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Knife Images and Legality Issues

This is a discussion on Knife Images and Legality Issues within the Knives forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; This was excerpted from a post that I made about Kershaws. I think it deserves its own topic. Think about your appearance and what it ...


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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #1
 
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Knife Images and Legality Issues

This was excerpted from a post that I made about Kershaws. I think it deserves its own topic. Think about your appearance and what it and your knife say about you in public!

My belt pouch knives are not used for routine cutting. I regard them as being mainly for emergency defense. Thus, I don't have a lot of need to re-hone them, and can't say how well this Kershaw holds an edge. It has opened some mail,etc., and stayed sharp.

However, my routine carry knives are a Puma No. 921 (probably discontinued now) and a Benchmade with a 154CM blade that says that it's a McHenry & Williams design. Blade is about four inches. Has an Axis lock. The handle is very well designed and is textured black synthetic. I know the handle material; just can't think of it. G-10?

I like the Gerber- Aplegate Fairbairn folders very well, but seldom carry any outside my home because I'm afraid that some cop will say that they're legally a dagger. The fact that the large one has "Combat Folder" written on the blade doesn't help it's image, either.

The Benchmade McHenry & Williams has elegant, functional design and is legally a milder looking knife. If I have to use it against a human or a dog, the prosecutor may not be as inflamed by the looks or any aggressive lettering on the blade. Some knives are marketed to the chest-beating macho set, who like the "Tactical" looks and ads. Think how having one of those will affect an officer's view of you if you're ever searched. And think what your public image says. It may help you avoid arrest if you have a knife that a cop thinks may be illegal. Many are not too well informed about knife laws, and go by a person's looks and the looks of the knife.

Now that cops often work security here in supermarkets and book stores, I have to keep that in mind. All it takes is some soccer mom objecting to a knife on your belt to cause potential grief. If you clip one on your pocket, that just makes it even more visible, raising the odds of an official query.

Sorry to go on for so long, but I think this is pertinent to choosing a carry knife, of whatever brand.


Lone Star
P.S. The Buck No. 110 and its many copies are so widespread that their image isn't as bad as that of "Tacticool" models. Puma has made some nice ones. Still, know your knife laws, and err on the side of caution.




Last edited by Lone Star; August 14th, 2010 at 05:10 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #2
 
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If I ever resort to a knife to kill another person, I promise the LAST thing on my mind will be how mean it looks!

I have a beat up Gerber Applegate Fairbairn in my back pocket. I had a Kershaw Packrat, but the clip wasn't strong enough for the knife - the holes grew larger, the knife flopped around - so back to my old Gerber. But if I had to pull it for defense, it would mean I was already getting whooped on pretty good, and no DA would bring charges nor jury convict me at that point.

Besides, it is so scratched up and dinged that it looks just like what it is - a work knife.

Also - I've carried a knife for 40+ years now, except when in countries where it wasn't legal...and even then, I might have carried it. Don't know where you live. Glendale AZ used to ban all knives, but the AZ gov preempted them so now it is legal there too - but in 40+ years, no one has ever blinked an eye at my having a knife. Not even in the 3rd grade, but that WAS an era gone by...

Last edited by bsms; August 14th, 2010 at 05:19 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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Texas law says I can carry a knife with a blade up to 5 1/2 inches, and I do just that. It's a spear-point style blade, long cutting edge and strong stabbing capability. If I have no other choice but to use a knife to defend myself, I'm using every advantage I can get.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #4
 
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In Michigan it is legal to carry a knife for work and chores. The blade only becomes a weapon if that is your intent. I always have one clipped into my pocket. I work around machinery and have gotten my shoelace caught in conveyor before. I was very happy to have a quick opening knife to sever the lace as it slowly pulled my foot in. Other have gotten clothing caught and I want to be able to cut myself free. That is my reason for carrying a large folder and I am sticking to it.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:44 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ascii View Post
Texas law says I can carry a knife with a blade up to 5 1/2 inches, and I do just that. It's a spear-point style blade, long cutting edge and strong stabbing capability. If I have no other choice but to use a knife to defend myself, I'm using every advantage I can get.
Understandable, but Texas law also forbids a "Bowie, dirk, dagger, poniard, or stilletto." And just what might LEGALLY constitute one may lie in the judgement of an officer or a court. I know what they are. I'm a student of edged weapon design down through the centuries. The dictionary says what they are. Courts may decide otherwise.

Gov. Rick Perry recently signed legislation that forbids cops pressing a case for a one-hand opener. Some DAs were trying to charge people found to be carrying one. I'm referring to blades that pivot open via a thumb stud.

I understand that San Antonio has one of the worst knife laws in the nation, and it should be challenged on the basis of state preemption. I'm pretty sure that it was passed because of the high population there of people of an ethnicity perceived as being likely to misuse knives. (Latinos.)

I have heard that Richardson and Plano also limit blade length, probably in violation of Texas law. But unless these city laws are successfully challenged, cases can be filed.

My appearance is unlikely to get me searched, and I avoid bad areas of town. (Dallas.) But if you have a traffic accident and a cop sees a knife on your belt or clipped to your pocket, they may go fishing for a way to charge you. Probably not, but some will.

Lone Star

Last edited by Lone Star; August 14th, 2010 at 05:54 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #6
 
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This is an interesting thread. I never really thought about what the knife clipped to your pocket or belt says about you. I guess because I carry a small pocket folder. Lately though, I've been considering carrying something bigger and I'm currently shoping for something. I live in Texas and is good to hear fellow Texans thoughts on this. Carry on.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Star View Post
Understandable, but Texas law also forbids a "Bowie, dirk, dagger, poniard, or stilletto." And just what might LEGALLY constitute one may lie in the judgement of an officer or a court. I know what they are. I'm a student of edged weapon design down through the centuries. The dictionary says what they are. Courts may decide otherwise.

