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 Anyone here have any knowledge of knife legality (USA)?

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Ex.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have a question for anyone (pref. law enforcement) on a knife I own. I own this knife,but I have had trouble identifying it. I bought it on a military base, but I couldn't get the blade classification. I have been told that it could be a gravity knife, assisted-opening knife, folding knife, tactical knife, combat knife, and even a butterfly knife. One or two of those MIGHT be illegal where I live. I live in the DC-Metro area, so you can imagine why I wouldn't want to be caught with any of those. The blade in question folds into the handle, and I have to use a thumbstud to engage the blade. It uses a liner lock and has no springs to assist it open. I am NOT questioning or promoting ownership of illegal weapons, just trying to cover my own ass. Very Happy

For the lazy people, heres a picture:

MOD EDIT: Please re-size image to no wider than 600px -- JMR

[img]http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/artofwar/images/tt2214k.jpg[img]

EDIT: Emphasized some points via BBCode

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey Ex, it's classed as a spring blade here, and banned. the spring assist is all it takes.

Go for the Crocodile Dundee look, and carry a 15" Jim Bowie

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I do confiscate a lot of knives, and I know the UK law fairly well, but I don't know if that's of any help, what with you being in the US. In the UK, folding locking knives like this are legal if they have a blade length of less than 3.5 inches. I have a Gerber model similar to yours (funnily enough, bought on a US military base) which is spring assisted, but as it locks out, and is 3.5 inches, it's legal. **
Butterfly, flick, and gravity knives are illegal full stop, but your's doesn't appear to be any of those.

** Prosecutions can, and have happened over the question of whether a person carrying it has "reasonable excuse". If you are stopped and searched on your way to a camping trip say, that's reasonable excuse. If you have that blade on you during a night out, that's not, and you could face a charge of carrying an offensive weapon.

It does beg the question, why would you need to carry this around in public life? Keep it with your military kit and there won't be a problem.

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Ex.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Nah, I don't carry it around but you know, its never a bad thing to make sure you aren't doing anything wrong. Appreciate it Mugatu.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Looks like a tactial folder.Definitly not a butterfly knife.
According to this,if the blade is under 3 inches you should be OK
http://www.thehighroad.org/library/blades/knifelaws.html

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You know better than I Mugatu, but I would have thought that ANY knife being carried nowadays in the UK would render you liable to arrest.

Personally - I have always carried a steel tipped brolly, and would laugh at a puny 3.5 inch knife.

Even in the UK it has caused much mirth over the years that I always carry a brolly (except in bright sunshine - so that's 360 days a year Very Happy)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

GomerPyle wrote:
You know better than I Mugatu, but I would have thought that ANY knife being carried nowadays in the UK would render you liable to arrest.


Not as such. It boils down to what I mentioned earlier... reasonable excuse. If you can prove that you have a need for it (i.e. you use it in the course of your job and you are at / on your way to work) then you'd be fine. If you were carrying ANY sort of blade on, say, a night out, you would indeed be charged.

I was searched about 2 years ago in central London whilst carrying an expandable baton in my rucksack, but as I had just been at a training session and was on my way home, the bobbies were happy I had "resonable excuse".

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

An important thing to understand is that it's the bobbies choice if your excuse is reasonable or not.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It might be just me, but why carry a knife on you in a urban setting?
Personal defense if needed? Will it scare a aggressor away or just make him more determent to get to his goal?
Unfortunately it's my experience (years ago that is) that it makes him more aggressive or he comes back the next time with something bigger.(I have the scars to prove it, stupid enough Rolling Eyes) I like my hands empty when needed so I have two ways/sides I can attack/defend with and he can't use my own knife against me (my body or in court) And I only have to look at his knife as it turns his other hand almost useless.
If you need it for a confidence boost, there are better and safer ways to do that.
Yes, old fart talking, but in my time, I visited many hospitals, some for stitches, some with flowers and a fruit basket.
Please think about it.

