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Texas Knife Law Danger

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Lone Star, Jun 1, 2005.

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  1. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    I have been told that under Texas statute Chapter 46.01 11(b), it is technically unlawful to carry knives that pivot open one-handed, and that police will try to flip them open with force, then arrest someone for carrying what amounts to a knife that can be opened with centrifugal force. This is a separate statute from the usual "legal knife" law, and may leave someone vulnerable to arrest, when he believes he is compliant with that law.

    Even a Buck No. 110 with a loose joint could get someone arrested if that technique works for charging offenders!!

    The issue is what is legally a "switchblade" or gravity knife, even if one isn't designed to be.

    Does anyone know for sure?

    Lone Star
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2005
  2. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    The law is slightly foggy here. It reads:

    (11) "Switchblade knife[0]" means any knife[0] 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.


    So, the defense to that sort of nonsense is twofold. First, the knife was neither designed, nor modified to act as a "switchblade." Any argument otherwise, assuming those two conditions, just isn't going to fly. And second, the wording of "releases a blade from the handle" indicates that force cannot be applied to the blade to open the knife. I can open most of my folding knives by holding the blade and swinging, but that is not the design intent, and the blade isn't really released from the handle in that manner.

    To be technical, the law does not prohibit knives that pivot open one handed. A blade with a thumb stud will open with one hand, but since force has to be applied to the blade itself, not to a spring mechanism inside the handle, it is legal.

    If the police are really looking hard for a reason to arrest somebody, it *might* fly for an arrest, but I find it highly unlikely that it will stand in court.

    That Said(tm), there is a potential for abuse in this rather broad statute.
     
  3. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    Azrael-

    That potential for abuse is what is scaring me. Many policemen are not really well informed, and may try the technique described, because they think it will fly in court, or not be challenged by someone with a talented, determined defense attorney who cares about his client.

    Many cops are easy-going about knives, provided that the person carrying is clean cut and doesn't seem to be a public threat. Others will try to file any charge they can, especially if they've just had a fight with their wife or they enjoy going going on a power trip.

    Lone Star
     
  4. O.F.Fascist

    O.F.Fascist Member

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    heh, I just carry a fixed blade knife.

    That being said I think any knife laws are stupid.
     
  5. patentnonsense

    patentnonsense Member

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    Sorry, the statute quoted above doesn't say anything about "designed or modified." If you can flip the knife open without touching the blade, you may have a problem.
     
  6. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Yeah ,carry a fixed blade but do not have two edges sharpened in Texas....
     
  7. TheDutchman

    TheDutchman Member

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    Most laws in Texas are Loosely Defined in favor of Law enforcement mostly in dealing with minorities since most of the laws where made in the 40's, 50's and 60's.
     
  8. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    I think it is sort of assumed that only undesireables like mexicans would carry switchblades, while honest white folk are expected to carry a sidearm.

    Considering that a crappy bryco pistol costs less than most switchblades, I cant see how this law serves even its original racist purpose anymore.
     
  9. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Its absurd how many knife laws there are in most states of the union. I can legally carry a .44 magnum revolver into just about every place in this state, including the state capital, but carrying a lock-back with a 4.5 inch blade can get me jail time.

    Can someone explain to me why knives arent considered "ARMS" under the second ammendment?
     
  10. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    So my Kershaw Leek would be illegal in TX but not in a nanny state like MD? That's just daft.
     
  11. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    Gotta love Texas

    I was sitting in a college classroom the other day waiting for the instructor. I was comparing my 4" blade folder to what two other students carried clipped to their pocket to pass the time....
    CT
     
  12. Zrex

    Zrex Member

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    I carry a Kershaw Blur daily, and will continue.

    According to the Kershaw website, their knives don't meet the definition of a switchblade.
     
  13. GhostRider66

    GhostRider66 Member

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    I have also heard that the vague "bowie knife" reference has been used or interpreted by law enforcement to mean any fixed blade knife. But as mentioned before, the cops generally tend to use this when looking for an excuse as it were. Doesn't make it right though. When I asked my CHL instructor about this, his advice was to make sure and only carry a large, fixed blade when out camping or something of that sort. Funny thing is that doesn't seem to be exempted anywhere in the law. :scrutiny:

    § 46.01. Definitions In this chapter:

    (6) "Illegal knife" means a:

    (A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
    (B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
    (C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stilletto, and poniard;
    (D) bowie knife;
    (E) sword; or
    (F) spear.


