Why does Knife = Weapon????!!!


March 30, 2003, 04:03 PM
I don't get it..... no matter where I go, I here this... A knife is a weapon...
It dosen't matter what kind of kinfe, folding, fixed, small, large...
To the average person a knife is a weapon....
When did this happen, and what can be done about it short of mass brainwashing???


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March 30, 2003, 04:31 PM
Well, ever since Unga Dag, who is credited as being the first Neanderthal to create a knife like weapon for survival, things just kinda took off. :D

Seriously though, nothing can be done about it, short of mass brainwashing. Sorry man.

March 30, 2003, 06:03 PM
Most states do not have knife laws, per se.

Knives are grouped into the "dangerous weapons" statutes with other objects and will have their own subsection which will define a states restricted objects and those objects restrictions if allowed in some form.

Where blades are concerned there is usually a restriction on double edge, autos, dirks, daggers, etc.

Knives are dangerous weapons. They are easily used to kill/mame/injure others when used in anger. They are easily concealed about ones person.

With the first man to put/chip an edge onto a tool where it would cut, he has used this knowledge to feed himself by killing other animals. In so doing he consumed protein which over time developed the brain more.

You can travel around the country and see different knife laws and restrictions for the area you are in. Some are based on cultural beliefs as in New Orleans and Arkanasa which forbid Bowies specifically and restrict folder lengths as well.
This due to their culter in the 1800-1850 range where duals with Bowies occured regularly. Everyman was "armed" with a Bowie knife and they armed themselves with a very efficient killing tool through it's design.

Some knives like dirks, daggers and the like are restricted most everywhere as their intended purpose is to "kill" another human being. They can not be considered defensive tools nor were they designed thusly.

There are plenty of states which allow us to carry a fairly good blade length in straight and folder guise. Each state has their own specifics so one is prudent to research the pertinent laws relative carrying concealed weapons and the particulars for knives considered "dangerous weapons" in that state befor doing so.

Asking a police officer is no defense when you have been arrested for illegal carry. You need to obtain the laws in writing and if unsure of their meaning to contact the AG's office for clarification. An atty: can be contacted who can then research and let you know what the law would be interpreted to mean.

I carry a copy of my state statute relative knives in my glovebox. There is no blade length restriction but the cops for the most part believe it's 4 inches. Of course they confiscate your toys and then have to be spanked at the station while they return the folder at a later date. It's happened twice and thats why I carry hard copy in the car now.

In case you are wondering I spy on people for a living and have been caught over so many years many times and dealt with the LE boys. They always want to take the toys away and if you can show them the statute in writing and they persist in confiscation you now would have recourse against him for theft of property [yours ].

Most don't want to muck with the boys [ I was one myself for 9 years ] and so would give up the tool.

Know your locations statutes and restrictions and abide buy them. Keep a copy with you and be prepared.


March 30, 2003, 06:24 PM
I agree that LEOs are a bad source of legal information.

TX says that anything under 5.25 blade length is legal. I've had LEOs tell me just about everything from "It must be shorter than the width of my palm (!!!??)" to "6 inches is OK."

Back in the good old days when knives were legal on airplanes, I had one security officer try to take a knife because it was longer than her badge. When I quoted her the regs and pulled out the ruler I carried for just that purpose, she backed down.

Carrying a copy of the regs, or at least knowing them is very important.

Your argument about knives not automatically being weapons applies to many types of firearms as well. I'd like to see someone hold up a store with an unlimited class bench-rest rifle which might weigh 100 lbs or more or one of the big .50 cal rifles. Still, the law sees them as weapons, and no amount of education will change that.

March 30, 2003, 09:33 PM
In Illinois, there is a clause in the deadly weapons act that states that a deadly weapon can be any "dangerous knife."

So, any knife used with intent to commit harm or commit a crime in Illinois is a deadly weapon, and as it should be.

There are of course the usual automatic "you have a weapon" vis-a-vis dirks, daggers, and switchblades, etc. But the reality is all knives are dangerous weapons if used as such.