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Ex.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Bill2 - I just got the knife for whatever purpose' should it be utility/tool, part of my military kit, defense, or just a good ole' boredom killer. I have full confidence in my hand-to-hand ability. I do greatly appreciate your concern though. I don't carry the knife around regularly but seeing as how my county has some corrupt law enforcement, I just decided to look into it.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Got it, sorry, had a "nice"kid knifed in my doorway once over a $5 debate with "friends", makes you a bit worried. I got lots of knives, but never asked myself that question as I don't take a knife into town, but I guess when you live in town, you have to Wink

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Wetzals_Pretzals
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Any blade over 3 inches is concidered a weapon. Anything under is concidered a pocket knife (i guess technically a 'tool')

EDIT: I think the only real difference is where and when you can carry it on you. If you are going to carry anything over 3 inches then it wouldn't be a good idea to go to work with it in your back pocket, but say if you're going camping/fishing etc, you can pretty much carry a machete
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Ex, the following links may interest you:

Virginia State Police Website
Knife Laws of the 50 States
State Knife Laws
Knife Laws Online

Hope these help.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Laws do vary by locality but in most cases its not a size issue. The critical issues here are two cutting edges, liner lock, and folding. The folding and locking make it not a dirk or dagger. It does not matter if it has a spring assist because the lack of a tang or trigger makes it not a switch blade under the federal laws. I have carried a similar 4" Cold Steel Tanto on many commercial flights until 9/11. Just put it in the coin tray as I entered the magnetometers. Four years ago, I carried it though the metal detectors at the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre. In my locality, and I do live in one of the most socialist portions of the USA, this edged weapon is completely legal.

It is a nice modified drop point serrated liner lock folding knife. Don't flick it open as the lock will get destroyed. Use the serrated portion only when absolutely necessary as its hard to restore a fine edge there.

Edit- grammer

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well I was given a stern talking to in London once for having a small 2-blade Swiss Army knife in my bag. I have also sailed through security at London Heathrow airport with the same knife in my bag. It seems to depend on the mood of the cop/security man. Generally speaking if you think the concealed weapon you are carrying may be illegal, it probably is.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It's not illegal where I am from. Size doesn't matter unless it's a switch blade nor does the reason why you are carrying it. Laws just aren't written that way because what ever reasonable excuse you have would be open to far too much interpretation. The knife is either illegal to carry or it's not. The reason why you are carrying it wouldn't factor in unless the law specifically said it's illegal to carry except when carried while en route to a camping trip.

That is not to say that some of the opinions here aren’t without merit. If you are stopped while en route to a camping trip with a knife that is technically illegal then a cop is more likely just to tell you to carry on then if you were in a night club.

Keep it simple. It's a folding knife designed to be opened by the thumb via a thumb stud. It's not designed to be opened by gravity so it's not a gravity knife even if you figure out a way to open it using gravity. It's not designed to be opened with the assistance of a spring so it's not a spring assisted knife.

Quote:
The folding and locking make it not a dirk or dagger


Not really. A dagger is a knife that is double bladed. A dirk is a knife that is double bladed but only half of one of the blade sides are sharpened.

I carried a Microtech Scarab for the longest time.

It's a switch blade so California penal code section 653 K makes it a misdemeanor to carry. However this particular knife is double bladed so under Ca penal code 12020 (a) it is a felony when carried concealed on a person.

Your knife doesn't fall into either of those sections so there is no crime. At least not in California.

Ex if you are really concerned then check your local laws. So far all you have is people's opinions and if they are wrong then they might have egg on their face but you will be the one subject to arrest.

Quote:
It seems to depend on the mood of the cop/security man.


Yes that is accurate especially when it comes to knives but just because you found a cop that let you off does not mean a crime was not committed so why roll the dice. The next cop you run into may only see things in black and white.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

California code does not apply to this DC resident but if you read further of what a dirk or dagger is you will see this-
12020. (24)
Quote:
As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of
ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury
or death. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not
prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use
as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death
only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.


