the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings


Your Pocket Knife May Be Illegal

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belt buckle knifeKnife laws are emblematic with the loss of freedoms we have in this country.  Laws are complex and change sometimes within miles of starting on your journey.   These laws are so complex that many citizens are actually committing crimes in carrying a simple pocket knife which they would consider simply a tool.

I was reviewing the aftermath of the Baltimore arrest of Freddie Gray for carrying an illegal concealed knife.  The fact whether it was an illegal knife or not seems to be in doubt but the States Attorney has said it was a legal knife.  The local police argued with that view and said it may have been legal in the state (Maryland) but was illegal in Baltimore city (the filing paperwork by the police describes the knife as a ‘spring assisted, one hand operated knife’).  BTW, the knife clip was showing on Freddie’s pocket – does this mean concealed – I think so?

Knife laws are very confusing and inconsistent in most places, and have not kept up with advances in gun rights – I use a ‘Knife App’ LegalBlade on my iPhone (available on Android) to determine the various laws.

I looked at my state, Arizona first to see if my 3” long locked blade folding knife (CRKT-M16-01KZ) is legal.   Arizona is a bit easier since there is only a state law that pre-empts any local laws.  Looks like I can possess and carry (open or concealed) any kind/length of knife as long as I am 21 years old.  The exceptions are two that I was not aware of – I cannot carry any knife on the grounds of a public/private school or in an election polling place – I have violated this law many times without knowing.  Also, my knife has a clip that I attach to my pocket – the clip is not concealed so is that defined as open-carry?  Still have not clarified that but in any case not needed in Arizona.  Also have not clarified my responsibilities after being detained by the police while carrying my knife.  To further muddy the Arizona waters, you can often transverse multiple Indian Tribes on public roads without even realizing it – not sure what the specific Indian tribes laws are either?

I then looked up Maryland to view state law – State law does not pre-empt city laws – two cities and multiple counties have specific laws in addition to state ones.  Some counties have age limits – some do not allow a minor carrying one hour after sunset or one hour before sunrise.  No carry is permitted in schools and you cannot SELL a switchblade knife.  It is unclear whether concealed carry of an assisted opening knife meets Maryland’s definition of a ‘switchblade’.   All concealed carry of anything but a no-assist folding knife is illegal with the possible exception of proceeding sentence – are we clear now?

In Baltimore it is illegal to possess or open carry or concealed carry of a switchblade knife. Also, lots of confusion over gravity, assist and switchblade knives.

Texans have a aversion to throwing knives, you can own them but not carry them……for some reason…..

Is your pocket knife legal?

Do you know what all of the types of knives are:  Folding (no assist), Folder (Assist), Single edge fixed blade, double edge, Dagger, Dirk Stilettos, Bowie, Automatic Switchblade, Butterfly, gravity, ballistic, Belt Buckle (see pic above), Sword Cane……..whew….



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