You could include baseball bats as well. The key is intent.

Jim March
March 31, 2003, 12:47 AM
JohnKSa: the Texas blade length rule is "must be UNDER 5.5 inches" (and also must be single-edge).

I know that because I looked it up when I was convincing REKAT to make the Sifu. We settled on a blade length of 5.45" to meet the Texas spec and open that market up :). It appears Darrel Ralf and Camillus copied the same idea for the Maxx series?

Measure the "stabbing penetration depth", tip to grip, ignoring the thumbstud. If the Maxx turns out to be 5.5" on the money, a bit of "sharpening" should get it a hair under :).

March 31, 2003, 02:39 AM
It's ridiculous... I realized our country was a lost cause when a kid had a compass confiscated during a weapons check at my highschool... That is to say, he took the compass home to do his Geometry homework and had it confiscated bringing it back.

Superintendant was there as was a couple of news crews since it was the 'first routine weapons check' in the school district. Of course, they started with the least violent school by far. :rolleyes:

Being a typical rebelious teenager, I asked what would happen if I refused to allow them to search me. They're (rent a cop security) said I would be suspended for three days for insubordination. I asked since when were students in a position to be insubordinate to a rent a cop. They didn't like that too much. I decided to go home instead of letting search me and they said I wasn't allowed to leave school grounds. I asked them exactly what they were going to do to stop an 18 year old from walking down the sidewalk. Then I told the superintendant what he could do with his media ploy of an ill-planned weapons search. And they let me in fine the next day. ;)

I figure all has gone to hell when the superintendant of a major school district can't (or decides not to) outwit an 18 year old punk.

March 31, 2003, 11:23 AM
What I really hate is when someone calls a gun a weapon.:cuss: My pencil could be a weapon if used in that manner, but until then it's just a pencil.

March 31, 2003, 11:34 AM
Your pencil is not a weapon because the pencils design and intended purpose is not to harm others but intended for other purposes.

A firearms design and intended role is to inflict injury or death to others, the pencils design perameters are not the same.

The pencil can be deployed in an "unconventional" role as a weapon which is not the same thing.

If a gun is not a weapon, what do you call it? It's a weapon no matter how you look at it.


March 31, 2003, 12:01 PM
I call it a gun. It's not a weapon until it's used as one. Until then it's a tool.

Reguardless of what you call it, calling it a weapon just feeds the anti's. And for that alone I hate to refer to anything as a weapon.

March 31, 2003, 12:14 PM
A firearms design and intended role is to inflict injury or death to others...

If you read the manual to any firearm, it specifically states that it is NOT to be used to harm others. Seems like anyone who shoots someone is using it "unconventionally" (according to your definition).

I get a giggle anytime I see a "NO WEAPONS ALLOWED" sign (& I see one every day at work) b/c I seem to find ways that almost any object could be used as a weapon (pen, chair, sheet, etc.). Guess that means that I'm always "armed"...:evil:

March 31, 2003, 12:50 PM
Weapons are defined in your states statutues under "dangerous weapons".

Guns are included and restricted there.

The manual may state the intended purpose is "not to harm others" but what a manufacturer stated [ for liability and to please their attys: ] is quite different from reality.

If you take the stance that "your" gun is strictly defensive in nature you are only stating "your" intended use of same, but in so doing have defined a "weapon".

"Smallarms" are weapons, whether you use it defensively or offensively--whether you use it legally or illegally is subjective and dependant on an individuals preference to use the same tool.

Objects that are specifically designed for defense of your person are by that very definition intended and carried by us to reciprocate the attackers desire to harm us first.

Definitions/description of weapons per the American Heritage dictionary as follows:

"An instrument used in offensive or defensive combat"
"A part of the body, such as an animals horns or claws"
"A means employed to disarm, persuade, or get the better of another"

The gun would be a conventional weapon and the stick, bat, ashtray off the bar top, curtain rod etc would be unconventional weapons.

