Second Amendment Knife Rights
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People who talk and write about the Second Amendment focus on firearms. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people go off into the weeds on nuclear weapons, but the cost of obtaining one for non-state actors is rather prohibitive.

Consider the other end of the spectrum. An end that’s clearly covered by the Second Amendment.

Consider how much protection the Second Amendment gives to items other than firearms. Items which are used and carried every day by tens of millions of Americans.

This was driven home to me in the months I spent in Australia. The Australian right to keep and bear arms, which should have come with the Australian Constitution, has been destroyed. It was driven into oblivion by the willingness of the Australian courts to follow the British lead and simply ignore it.

In Australia, the only item in the picture which can be carried without tacit police approval, is the pen, included for scale. A knife dealer assured me that no police official would prosecute me for carrying the Swiss army knife.  I was *not* allowed to carry it into a pub (bar). I could carry it most other places because I was obviously not a shady character, as long as I uttered the magic words that gave a reasonable reason to carry it (food preparation, farm work). That emphatically did *not* include self defense.

The Choat ice scraper was right out; reading the law, it appeared to fit the very broad Australian definition of a prohibited weapon. So are sling shots and cross bows. I probably could have gotten by carrying the Cold Steel with its 5.4 inch blade… but I did not want to risk it. This is how lives are penned in and circumscribed by the regulatory nanny state.

In America, because of incremental restoration of Second Amendment rights, things are different.

We have been in a cultural and legal war to restore Second Amendment rights for over 50 years. We were in a holding action for the previous 40. Progressivism detests the idea of the Second Amendment in its very essence. During the last 30 years, we have been winning the majority of the battles.

The focus has been on firearms. That focus has taken much of the regulatory steam out of attempts to destroy the right to carry items deemed of less lethality.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously, that electric stun guns are covered by the Second Amendment, in the Caetano decision. Several cities and states have repealed or revised their ban on stun guns. Knife Rights has been wildly successful in repealing or reforming knife laws in numerous states. Typing this in Wisconsin, I have no worries about carrying my Cold Steel XL Voyager virtually everywhere. (It is a wonderful knife. I have used it for everything from a mini-machete to gutting deer, to removing splinters to slicing apples). I can carry it in Wisconsin without worries, because of the efforts of Knife Rights.

When legislators are focused on firearms, it is possible to craft and pass reforms to eliminate stupid knife bans.

I do not know of any state that bans the Choate ice scrapper. Maybe New Jersey, maybe New York City.  Knife reform law passed the legislature twice in New York State, very close to unanimously, but was vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

The American fight to restore the Second Amendment keeps those who wish Americans disarmed from focusing on knives, slingshots, ice scrappers, stun guns and walking sticks. As I read the law in Wisconsin, I may legally carry a sword cane or strap a sword to my belt and stroll through Milwaukee.

It is time consuming, frustrating, and expensive for people to keep fighting to restore the Second Amendment. It has been going on for decades. Doing so, Second Amendment supporters keep the fight focused on firearms, and away from “less lethal” items. That is worth a good deal.

As legislation is passed reforming knife law, and removing bans on other weapons, momentum is built for reforming gun law and restoring Second Amendment rights.  In England, a judge is calling for legislation to remove the point from English knives.

That view is derided with laughter in America. That derision occurs because the Second Amendment fight is focused on firearms, making concerns about knives mockable.

The fight to restore Second Amendment rights is far from over, but there are many positive secondary effects.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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  1. The thing about nuclear weapons is there’s no way to utilize one for any lawful purpose, at least terrestrially. They can be used for spacecraft propulsion (Orion Drive) and asteroid mining, but that’s a ways off.

    • Deterrence isn’t lawful? Fat Man and Little Boy’s use were illegal as were all those tests? Just playing the Devils advocate here.

      • What about that one we dropped on Mecca?

        Huh! What! Sorry – I was just day dreaming there for a sec.

    • Nukes are used all the time to huge beneficial effect in deterring attacks and warfare. Do they stop all warfare? No. Did they deter the Soviets who had a massive conventional military? Yes. Can we posit they have accrued to deterring the N. Korean regime all these years from attacking the south? Yes.