    (7) "Knife" means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument.
     
  14. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    That whole "must be smaller than x inches" bugs me as well. :fire:
     
  15. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    Why are there even laws against these things? It seems stupid in a state where pretty much everyone over the age of 7 has a gun of some sort. Last time I checked, even the Italian army was able to beat the Ethopians in a guns vs spears matchup.
     
  16. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    Frankly, the idea that a citizen of Texas should be anything less than required to carry a Bowie knife is morally and ethically repugnant.

     
  17. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Member

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    Neither of those describe the Leek.
    -No buttom or other device located on the handle of mine
    -Actually the Speed Safe feature assists opening but it also assists keeping the knife closed as it tensions against the force of gravity or centrifugal force.

    S-
     
  18. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    > Frankly, the idea that a citizen of Texas should be anything less than required to carry a Bowie knife is morally and ethically repugnant.

    I just want to be able to wear my Oyabun. The broadsword can stay in the living room for the time being. <G>


    > opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle;

    So your reading of this is that if the "button or other device" is on the backstrap and not the handle per se, it's OK? Seems less than clearcut to me. :confused:
     
  19. peacefuljeffrey

    peacefuljeffrey member

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    Why does the law give a ????? how easily or non-easily a knife opens. Really! What does it matter?! The issue of dangerousness with a knife (apart from the obvious: that of the intent of the user) is the length and sharpness, as far as I can tell.

    Once ANY knife is open, it doesn't matter how easily that was accomplished. Is a knife really more dangerous just because it can be flicked open? Ludicrous. That would mean that a fixed blade knife is, like, infinitely dangerous because it is opened in an infinitely short length of time. And so what if they make it illegal to have a Benchmade MiniGriptilian with a thumbhole for opening? If a criminal wants to do so, he can take the stiffest Buck 110 and simply open it in advance of making his attack!

    WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STAND UP TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ESTABLISHMENT AND POINT OUT HOW STUPID THEY ARE BEING BY FOCUSING ATTENTION ON THE MEANS BY WHICH A KNIFE IS OPENED?! IT'S A NON-ISSUE!

    -Jeffrey
     
  20. peacefuljeffrey

    peacefuljeffrey member

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    With the law worded the way it is, about "centrifugal force" being applied to effect the opening of the knife, you could even make a case that a Buck 110 is illegal: after all, grasping the nail nick with the fingernail and pulling it open IS APPLYING CENTRIFUGAL FORCE TO THE BLADE. :banghead:

    This is what happens when idiots write laws.

    -Jeffrey
     
  21. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    > WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STAND UP TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ESTABLISHMENT

    Presumably you mean the law MAKING establishment, not the law enforcement establishment. You know, the clowns that think they're getting paid by the number of new laws they create.
     
  22. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Member

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    Automatic and/or assisted one hand opening knives are a logical technological step in the development of the tool.

    When I was a kid and fished 3 or 7 days a week I longed for a switch blade. Not even a multi-tool clipped on you vest is more useful than something hanging on you pocket that opens at a thought. I was always putting on a new hook.

    Just like with guns and ammo I wonder for the gigaoodles of times a knife is used constructively what is the % of negative applications. Probably a tiny #.

    But thank Heaven people so much smarter than us are minding the deatils. :rolleyes:

    S-
     
  23. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    This story may be entirely apocryphal, but it is my understanding that the anti-switchblade laws stem entirely from the perception of their use. It was something like outlaw biker types, a la Marlon Brando, used them in movies, so people became convinced that they should be banned. Obviously this became page 1 of the gun grabber handbook.
     
  24. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    If it had been nowadays, they'd outlaw DA's and pegged pants, too. :D
     
  25. pcf

    pcf Member

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    Has anyone had a problem or heard of a problem where a regular pocket knife has been described as a switchblade by law enforcement?

    Balisong/butterfly knives are generally referred to as gravity or centrifical knives.
     
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