Now fellas, you can play semantics all day with your definition of what YOU call your gun but it matters not as you see you still are subject to the laws of your state and they all state a gun is a weapon clearly in their statutes. Using that tool will be considered using a dangerous/deadly weapon.

Look at it this way--a jury of your peers [ who will be judging you as a defendant ] will consider the gun you used a dangerous weapon. They have no choice based on instructions to the jurors relative what the "law" says, not what you and your atty: attempt to call it.

The general consensus is that a gun is a weapon. It's main purpose to inflict injury of another. Is your gun used in defense of yourself or another? Then it meets the dictionary definition doesn't it.

Carried further, when you are asked why you were carrying a gun in the first place your answer would be?--to protect [ defend ] myself if necessary? Then you have met the description in the dictionary.

You weren't carrying that snubby for target practice were you?
Snubs don't lend themselves well to target practice do they?
You armed yourself with a deadly weapon and used same to defend yourself. Cklassic description according to the dictionary meaning of the word.

You did not carry the gun as a bludgeoning tool did you? Of course not. And nobody would believe you if you told them that in a courtroom.

Semantics only get you more jail time if you have erred in your judgement to use such tools. Tools can be dangerous weapons [either conventional or unconventional ]. The gun as a tool is a conventional weapon. People see guns and they know that they were designed for one thing, to put projectiles downrange where if they come into contact with a human body the expectation is that you will likely die from such action.

You say tomato, I say tomaaaato. Call it anything you like but keep in mind you will be judged by others instructed by the courts that you were carrying a dangerous weapon [ the gun ].

If it were not so you would have no reason to "carry" it around town. If it's intended purpose really was for target practice or hunting you would not have been carrying it on your person in downtown podunk, USA.

Not many animals to hunt legally in the projects of the inner city now is there?

They'll ask you why you own one.
They'll ask you why you were carrying one.
They'll ask you why you practiced on humanoid targets if you were not intending to use it for defense of your person.
They'll ask you why you feel it is not a weapon.

All of your answers had better make more sense than just "I call it a gun" as you will be saying that all the way to your new home with bars on the doors and windows.

Cops carry weapons [ guns ] to defend/protect the general public from others who may attempt to cause various types of harm to us.

If you can get by that one with a jury of 12--you have done well.

Play the game if you will but in the end a gun is a weapon. Your refusal to admit that may give the authorities enough reason to rescind your permit.

It's called a "concealed weapons" permit for a reason. People need one to conceal a "weapon" on their person. Usually that permit involves "guns" [which are weapons]. If they weren't considered weapons you would not need to get a "weapons permit", right?


Don Gwinn
March 31, 2003, 01:39 PM
Gettin' a little touchy-feely, here, aren't we? Knives are weapons. Items not designed to be weapons can certainly be used as weapons, but that doesn't negate the term. Items designed as weapons can be used for perfectly peaceful uses, but again, that doesn't render the term "weapon" meaningless.

If a knife or a gun is not a weapon, then the term "weapon" has lost all meaning.

And what is so awful about weapons anyway?

March 31, 2003, 02:13 PM
In my opinion, a $3 kitchen knife is not a weapon, not against a human anyway. A $100 is not a weapon either. My little CRKT P.E.C.K. isn't intended as a weapon. My CRKT M16 is a weapon it is designed and intended as such. A 22 bolt rifle used to shoot paper isn't a weapon but could be used as such; on the other hand, my P32 is absolutely a weapon. When I carry it, the only reason I would use it would to be to thwart, hopefully, or injure or kill someone meaning to cause me harm.

I'm all for the 'tool' rationale. But I think any knife with a tanto blade and a thumb opener that can be slung open quickly simply must be considered as a weapon. Same with a handgun carried on one's person. It is a tool in that it allows an officer to do his or her job with more confidence and sometimes with more immediate effect but it is absolutely a weapon by the old and more modern definitions.

March 31, 2003, 03:37 PM
In fact, in Massachusets a kitchen knife is exempt from the dangerous weapons statute by case law in 1994.