    • Your all looking at it wrong. The burden of justification does not fall on you. It’s much more simple. You AS A BONA FIDE U.S. CITIZEN demand PARITY of ARMS with your government, that you might wish to [AGAIN, NO REASON NEEDED] replace under Paragraph 2 of the Declaration of Independence. Who gives a shit if PARITY includes NUCLEAR WEAPONS, not your fault, not your problem, not your circus, not your monkeys. If your ahole neighbors who needed a job (your ‘government’) have a problem with that THEN THEY NEED TO PACK THEIR SHIT AND GO HOME, AND THEY NEED TO DO IT QUIETLY.

  2. “In America, because of incremental restoration of Second Amendment rights, things are different.”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha… Oh wait, you were serious.

    What a foolish and dangerous article to individual liberty! What has happened is that already understood and respected unalienable individual rights of self-defense and to keep and bear arms have been subtly replaced by government permitted privileges. Incrementalism will kill off the exercise of individual rights completely; not restore it. They must be fought for in very large pieces, otherwise, the individual isn’t even able to tread water against the tendency of normalization and government growth. Scoff, argue, piss and moan all that y’all want. The fact remains that if you rely upon incrementalism, young men and women reading this will be shaking their heads in disbelief at how enslaved they have become by their golden years. Stop preaching the false doctrine of incrementalism before it’s too late for this generation.

    TTAG has sunk so far, so fast.

    • Now waitaminute there…
      I distinctly remember the days when having a handgun in your possession in Texas had to be under very specific conditions: travelling (vaguely defined), hunting (general season only), gun range practice and your home. Anything else meant a trip to see the judge. Similar conditions were also the norm in most states when I was growing up – Gun Owners haven’t had it so good since the Second Amendment discrimination laws were passed in the first place. Those rights were taken away in several large chunks, both at a federal level as well as states. But piece by piece, state by state, we’ve been taking those rights back (open carry in Texas, anyone?). Sure, I’d like to see a complete repeal of every unconstitutional gun owner control law on the books… but I’m also aware of the fact that a lot of Americans think that makes me weird. So one (so far successful) solution is to boil those frogs slowly and help them get comfortable with the idea that the person standing next to them in the grocery store with a pistol strapped to their hip is no threat to them. The progress may be slow and annoying, but it is still progress.

    • Incrementalism can work both ways. I don’t know if you were around in the bad old days of the ’70s/80s/90s, but I was, and it’s definitely been working in our favor for the last 30 years or so.

      Taking large chunks when you can is great (the Heller case arguably was one, and it’s done a tremendous amount of good), but if you hold out for all-or-nothing in the political and social arena, you’ve lost the battle before you start.

      • You are absolutely correct! However, I disagree that Heller was a “large” chunk. Instead, it serves as a perfect example of the importance of a strategy of incrementalism.

        Specifically, what did Heller conclude? Just about nothing! Dick Heller gets his gun. It’s scope was confined (for practical purposes) to one city, Washington DC. Where could Heller keep and carry his gun? In his home! (Oh, he doesn’t have to disassemble it or keep it locked.) That’s it! It’s hard to imagine how a gun case could accomplish less.

        But, in that minuscule increment, Dick Heller opened the path to the current revolution in gun-rights. This almost nothing case established the individual right to arms for self-defense. And, it enshrined the “handgun” with the status of a protected “arm”. Next stop: McDonald in the City of Chicago.

        What did McDonald accomplish? Just about nothing! Except, of course, that the 2A applies to the several States. Whatever it is that the “right” of “the People” means, it means that in the other 99.999% of America outside of DC.

        I believe that Congress is in the business of passing laws – to make objects contraband and liberties prohibited. We have the best Congress money can buy. Unless gun-owners vote in the ballot box and with their wallets, we are not going to persuade any Congress-critter to vote for restoration of our rights.

