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Old 23.01.2008, 14:17
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Danis Danis is offline
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Re: Twilight Break-ins - how to avoid

Rhythmical: The law states something along the lines of "you are allowed to use force to defend yourself (and third persons), provided the force used to defend yourself is appropriate and not undue." Or something like that. So if you are attacked by a guy with a steel pipe, then the use of a knife would probably be considered okay. But only if you can't run away or defuse the situation any other way. It's messy legally. Self-defence with means that are not appropriate gets you into trouble fast. So if someone shoves me over and I pull a gun and shoot sixteen rounds into them, then I'm not going to get much sympathy from a judge. If someone threatens me (or a third person) with a gun and I whallop them over the head with a brick, then I'll be owithin the law. As long as I stop hitting him when the threat is over.

The knife thing is more about what kind of knofe you're allowed to carry and what kind of knife constitutes a weapon (in which case you can only legally carry one if you have a permit to carry a weapon - same as a pistol). Some types of knife are forbidden outright, like spring-operated flick-knives and butterfly knives. Also James-Bond type things that pretend to be a harmless pen but are in fact the barrel of a pistol. Goldfinger, wasn't it?

From memory, knives you can open and close with one hand and knoves whose blade lock into the open position tend to be considered weapons. Swiss pocket knives not. There is some degree of leeway in practical situations, though. The law on what constitues a weapon will also be changing this year, I'm told by the police. It'll be more sensible: i.e. not defining a weapon exclusively by its physical appearance but by the context in which it is used. So under the new law, the police will be able to confiscate a bread-knofe if someone is running along the Bahnhofstrasse naked screaming "I'll kill you all!" because he is using it like a weapon, even though by today's law a bread knife isn't a weapon.

Cheers, Danis

P.S. the above is from memory and without checking references, so don't quote me. If you're interested, I can look up the exact wording, etc. But the above is the general gist of it.
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