In most states the kitchen knife will be illegal to carry [ on your person ] as the blade length will most likely be over the allowed limit [ if there is one at all ]. In the kitchen it would not be considered a weapon until such time as it was used as one.

A .22 cal rifle would be clasified as a weapon [ it's a firearm ].
If you have to have a firearms ID card or permit to carry it is by definition a weapon [classified as such by the state ].

Keep in mind that if the "law" says it is classified as weapon, then it will be consideredas such whether you agree with it or not. Thats how you'll be tried/prosecuted [ by the letter fo the law ].

Knives are considered dangerous weapons and are regulated to some degree within the "dangerous weapons" statutes of the various states.

Po's are issued firearms to protect the public. They are not issued tools. They deal with "levels of force constraints" and are issued weapons with which to do their job of protecting the public.

A tool he might carry is a multi-tool, no designed to injure but certainly could as it comes with two blades as a rule.


March 31, 2003, 03:41 PM
This is so true. I carry a ColdSteel folder with a pocket clip and I get remarks like "No Weapons Allowed". Im like Duh? its a pocket knife with a pocket clip.

March 31, 2003, 04:48 PM
I'm going with 'weapon' being all about intent. My knife, thumb stud and all, has never been used as a weapon. (whoever posted about 'any knife with a thumb stud and tanto blade is automatically a weapon' is a little confused. Cosmetic features dude, just like the assault rifle laws). None of my guns have ever been used as a weapon. Look how many million guns are sold or in private hands and how many are used as weapons.

So, my pocketknife (evil features and all:rolleyes: ) is not a weapon because I use it for other tasks. It could be used as a weapon.

If I have any firearm, people want to call it a weapon, even if I use it for other tasks. It could be used as a weapon.

But, if I carried a handgun, people would say that is a weapon b/c have no use for it otherwise.

This gets us to having to 'prove a use' and 'intent' again which is all up in the air. So weapon is an entirely relative word. It's just a word, afterall.

Oh, yeah, I use my thumb stud b/c it is better than using my teeth. Not that it should make any difference. That logic that guy used is really getting to me:banghead:

March 31, 2003, 11:54 PM
JohnKSa: the Texas blade length rule is "must be UNDER 5.5 inches" (and also must be single-edge).
You are right, of course. I've known that for years. I can't even claim a typo, because that's what I meant to type.

I did get it right in my earlier post about the legality of the ASP baton... I'm not sure what was going on in my head last night.

April 1, 2003, 11:51 AM
brownie0486, I think we're definately on the same page here. I was just playing the semantics game like some other folks were. ;)

April 2, 2003, 12:57 AM
speaking of semantics, more people have been killed by kitchen knives than any "tactical" knife...


April 2, 2003, 08:15 AM
How true about kitchen knives holding that distinction.

They are not illegal in the kitchen but would be considered carrying a concealed weapon [ possibly illegal dependant on the your locations laws ] on the street [ in public ] mostly due to their blade length.

Domestic violence is one of two areas police are trained to be extra vigilant responding to. More cops are killed at traffic stops and domestic calls than all other types combined.

Kitchen knives play a big role in domestic violence and injury for a reason. They are within easy reach [access ]. Conversely we can now understand why they would be deemed illegal on the streets.

Carrying a kitchen knife in public might give one the idea there was premeditation [ intent ] on the wearers/bearers part to inflict injury on someone [ whether in a defensive or offensive role ].

Numbers play a part in this scenario as well. Anyone care to guess how many kitchen knives are in households vs. tactical folders? The shear volume [ commonality ] of one over the other would bring the results stated.


April 2, 2003, 01:18 PM

Thank you... remarks such as those are why I asked my question in the first place......
I can understand that you can't avoid seeing a gun as anything but a weapon... This makes it neither good nor evil, seeing as how no wepon can use it's self, (Aside from the human being, and other animals)........
But a knife that you carry on you, actually HAS USES.....
And no, I might not need it today, or tomorrow... but I almost guarantee you that I use my knife at least once in a week. And there are times that I'll need to use it several times in a single day...
It's all just one jumbled mess. And the public, either because of the media or the fact that lots of kids are being raised as cowards now a days or a little of both, are so uninformed that they make it hard on the ones that have no intention of useing a knife as a weapon unless put in such a situation that it is required to stay healthy and whole.... And then, honestly, in that situation, that's when I use my gun.