        Conversely, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to defend our rights guaranteed by the Constitution – to strike-down laws. SCOTUS can – and does – exercise its powers with impunity. It’s difficult – I hope impossible – to buy a vote in SCOTUS. We must all pray for the health, lives and souls of each of these 9 men and women. Long live Trump!

        It is OUR duty to bring to the courts litigation that will incrementally advance the pathway blazed by Heller, McDonald and Caetano. By way of illustration, I propose a lawsuit by an over-the-road trucker to keep-&-carry her handgun in her sleeper cab. And, to this righteous end, her entitlement to apply for a NON-resident carry permit/license in a Shall-Issue State that ONLY licenses residents.

        Another minuscule increment. Sleeper-cabs. Right to apply for a permit/license without discrimination due to residency outside the State. Why wouldn’t SCOTUS be willing to take such a narrow case? Under what line of reasoning could it possibly justify the denial of the right-to-apply for a permit/license to keep-&-carry in a sleeper-cab?

        • ” We must all pray for the health, lives and souls of each of these 9 men and women.”

          No, Mark, just *some* of those 9.

          4 of them I won’t cry one bit if they died of natural causes, while Trump is in office…

        • Very good point.

          The Heller decision really was a small step — it just looks big now because it had such enormous downstream emplications. It was a crack in the dam that eventually released a lot of pent-up water and opened up more cracks…and it’s still going, although the regressive left is doing its best to seal every new crack in their crumbling edifice.

          Nice article today, by the way.

    • I agree with your concern and your resistance to erosion of Second Amendment. But just ten years ago large numbers of Americas agreed a jurisdictions could, with a 50.1% vote or control of local or state legislature completely ban firearms. There were US jurisdictions DID have handgun bans until Heller.

      Support for total handgun bans in the 1970’s and 80s was a majority of Americans, running up to 70%, and support for “assault rifle bans” even higher. That has all fallen.

      On 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 year trends there has been a major shift in favor of Second amendment rights both in the law and in public attitudes.

  3. Yeah except for po-leece stations or places where I might be searched I always carry something. Knife and SabreRed Pepper Gel thingy. The criminals don’t pay attention to prohibited items. Oh and the Credmoore meme is only amusing ONCE…

  4. “Progressivism detests the idea of the Second Amendment in its very essence. . .”

    Well said. The core value of the right to keep and bear arms is the recognition of our nation’s founders that armed private citizens should have the right to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. These were revolutionaries who’s ideas are every bit as revolutionary today as they were central to the founding of our country. The Second Amendment defines America.

    We saw the power of a modern day citizen militia at Bundy Ranch where armed citizens banded together to defend against exactly the kind of tyranny our founders understood potentially existed in all forms of government. Bundy Ranch is our modern version of Concord Bridge.

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is armed citizen opposition to tyranny, pure and simple. Gun control arguments decrying “weapons of war” or “high-capacity” magazines or—wait for it—“shoulder things that go up” are ephemeral in comparison.

    • Bullshit. Cliven Bundy was a welfare queen who grazed his cattle on public land and refused to pay his grazing fees. After years of non-payment, it was time to pay the piper, but instead, he called on an army of inbred morons to protect him. If Lexington and Concord involved using women and children as human shields, America shouldn’t exist.

      • I’m no Bundy supporter but the federal government seizing state land, and setting up tax regimes doesn’t make Bundy a “welfare queen.”

        Taxing everything, including lately rain in Maryland, doesn’t make everyone who resists a ‘welfare queen.’

        And they were not using children as human shields unless you are going to claim the keystone pipeline protester are using women and children as human shields

    • Your point is well-taken. The ultimate objective in fixing the 2A as an enumerated right was to promote a “well regulated” “militia” to the end of “security[ing] a free state”.

      Now, the question that faces us, as respects strategy, is: Which “hill” we should best choose as the next battleground? Which hill serves our strategy best? Any hill chosen at random? Defend the ultimate mountain – or, one of the foothills?

      Big game hunters will want to defend bolt-action rifles; duck-hunters their shotguns. Are these good choices? The last-ditch patriots will want to restore the right to machine guns; is this the best choice? Tinkerers, their “gadget guns”; how about it? The Right to AOWs?