I've read the correspondence involved in writing of this penal section by Cold Steel. They needed their locking tonto to be a legal carry so they had the law altered prior to releasing the knife for sale.

This is the code to the exception. I agree that the OP's piece does not apply here either.

Quote:
653k. Every person who possesses in the passenger's or driver's
area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the
public, carries upon his or her person, and every person who sells,
offers for sale, exposes for sale, loans, transfers, or gives to any
other person a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in
length is guilty of a misdemeanor.
For the purposes of this section, "switchblade knife" means a
knife having the appearance of a pocketknife and includes a
spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, gravity knife or any other
similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more
inches in length and which can be released automatically by a flick
of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist or other
mechanical device, or is released by the weight of the blade or by
any type of mechanism whatsoever. "Switchblade knife" does not
include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure
applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to
the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism
that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade,
or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.
For purposes of this section, "passenger's or driver's area" means
that part of a motor vehicle which is designed to carry the driver
and passengers, including any interior compartment or space therein.


I now carry a Ken Onion design that pushes the envelope by using a spring assist.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Mugatu wrote:
I do confiscate a lot of knives, and I know the UK law fairly well, but I don't know if that's of any help, what with you being in the US. In the UK, folding locking knives like this are legal if they have a blade length of less than 3.5 inches. I have a Gerber model similar to yours (funnily enough, bought on a US military base) which is spring assisted, but as it locks out, and is 3.5 inches, it's legal.


Grr, i knew that was the case. Bloody customs confiscated my 3.4 inch locking knife when i tried to board a ferry going on a camping/hitchhiking trip to the dam. I'd declared it and everything. He said it had to be less than 3 inches. I'd had that knife for like 10 years too. */anger*
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I just got the knife for whatever purpose' should it be utility/tool,


Then I'd suggest just buying a Leatherman.

If you are buying/carrying a knife for other reasons, first you need to buy one specific to that purpose and secondly, you need to know how to use it properly.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

TS just touched on something I was curious about.I have carried a Leatherman or Gerber multitool everyday for many years.While they are legal where I am in the US,are they legal to carry in the UK with it's greater knife restrictions?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes, they are legal, with the stipulations already stated earlier re: lawful authority or reasonable excuse. If you are at work and you're an Engineer say, you're likely to be okay. If you are sat in a pub waving it around, you're probably not.
As stated by somebody earlier, it's up to the Police to decide if you have reasonable excuse, and therefore whether to nick you. If you are nicked, it's then up to you to prove in court that you had reasonable excuse. It's a pretty common sense law really. Law abiding folk rarely fall foul of it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It's a sad reflection on our times that youngsters are arming themselves before they feel safe enough to hit the streets these days.

I grew up in a city and was used to handling pocket knifes or small hunting knives from an early age. They were essential for whittling, cutting string to make tree houses, trolleys and stringing conkers.

If an adult saw me using it they would tell me to be careful and not cut myself. Now days they would put their hands up and beg for mercy. Sad
Kids are really missing out on learning how to use them for the purpose they are intended for.

I passed through Stansted recently, and they had a perspex box full of Leatherman and other assorted pocket tools. I expect you'd need a very god excuse in the US as you would in the UK if the police found you carrying one these days. If they found a knife of any size it would be a major incident.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In my state we have no prohibition against carrying a knife, except for a switch blade. You want to carry a big machete strapped to your leg, go for it.

Now does that make it a good idea? No. Illegal? No.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

windypops wrote:
I passed through Stansted recently, and they had a perspex box full of Leatherman and other assorted pocket tools.


Including deadly eyebrow tweezers Rolling Eyes I guess the obvious question is whether you consider carrying a knife to be a "weapon" or a "tool". If it's for protection then it's most definitely a weapon and that's why it's illegal in many cases. If it's to "prove" how hard and macho you are then you deserve everything you get. In my experience the best way to avoid aggro is to stay reasonably sober and away from known trouble spots and if things look like they are going to turn nasty run away, very fast [squealing like a girlie optional].

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