It all just IRRITATES the S(-)1T out of me.......

April 2, 2003, 07:59 PM
And what is so awful about weapons anyway?

Just thought this comment could stand being repeated.

April 10, 2003, 02:25 PM
I'll bump to that;)

what Don said.


C. H. Luke
April 16, 2003, 03:36 PM
"Why does Knife =Weapon????!!!"

In my State a knife IS considered a Deadly
Weapon with good reason.

From 21 feet it's not difficult for some one to reach you and gut you
in about 1.5 seconds.........How many can draw and successfully engage in an "unanounced" 1.5 sec. window?

April 17, 2003, 12:25 PM
The real short answer is this:

They are dangerous weapons because the state says they are dangerous weapons and includes restrictions of same to varying degrees determined by each states laws.

If knives are included in the statute [dangerous weapons ] then they are such by law. As law abiding citizens we are obligated to follow the states guidelines and restrictions of same.

No different than the gun laws. They are also included in the dangerous weapons laws.

You may not like the description of your knife as a dangerous weapon but you don't have a choice in the decision here. The state has made that determination for you in writing.

If you are lawabiding you follow the restrictions place on you by the state and accept their restrictions under the dangerous weapons statutes.

Nothing really new here.


Don Gwinn
April 17, 2003, 05:20 PM
You can really see our backgrounds come out here. The deadly force instructor says "they're deadly weapons because that's what the law says."

The English teacher says "A knife fits the definition of what the word weapon means, so it's a weapon."

The guy who's tired of being hassled by rent-a-cops says "Why is a knife a weapon? Why won't you people just mind your own business?"


Luke, your point is well taken, but is that apples to apples? Tueller wasn't measuring people on equal terms, as I understood the tests. He was using "gunners" with pistols in the holster vs. "knifers" with knife in hand. The test was whether a determined attacker with knife in hand could cover the distance and make the first strike before the shooter (presumably a police officer, if he was standing his ground but hadn't drawn his gun) could draw and shoot him. As far as I know, he didn't test with both parties starting on a buzzer and all weapons concealed or holstered. If he had, the gunners would probably have won. The forehead-slapper of those tests (defined as the fact everyone thinks they should already have known, but they didn't) was that the knifer in the tests had the initiative and was able to act first. The shooter didn't have to close the distance, but he had to react because his gun was in its holster.

As I understand it, then, the lesson was not to underestimate any armed opponent by leaving your gun holstered. Draw and have him in the sights as you issue your commands, on the theory that he can run faster than you can draw but not faster than you can pull the trigger. I am not an expert on any form of combat, so my observations should be taken with a grain of salt.

April 17, 2003, 05:25 PM
Mine is still a pocket knife to me.:)

C. H. Luke
April 17, 2003, 07:34 PM

The Buzzer business {act. tone from a shot timer} wormed its way into my post from some of the drills I've participated in.
Perhaps should have qualified it as such in reference to a true Tueller Drill. THe specific one was Shooter & "Runner" stand Back-to-Back and do their part at the tone. Afterwards measure how far the "Runner" got {away from the Shooter}in the time it took you to get your 1st. hit on cardboard.
At least 30 Shooters did it one of a number of evenings. Even the best
time/shortest distance recorded was flat-out Scary !

I remember some thing Ayoob has written about his {business of} Expert Testimony with a video he has of someone spread-eagle face down on the ground and the time it took to get to the Shooter having a roughly equal time frame.

The last time I took Chuck Taylor's Adv. Tac Handgun Course he mentioned more and more Professionals consider the 1.5 second/21 feet to full engagement to be less than Gospel anymore.

"...the knifer in the tests had the initiative and was able to act first."