      Have we noticed that we are gaining traction on the humble – core – right to self-defense? A dozen Constitutional-Carry States; about 40 Right-to-Carry States? Heller; McDonald; Caetano? Can our fellow voters wrap their minds around the idea of a personal right to use lethal-force in defense of life and limb? Is this a distant, inconceivable contingency; or, something more immediate? Something that commands attention to the here-and-now?

      Defense of hearth-&-home? Defense of car and it’s occupants? Defense of self walking from home-to-car; from car-to-workplace? This seems to be the hill on which we should prefer to close-with-the-enemy.

  5. The plain truth is that literally everything is a weapon. To accept this reality is to accept that all regulations pro or anti are essentially useless. Something neither side really wants.

    • Exactly.

      Situational awareness. Anything can be used as an offense/defense weapon. You’re unarmed against a perp with a blade. You say to your unarmed self, ‘screw it, I’m going in after him/her/it’….. as you run at him/her/it passing that folding chair….. that you should have grabbed and………. yeah. Situational awareness. 360°.

  6. I want to carry a sword. I wouldn’t give up my guns, but I would really like to carry a sword just because.

    • In many states you can. I have carried a foppish custom made small sword before and hardly anyone even batted an eye. Same with an also custom made 15″ blade 15th century cruciform dagger, although that got more looks.

      • I meant “smallsword” not “small sword”. The editor didn’t work to fix it.
        That the dagger looks like more of a threat to people than the smallsword is interesting. Maybe they thought is was harmless sport fencing ‘sword’.

  7. Sadly, the 2a community has a narrow focus when it comes to rights. We demand our rights be respected while we are all for violating the rights of those that are not the same as us. Women, gays, non whites, folks that are not Christian. Folks that are Christian. Immigrants. Weed smokers.

    But respect our rights or we will threaten civil war.

    • You oppose broad brushed but then deploy them yourself. I have problem with certain “trans” assertions, that any male can simply say I feel like I am a girl and play against my daughters ball team, or if the men’s room is not clean can use the women room and just say they are “protected” and my concern is just bigoted.

      That said I don’t oppose gay marriage. I do know the science shows kids without fathers are near twice as likely to become violent criminals and I think that shoudl not be shut down by ultra feminists, but tat the same time respect the right for people to pick any family structure they choose.

      I certainly am myself an atheist. But I certainly hear and read as many bigoted things against religious people as by religious people.

      What is the evidence that supporters of the Second amendment are somehow more intolerant? I find them to be a pretty tolerant bunch

    • Gun-Free; you make a good point. We PotG should decide whether we want to be ecumenical vs. parochial. Are all [wo]men created equal? Are we all endowed by our Creator? Or, is it our world-view that our particular sect is the ONE chosen by Allah exclusively for her favor?

      The right to arms in defense of life and limb is one we ought to regard as due to all [wo]men of peace. Fellow-citizen or friendly alien. Jew or gentile; protestant or catholic. Mono-theist, poly-theist, agnostic and atheist alike. Why should one’s right to life turn on sexual identification or orientation?

      The right to life, and its defense, is a big tent; we need as many converts as we can invite.

    • Why do people who support gay marriage and at the same time are also against straight marriage???
      Because those same people support the Welfare industrial Complex. Replacing a father with a government check. And persecuting single mothers who date a man and receive government welfare checks???

      Homosexuals are socialist progressive in their political orientation. They totally support government “gun free zone” housing projects.

      I think those same gays and Leftists are just as intolerant, racist, and anti-civil rights as any white person the Left complains about from the 1950s.

      Pot heads in California were NEVER pro gun rights. They really said if pot was made legal there would be no need to have a gun. They said the drug violence would go way. That is until they are getting robbed at these pot shops now!!!

  8. Thee is no need to, “go off into the weeds on nuclear weapons.” The founders were aware of the difference between arms and ordinance.

    • True. And if you know the history you understand they were talking about infantry level weapons. The militia of everyone is not supposed to be able to overthrow a tyrannical government under all possible scenarios, it is supposed to create a deterrence. All evidence is that it has.

