Sunday, December 19, 2010

But when he threatened your life...

So. In the US, 40 states out of 50 either issue permits to carry concealed handguns to all applicants with clean records, or don't require a permit at all. In several of the remaining ten, you can still get a permit with little trouble if you live in a jurisdiction with a gun-friendly chief of police. Our Supreme Court has recognized handgun ownership as a fundamental right, and has strongly signalled that it will rule similarly on the fundamental right to carry handguns. We are a gunned-up nation that's said unequivocally--outside the liberal bastions of tolerance and equality--that we trust every free person to have a semiautomatic .45 caliber handgun hidden on his person in public.

So why in the name of all that is holy do 35 states prohibit their citizens from carrying concealed switchblades? And another three have strict length limits, presumably intended to limit their usefulness as weapons.

The real reasons are clear, of course: pop culture painted them as "the weapons of juvenile delinquents" during a time of irrational moral panic. And edged weapons, being an order of magnitude cheaper than guns, tend to be favored by people who are easier to disenfranchise than gun owners. But come the hell on. In a nation where you have a fundamental right to concealable firearms, is there even a way to pretend that knife laws have any rational basis whatsoever?


  1. Knife rights, sadly, have to wait on firearm rights.

  2. Most people have gotten cut, few have been shot. You are more afraid of what your body knows will cause pain.

  3. Greetings from Texas,
    Laws refer to lenght and switchblades. There is a world of good "working knives" that can be opened by one handed. Do a search under spyderco. Look at the police model as an example.

    Besides that, switchblades are loud enough to draw unwanted attention. In the words of the late Robert Asprin, "The other guy shouldn't know you have a knife until he's bleeding!"

    Speaking to lenght, a four inch blade will reach any organ in the human body and is legal in most states. These days you can't carry one on a plane, and metal detectors will pick them up just like guns. No law (to date) says you can't carry one past a sign saying "Conceled firearms are prohibited."

    The real problem is that where law enforcement officers will accept firearms for self defence, defending yourself with a knife is suspect. It's almost a case of gulity until proven inocent.

    In this case I fall back on the old addage, "Better judged by twelve than carried by six."

  4. biggest problem with most of those "single handed open" knives is that those of us with small hands, or arthritis or both can't manage them. Trust me, I've tried.

  5. Ruth, take a look at the Spyderco Endura (4") or Delica (3+") folding knives with the "Wave" opening feature. You hook the "wave" on the edge of the pocket as you remove the knife, which opens the blade for you. They make dull blade trainers to practice safely with. Emerson knives patented the wave system, and also make wonderful knives that incorporate the feature, but they are much more expensive than the Spyderco versions. Another option are the "assisted opening knives" which use a spring to help open the blade. Kershaw Knives make some very affordable versions of "assisted opening" knives.

  6. I have looked at the Wave opening knives actually and I do intend to buy both a trainer and a knife because that looks like one I could manage, money's an issue at the moment. The spring opening knives are iffy, I live in NY state and depending on how you read the wording it looks like a spring opener might not be allowed.

    Actually Spyderco has proved to be a great company to deal with all around. I've had a couple great experiences with them.

  7. NYC cops call 'em switchblades, but they recently got into hot water legally and had to settle about it. IANAL and all that.

  8. guns knives they are equally lethal in the right hands, and also not so useful in the wrong hands. They both require respect, training, common sense, and high level of maturity(unfortunately not every adults have that.) Building a more mature and educated society will help a thousand folds, as opposed to trying to regulate who will carry what.