knife has become such a shorthand for multifunctionality that companies producing does-a-lot-of-stuff wares will often say that their goods are the "Swiss Army Knife" of whatever category they're a part of. You can use the tool to cut stuff, snip stuff, uncork stuff, file stuff, in some cases download stuff.

But Victorinox, the company behind the famous gadget, is working on a Swiss Army Knife without the knife part.

"We are in the early stages of developing pocket tools without blades," a spokesperson for the company told CNN. Though it won't be discontinuing its bladed version, the company has been trying to figure out how to serve customers in places — specifically England and some Asian countries — where knives aren't as welcome a pocket sight than in other markets. The British government, for example, is considering new legislation on carrying blades in public.

The Swiss Army Knife has its roots in 1880s Germany. Then the Swiss Karl Elsener took production over the border. Soon a competitor emerged in the company Wenger, and for a while the Swiss government split its orders for the tools between the two of them. Wenger called its version the "genuine" Swiss Army Knife, and Elsener's Victorinox called its version the "original." The two companies ended up merging in 2005.


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  • (Score: 2) by quietus on Friday May 10, @07:00PM (9 children)

    by quietus (6328) on Friday May 10, @07:00PM (#1356473) Journal

    Will this new law also apply to knifes carried in a backpack? I'm asking because (a) that's already the case when you board high-speed rail from Paris to London, and (b) a red alert situation I had with Scottish border guards when returning from a Highlands hike, back in 2004.

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  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Friday May 10, @07:43PM (8 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 10, @07:43PM (#1356480) Journal

    As I understand it, if you have a reasonable justification for carrying a knife of any size then it is permitted. For example, a chef can carry his own set of knives (some with blades much bigger than 3") to and from work. He would have no justification for carrying them if he was making visit to a local bar. It is similar to carrying a firearm if you are licenced to hold one. You may travel with it secured in your vehicle to and from a shooting engagement. It must not be removed from its case or cover during the journey nor can it be left unattended.

    The problem you might have - and IANAL and I am NOT your lawyer - is that you now facing specific laws which are intended to counter terrorism and involve international agreements and the laws of 2 different countries. The easiest way would be to ask at your local police station. There might already be a protocol for doing exactly what you want to do.

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    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday May 11, @02:59AM (6 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 11, @02:59AM (#1356520) Journal

      What happens if the chef wants to stop for a pint on the way home from work?

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Saturday May 11, @05:50AM (4 children)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 11, @05:50AM (#1356530) Journal

        You would have to ask a policeman for the answer to that. Can he justify why he is carrying his knives in a public place? The police might agree with his justification, but he might find his knives being confiscated and subsequently destroyed, and he might also be arrested and charged. It isn't a difficult law to understand.

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        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday May 11, @11:45PM (3 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Saturday May 11, @11:45PM (#1356595) Journal

          Apparently, it is. Otherwise you would know exactly what would or would not happen if the chef stops for a pint on the way home. It seems to actually be beyond knowing since it goes into the vagaries of if the cop's corn flakes were soggy that morning.

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday May 12, @05:20AM (2 children)

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 12, @05:20AM (#1356623) Journal

            The rule is very simple, you a merely looking for edge cases. The police anywhere always have a degree of discretion. The law itself is states that the carrying of a knife with a cutting edge greater that 3" in public is an offence.

            If you travel at speed limit+1mph in a limited zone - you are speeding in excess of the limit. Here, a policeman would probably not issue a ticket but would be acting correctly if he did so. Discretion is being exercised. The courts would decide if the policeman acted appropriately.

            If 2 neighbours are arguing with each other in public then they can both be charged with disturbing the peace. Every policeman I have know would simply try to calm the situation rather than charge the people involved in the first instance. Again it is a matter of discretion.

            Likewise in the hypothetical case you are creating. If the policeman felt that the 'chef' was still sober, that the knives were still not in public view, and that no significant breach of the law had taken place then he would be able to exercise his discretion. Alternatively, could he take several minor measures such as asking the chef to leave the bar and continue on his way home, or he might confiscate the knives but allow the chef to reclaim them from the police station sometime later, or so on.

            If you live in a place where the police abuse their powers then that is the issue that must be addressed, not the laws that the police are tasked with enforcing on society's behalf.

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            I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday May 13, @07:04PM (1 child)

              by sjames (2882) on Monday May 13, @07:04PM (#1356830) Journal

              you a merely looking for edge cases

              I see what you did there...

              The problem isn't discretion, the problem is when a law is such that normal daily activities and reasonable freedoms depend on that discretion.

              • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday May 13, @08:24PM

                by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 13, @08:24PM (#1356840) Journal

                That discretion has worked more often for me than against me.

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                I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Monday May 13, @05:38PM

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 13, @05:38PM (#1356825) Journal

        It's not safe to make assumptions. That's the problem with subjective enforcement. Abuses of the law are rare, and the public guffaws discourage it, but it happens.

        :|
        https://inews.co.uk/news/black-tradesmen-searched-met-told-dont-look-like-electricians-2973519 [inews.co.uk]

    • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Saturday May 11, @03:30AM

      by fliptop (1666) on Saturday May 11, @03:30AM (#1356521) Journal

      You may travel with it secured in your vehicle to and from a shooting engagement. It must not be removed from its case or cover during the journey nor can it be left unattended.

      I understand the unattended part, if I'm not mistaken the #1 way guns (in the US) get onto the black market is they're stolen from cars.

      However, I'm glad I live in a state that recognizes constitutional carry. I carry mine everywhere I'm legally allowed to. Places you're not allowed are pretty much obvious, courthouse, post office, schools / school bus, sports arena. You can carry in a bar if you're not drinking. Even my bank allows concealed or open carry.

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