Oh, i am so furious
Yesterday i thought i would coment on this thread. As this is no simple matter, i found myself writing a text of some thousand words or the like. Then suddenly, when i was almost finished, i pressed the wrong key (i am no natural left hander) and the whole text simply got deleted. I had no courage to restart and just gave up posting my coments.
Starting again, i would first remind the often wrong mixing, when dealing with goods transit facilities
and goods legal possession
As we all know, goods arriving here from European Union countries are not subject to Customs inspection; therefore the possibility that the contents of your parcel may be (a) totally illegal (b) subject to legalization or (c) subject to proof of legality, is a question that doesn't take place. Since this regulation was implemented, it has been paradise among European arms collectors.
On the other hand, parcels arriving from non European countries are practically all opened at Customs and, in a dramatic opposition to the European rule, weapons or 'would be' weapons are all simply detained by Customs at police disposal.
In case the item falls within the relative small number of legal allowances, is something you have to proof to the Police authorities, by means of all your imagination, together with well backed support like collectors associations, lots of red tape and lots of time.
Coming to this, the national definition of weapons is some sort of blind knot, specially concerning white (bladed) weapons.
Firearms are easily defined; you have military (or military caliber) weapons, which are simply forbidden, then you have sport and defence weapons, which demand for a permit ... reminding permits are deeply painful to obtain over here, and finally you have obsolete weapons, those produced before 1890, on which collecting should be wisely based, as such items are not passive of manifest, as they call it ... therefore not requiring any documentation. However, collecting of active firearms demands a permit so or even more complicated than a defence or hunting permit.
White arms are more problematic. The ancient notion of prohibition of knives that are longer than the width of your hand palm (4") is still alife and kicking. While a firearm (assumedly) becomes obsolete with time, a white arm is allways active ... being by legal definition any object with a blade or and a point (cutting-perfurating). There eventually are some perrogatives; specimens with a visible cultural/collecting/study interest, antiquities and similar. For these cases you are virtually allowed to have in your house one example of each.
But, as approached before, is not the Customs officer that judges whether your item is free to be released; they reactively dump it in their 'inbond' deposit and remind you that, if you want to have it cleared, you must require an 'in loco' survey from the Police experts, who will decide upon the subject and instruct Customs to release it ... or consider it lost in favour of the State, as they call it. Obviously if you are allowed to clear it, you still have to pay the usual taxation.
So in other words: in the present circumstances, you can mail me a bomb if you reside in a neighbour country, but you can't mail me a nail clipper if you send it from outside the community ... a large nail clipper, mind you
Did i miss anything?
Naturally this is a simplified (and subjective?) overview of the rather complex Portuguese arms law.