Gov. Rick Perry recently signed legislation that forbids cops pressing a case for a one-hand opener. Some DAs were trying to charge people found to be carrying one. I'm referring to blades that pivot open via a thumb stud.

I understand that San Antonio has one of the worst knife laws in the nation, and it should be challenged on the basis of state preemption. I'm pretty sure that it was passed because of the high population there of people of an ethnicity perceived as being likely to misuse knives. (Latinos.)

I have heard that Richardson and Plano also limit blade length, probably in violation of Texas law. But unless these city laws are successfully challenged, cases can be filed.

My appearance is unlikely to get me searched, and I avoid bad areas of town. (Dallas.) But if you have a traffic accident and a cop sees a knife on your belt or clipped to your pocket, they may go fishing for a way to charge you. Probably not, but some will.

Lone Star
Your right about the fixed blade knives. I probably should have clarified that my knife is a folding knife, and it's a slim-style grip so it fits very flush into my pocket so only about 1/2 inch sticks above the pocket lip.

As for the 'assisted opener' knives (ie. thumb stub knives), that's been a "gray area" for a long time, there are politicians that want to categorize them in the same category as 'gravity knives' (ie. balisong/butterfly knives; switchblade) and have tried repeatedly, but have never been able to make the case that they are. Same thing for knives that use the 'lock bar/plate' to hold the knife open. Some politicians say that knife becomes a 'fixed bladed weapon'.

Currently the law is very fuzzy with regards to 'switchblades/gravity knives'. The common consensus is that if you have to apply any force directly to the blade to open it, it's not a 'gravity knife' or 'switchblade'.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #8
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Here's some further info on Texas Knife Law

TEXAS PENAL CODE 46.6

“Illegal Knife” means a:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one half inches;
Rainer v. State, 763 S.W.2d 615 (Tex. App.-Eastland 1989, pet. ref’d) To determine length, measure entire length of blade past handle, not just the sharpened portion of the blade. Same result in McMurrough v. State, 995 S.W.2d 944 (Tex. App.-Ft. Worth 1999).
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
Albert v. State, 659 S.W.2d 41 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1983, pet. ref’d) Martial arts throwing star qualifies as “a hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown”.
(C) dagger including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;
Armendariz v. State, 396 S.W.2d 132 (Tex. Crim. App. 1965) A knife slightly over seven inches in length when open, equipped with a double guard, blade that locks open and is sharpened on both sides of blade for over an inch meets the definition of a dagger.
(D) bowie knife;
Mireles v. State, 192 S.W. 241 (Tex. Crim. App. 1917) A knife in a scabbard with a blade nine inches long and a handle four or five inches long described as a butcher knife was embraced in the term “bowie knife” as defined by the Penal Code.
(E) sword; or
(F) spear.

TEXAS PENAL CODE 46.11

“Switchblade knife” means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of
gravity or by the application of centrifugal force.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #9
 
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Another area where "concealed" scores points over "open" carry where both are legal.

MY EDC is a CRKT M21-04. . . it is fairly big and sometimes prints (something I can't afford at work, where I am supposed to look like a fluffy bunny) but I play it off like it is my flashlight and I also carry a flashlight (Fenix PD30+) that I allow to be seen (when I am not apt to be printing) hoping nobody gets curious enough to press the question. I really can't afford to carry to work at least until I go LCP or LCR even then it is going to have to be pretty deep cover. Right now I am just carrying my DL, flashlight, knife and a flashdrive with music on it to work (wallet, no money, credit cards, pictures, nothing like that. . . been thinking I should leave out the DL too) . . . walking to work rocks, but it is a high robbery neighborhood and a VERY weapon intolerant workplace, just thankful no metal detectors.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #10
 
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Do you pay attention to the weapons signs at the post office or social security offices?

Does anyone KNOW if an ordinary pocketknife is deemed a "weapon" there?

I usually mail things at a UPS store, to be on the safe side. If I have to enter such a facility, I leave my knife in the car,. lest I get caught by a metal detector. But I'm not happy about it!

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Old August 17th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #11
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In NH a law was passed and went into effect this year than essentially eliminates all knife laws. Switchblades, dirks, daggers, etc are now all legal. The theory put forth by the bills sponsor was to punish the criminal and not some object. I bought a Kershaw 1660 assisted opening knife this spring and really like the knife. To me any knife is a work knife but when I am out and about I usually carry the Kershaw on the weak side should the strong side get covered by an attacker and I can't draw my CCW. I'll try to cut myself a little room to draw. Other than that if I have to circle the wagons with a knife as my protection then it definitely hasn't been a good day so far.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 06:23 PM   #12
 
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In Florida, an "ordinary pocket knife" (definition unknown) is legal to carry concealed without a concealed weapon license.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 06:35 AM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
In Florida, an "ordinary pocket knife" (definition unknown) is legal to carry concealed without a concealed weapon license.

Yeah, but state law isn't what applies on the Post Office premises or at Social Security. Those are Federal locations. They have their own set of laws, often meaner than state laws.

Under Texas law, I wouldn't worry about carrying a Swiss Army knife.

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Old August 31st, 2010, 01:11 PM   #14
 
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I'm glad to be back in Alaska
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Old September 8th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #15
 
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The Gerber Applegate Fairbairn knife is still available:

Gerber Applegate Fairbairn Combat Knife 05780
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