Agree! very, Very, True! However Chuck also points out that you had better be prepared NOT to let the Hooligan "close" on you {assuming you've made him} and your paw is on, or not yet on, your pistol. In this sense 21 feet is a very long way no matter if your skills are of Intermediate or "Combat Master" level. On top of this whose unconcious "comfort" zone extends out to anywhere near 7 yds.?

April 17, 2003, 07:56 PM

Depending on the type of blade and length it may just be a pocket knife by statute. In Mass. case law in 1994 clearly spelled out that "folding type knives, swiss army knives and kitchen knives are exempt" from the dangerous weapons statutes and consequently not restricted to possess by state law.

If a particular municipality or federal agency further restricts your access into their buildings then you are under their guidelines and not the states. You have a right to entrance provided you meet their restrictions place upon you.

After 9-11 the powers that be decided to play it safe and restrict even pen knives from their buildings/parks etc. They probably went too far to the other side of security measures but I have a feeling their thought process went something like this--If we allow pen knives into the building and anyone gets aggressive and starts taking hostages with same [ as in terrorist act ]we will be held liable and possibly deemed negligent in not taking measures which would have prevented same. Their liability in a civil trial would be incredible.
They are erring on the side of caution. It's prudent on their part but annoying to us but we live in a changed world than when our forefathers grew up an we have to change with the times.

Don Gwinn: The Tueller tests were actually realistic in part the way he had them start as anyone who is contemplating sticking you [ especially sticking a cop ] will not announce the fact or usually give an indication of his intentions before he strikes.

Gang bangers will access it and hide it until they feel they have the upper hand and surprise on their side. The cop will most always in this sceario be reacting to an action on the perps part.

It was meant to demonstrate to police that they can be had easily with a knife from 21 feet when surprised even at that distance. Training officers in the my classes is always interesting when this comes up. With few exceptions the police go about their duties thinking "the idiot brought a knife to my gun fight" and cops have been killed often enough even though the hear the 21 foot rule in the academies, they do not believe it.

I like to show them this--they interview people on the streets at contact distance not 21 feet. If I can get to you before you clear leather at that distance, I can certainly get you at contact distance. We demonstrate this to the officers who think they can beat the perp. After they have been cut numerous times with the trainers and haven't cleared leather yet, the lightbulb goes off and they become less apt to dismiss the "drill".

They learn how to work within those confines by first utilizing defensive knife, unarmed techniques which opens up the distance to the threat, and then pulling the gun out.

Distance is key in defending against a knife and if you have some banger within interview distance who yanks a blade on you, you had better not rely on the gun getting into play before you take several nasty wounds. Better to have the skills to create some distance/time to be able to survive.

It's a real wake up call for most of the officers I see in front of me and too a man they have all ended the class by stating they now realize how dangerous a knife is to them.

Awareness of the potential harm to them brings new thought processes to the forefront and they have a new respect for the knife and it's potential to kill them real quick.

You stated "As I understand it, then, the lesson was not to underestimate any armed opponent by leaving your gun holstered. Draw and have him in the sights as you issue your commands, on the theory that he can run faster than you can draw but not faster than you can pull the trigger."

Your understanding is correct in the above. If you are issuing commands to comply in a potentially dangerous scenario you should at the least have it unsnapped and hand on it's grip.

When I worked at that profession I carried a 38 snub hammerless in my jacket and the hand was on it when I got out of the cruiser when danger might be present. Many people on car stops were covered and never knew it, but had one of the stops resulted in the driver attempting to shoot me at the window he would have become cold quickly. As well I most always covered someone when approaching them the same way on the street. There is no way I could get the gun out in time from the duty rig yet I was instantly able to fire on them from the jacket if necessary. Only one instance where it came into play, when a perp at a domestic threatened to stick me and picked up a kitchen knife. He was quite surprised to find he had to get through some lead to carry out that threat when I produce it from the pocket. My partner almost had a coronary and later started carrying one in his jacket pocket as well. He knew we would have taken some wounds or worse had I not had that 38 in my hand and ready.


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