I first became aquainted with the knife rights movement at the annual meeting last year in St. Louis, and took one of their buttons.Â I don’t see any reason why knives shouldn’t be considered personal arms, protected by the second amendment, and Pennsylvania’s right to bear arms provision.Â Joe Huffman has a pretty good post up about this here.
Pennsylvania’s knife laws are, for the most part, fairly lax, but our state law prohibits switchblades:
Pa. C.S.A. 18.908. Prohibited offensive weapons.
(a) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes, repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive weapon.
(b) Exception.– It is a defense under this section for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed of dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance, or that he possessed it briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any intent or likelihood that the would be used unlawfully.
(c) Definition.–As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Firearm.” — Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.
“Offensive weapons.” — Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.
There’s an exception for law enforcement, and for people who have complied with the requirements of the National Firearms Act for the firearms provisions.Â State law allows for carriage of a knife as big as you want, as long as it’s not a switchblade.Â The only problem is, there’s no preemption for knives, so local ordinances can apply.
It’s a silly law.Â A knife is no more dangerous because it is actuated by a button or spring mechanism than if I can open it with one hand, but case law in Pennsylvania has ruled that a knife that can be flicked open by wrist action after releasing a lock is not covered by this law.