New knife law could include sgian dubhs



A LAW aimed at cracking down on Scotland’s knife-crime culture could see sales of sgian dubhs slashed as well.

Shops selling the traditional ceremonial knives have been warned to keep them to less than three and a half inches in length.

Traders selling sgian dubhs have objected to the Scottish Government’s proposed licensing scheme for dealers selling non-domestic knives, in which any blade over the stipulated measurement on sale will require a license.

Shop owners claim the move will hit tourists who wanted to buy “heritage or highland dress products” the hardest.

Under the far-reaching proposals anyone buying a knife in the restricted category would have to produce photographic ID, and the dealers would have to keep a record of customers and the knives sold.

Councils throughout the country would also have the power to insist on CCTV, locked cabinets or display bans.

During its consultation on the controversial plans, a government spokesman said: “This may be a consequence of the scheme, but there is no practical way of exempting tourists from the requirements of the licensing scheme.

“Tourists will still be able to make purchases of sgian dubhs or other small knives that have a length of blade of under three and a half inches, as these will be exempt from the licensing laws.”

A spokesperson for Kirk Wynd Highland House, Kirkcaldy, said: “I’m not sure the government have thought this plan through properly.

“The sgian dubh is part of our national heritage and identity and the proposed ban could well affect a lot of sales within the kilt hire sector.

“Most people ask for the real thing and, to be honest, the clients who hire and own kilts are very responsible people who would never dream of using the sgian dubh in an offensive way.”


  1. Baa, it would be better if the law did awa wi’ all the cheap plastic-handled and pewter trinket crap sold as sgian dubhs alltogither. Those who sell decent sgian dubhs wi’ hand-carved hilts and real silver mounts are few and far between, and the prices on these being several hundred pounds, the profits made from the occassional sale of such are hardly a significant contribution to the Scottish economy. Get rid of the junk that isn’t even worthy of a Pakistani tinker first, then worry about regulating the size of the blade (which seldom exceeds 3 and a half inches anyway).

    • Its another government cock up – I agree lets stop knives, show me how many incidents have occurred using a sgian dubh? I have been in business 20 years thankfully & for all of those years I have heard of only on? Most kilt hire stores including ours “the kilt hire co” in Edinburgh – Musselburgh & Dundee no longer hire them, this was the biggest regular loss from a hire outfit, customers were not happy with our request of around £40 to replace them, so a commercial decision was made to ditch the real & hire the safety. Funny enough we dont lose them any more. So how do you measure the blade? All mine are under the 3.5 inches as requested when sgian dubh is measured from top of hilt to the tip of the blade? No one has said how to measure the blade?

  2. I am a Scotsman, and being a Scotsman means I should be allowed to wear my kilt and sgian dubh whenever and wherever I choose! If the Burka is seen as acceptable in MY country, then I should not be made to wear an “artificial” attachment on my TRADITIONAL DRESS!
    it is my god given right to wear my sgian dubh and not be punished by a law which was made by those in a foreign country!

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