New knife law could include sgian dubhs

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By ALEXANDER LAWRIE

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.”