    • A smarter tactic is to avoid this hypothetical debate over the scope of the 2A’s definition of “arms”. It’s fish-bait and it contains a hook inside. Why should we be eager to bite? Are we no more intelligent than a fish?

      Please answer this question – FIRST: Why does Melania’s chamber maid have:
      – the right to carry a revolver in Washington, DC; but,
      – NO right to carry a revolver in New York City?

      Just as soon as someone can gun-splain the answer to the foregoing question then I promise to discuss whether there is a 2A distinction to be made between “arms” vs. “ordanance”.

  9. Living in Washington State, we travel to British Columbia from time to time. It’s no problem to remember to leave my pistol at home, but I need to double check which knife I’m carrying. Canada doesn’t allow knives that can be opened with one hand. Seems rather strange they allow fixed blade knives, though.

  10. I feel like Knife laws are ignored more than they should be. In my home state, I can carry whatever “pistol” I can conceal with however many rounds I deem necessary but if I carry a concealed knife with a blade over 3 inches, I can be sent to the hoosegow. I don’t know where to start to describing how retarded this is. Curious if there are any supreme court precedence cases relating to protections(or otherwise) for edged weapons. How can one be “arms” in the context of self defense and another not? MA v Caetano would seem to create an opening for sanity here. Stun gun/knife/sword cane, etc….all means of legit self defense of varying degrees of usefulness IMO.

    • I agree that such examples as you describe are ripe for exploitation.

      Americans scoff at the English and their attempting to regulate the bearing of cutlery. Very few voters realize how tightly – and ridiculously – knives are regulated in the US. If we could get them to consider these two in juxtaposition:

      English preoccupation with cutlery-carry vs. American laws prohibiting knives

      then we might have a chance to get them to think about our own legislators’ infringement on the right to bear “arms”.

  11. In terms of knife laws there are good knife forums that have the laws.

    Just always remember if asked why you have a knife — never — say you have it to protect yourself, you purpose is actually the thing that makes it a deadly weapon under the law in most US jurisdictions. Same with baseball bat, tire iron.

  12. It’s curious to me that Weingarten would bring up the nuclear argument as “in the weeds.” The 2A either covers all arms or it does not and all arms have to be considered separately by some as yet unidentified metric. Perhaps it’s easy (but not logically valid) to dismiss that argument because it’s impractical for an individual to actually acquire nuclear weapons, but that will not be the case with biological weapons. It would be pretty straightforward to make something very dangerous with genetic engineering. So called “biohacking” has become easy enough that biological weapons are very likely to be democratized. I’m opposed to the majority view on this site that the 2A is absolute, and given that the 2A is actually subject to the democratic method in the form of an amendment to the constitution, I’m legitimately interested in what Weingarten (or anyone, really) would argue in that case. Democratized biological weapons. Do you argue that biological weapons are protected? Do you concede that the 2A isn’t absolute? Something I’m not thinking of?

    • This is my take on the argument: Nuclear bomb = bullet; B52=gun. The argument is to not get caught up in bullets, and keep the discussion about arms. Bringing a big scary bullet into the argument does nothing to advance the discussion.

  13. I’m a second amendment absolutist. I know the Indian tribes had their bows and arrows taken and latter were taxed at a very high level. Nunchucks are no different than any other close in defense weapon. I grew up in California and I remember when the ban on nunchucks happened. As a teenager I was very angry. I’m still angry about it.

    Police are not banned from using them to arrest suspects. I remember reading when the ACLU was happy when police used them to arrest anti-abortion protesters. The police broke bones and dislocated limbs of peaceful protesters. Nat Hentoff wrote about this way back when it happened. Back then the ACLU had no problem when the LA police department ruffed up suspects during their arrest. But they don’t use them to arrest Leftist protesters. I wonder why???

    The LA weekly is an anti-civil right gay news paper. They hate gun civil rights. And any weapon that a civilian might own.

  14. On the Federal level, the government was basically established; …to guard the coast and deliver the mail…until they can consistantly do both of these things, they should not be allowed to do anything else. 30

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