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Knife Dealer Licence

In terms of Section 27A of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982 knife dealers require to hold licences from their local authority. This licensing scheme is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

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The Team are able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence.

Do you need a licence? 

A knife dealer's licence is required for carrying on a business as a dealer in:-

  • knives (other than folding pocket knives whose blades do not exceed 3.5 inches (8.91 centimetres) in length or knives designed for domestic use;
  • daggers (other than kirpans or skean dhus whose blades do not exceed 3.5 inches (8.91 centimetres) in length;
  • knife blades (other than those designed for domestic use);
  • swords
  • any other article -
    • (a)  which has a blade; or
    • (b)  which is sharply pointed
    • and which is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person.

What is the definition of a "dealer"?

In terms of Section 27A(4) of the said Act dealer means a person carrying on a business which consists wholly or partly of -

  • (a)  selling;
  • (b)  hiring;
  • (c)  offering for sale or hire;
  • (d)  exposing for sale or hire;
  • (e)  lending; or
  • (f)   giving,

to persons not acting in the course of a business or profession any article mentioned above (whether or not the activities mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (f) are carried out incidentally to a business which would not, apart from the provisions of  Section 27A of the said Act, require a knife dealer's licence)

What is the definition of selling?

"selling", in relation to an article mentioned above

  • (a)  includes
    • (i) selling such an article by auction;
    • (ii) accepting goods or services in payment (whether in part or in full) for such an article; but
  • (b) does not include selling (by auction or otherwise) such an article by one person on behalf of another;

and "sale" is to construed accordingly

  • For the purposes of Section 27(4), an article is not to be treated as being exposed for sale if it is exposed for sale (by auction or otherwise) by a person other than the owner.
How do you apply for a licence?

If you want to apply for a knife dealers licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, details of these can be found in the guidance notes attached to the application.

All applications are copied to the Council's advisors who can recommend that conditions in addition to the standard conditions detailed on this page are attached to the licence when granted. The advisors may visit your premises prior to submitting their comments to the Licensing Team. In particular the advisors may request that the following conditions be included in your licence if your application is granted:

  • Requirement to have CCTV cameras on the premises
  • Requirement to have secure display cabinets on the premises

If you do not want to accept any recommended conditions then the application would be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made regarding which conditions will apply to your licence. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer.  You will be contacted once vetting is complete.

How will my application be decided?

Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis.

We have nine months in which to determine your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days. 

How do you complain about Knife Dealers?

Complaints regarding the service offered by knife dealers should be made direct to the premises. Complaints regarding the conduct of licence holders may be made to the Licensing Team. These should be made in writing by email or letter providing full details of the nature of the complaint and sent to the Licensing Team using the contact details on the top right handside of this page.

Complaints regarding unlicensed knife dealers' should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.

How much are the application and renewal fees?

More information regarding  pdf icon current application fees [23kb]​ 

Where can I get an application form?

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.