There are various contexts in which weapon possession is legal. Lawful uses of weapons by civilians commonly include hunting, sport, collection and self-preservation. Some governments issue firearms licenses, and some countries have knife legislation detailing the contexts in which people are legally permitted to possess knives. For example, in Japan, any fixed knife containing a blade length of 15 cm or more requires permission from the prefectural public safety commission in order to possess. Permission requirements also apply to any type of pocket knife over 6 cm (including Automatic Knives), spears over 15 cm in blade length, and bladed polearms. Police often are allowed to lawfully possess certain weaponry above what the populace is allowed to possess, though this varies by nation and jurisdiction.
Many societies both past and present have placed restrictions on what forms of weaponry private citizens (and to a lesser extent police) are allowed to purchase, own, and carry in public. Such crimes are public order crimes and are considered mala prohibita, in that the possession of a weapon in and of itself is not evil. Rather, the potential for use in acts of unlawful violence creates a possible need to control them. Some restrictions are strict liability, whereas others require some element of intent to use the weapon for an illegal purpose. The Criminal Code of Canada. Section 84(1) defines "a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device attached to or in the handle of the knife" as a prohibited weapon.
- "Double-edged knives may be regulated by law". The Yomiuri Shimbun. July 11, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
- "GAM-Article - Criminal Law, Section 4-101". mgaleg.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
- Criminal Code of Canada
- "Criminal Code (R.S., 1985, c. C-46)". laws.justice.gc.ca. Department of Justice, Canada. December 14, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2010.