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Contact your council to get a knife dealers licence if you want to deal in knives, swords or weapons with blades or sharp points in Scotland.

You don’t need a licence to sell knives designed for domestic use (eg for cooking or DIY). The following are also exempt as long as their blades are 8.91 centimetres or shorter:

  • kirpans (ceremonial daggers carried by Sikhs for religious reasons)
  • skean dhus (small knives worn as part of traditional Highland dress)
  • folding pocket knives

You can also supply arrows at historical re-enactment events or teach sports like fencing or archery without needing a knife dealers licence.


You must be aware of and follow the law when selling knives.

When you have your licence, you must record details of each sale on the day of the transaction and keep these records for 3 years. Records should include:

  • the customer’s name
  • how you checked the customer’s name (ie what proof of identity you asked for)
  • how you checked that the customer was over the age of 18, or why this wasn’t necessary
  • details of the item sold (if this is a sword, you must also take reasonable steps to find out what the sword will be used for and include this information)

Your council may add other conditions to your licence, eg about how you store or display your goods.

How to apply

Contact your local council for an application form. You’ll also need to display a public notice for 21 days in or near your premises that states:

  • that you have applied for a knife dealers licence
  • how any objections or comments can be made to the local council
  • the deadline for objections or comments

If you have more than one premise (eg one for selling goods and another for sending goods out) your council will decide if you need a licence for each one.

The length of your licence and the fee will depend on your council.

Displaying a notice

You must display a notice at all times where customers can see it, visible from the entrance and at the sales counter. It must be at least A4 size, with lettering at least 5 millimetres high, and include the following:

It is an offence to sell to a person under the age of 18 any knife or knife blade (except if the person is aged 16 or over and the knife or blade is designed for domestic use).

It is also an offence to sell to a person under the age of 18 any razor blade, axe, sword or other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed and which is made or adapted for use for causing injury.

A customer may be asked to provide details of his/her age and identity (which may be recorded or copied and kept for inspection for up to 3 years).

Fines and penalties

If you sell items without a licence, you can be fined an unlimited amount, sent to prison for up to 2 years, or both.