The right to carry a pocket knife seems to be challenged depending on where you carry that pocket knife within the United States. If you travel between states often, it seems that you just about have to have the state law code for every state you enter. But, that may not even be enough; cities, counties and towns can have their own codes and laws in states that have do not have pre-empted knife laws; meaning that they are the only governing body within the state that may make knife laws.
You will find that many cities in states with pre-empted knife laws will violate the constitutional rights of its citizens by passing and enforcing knife laws anyway. This type of disregard for the rights of Americans places a great burden on law abiding citizens that are charged with a knife violation; and then have to fight for their given rights all the way to the state Supreme Court. Unfortunately, city governments are not held accountable for the intentional violation of a citizen's rights. The law is ruled unconstitutional and simply removed until it is enacted again at a later time.
The difficulty with the majority of state laws regarding knives is the fact that the terminology is very loose and can be defined differently depending on the ideas of those judging a violation. You would have to go back and study the decisions made in each particular case to find a more precise example of what the law means.
Many laws will label a knife illegal with something as simple as; any knife without a handguard that was altered or designed to stab and inflict great bodily injury or death. That is a pretty loose definition. A steak knife could fit that explanation.
Carrying a pocket knife can always be challenged regardless of the intent of the owner. Concealed carry laws regarding knives have been responsible for many convictions. Most of the time, the conviction is simply for the carrying of the knife and does not involve any other violations. Many feel that this type of law serves to disarm a law-abiding public while the criminal continues to rob, steal and murder disregarding any knife laws.
There are many that believe that the rate of convictions for knife carry violations is very positive due to the massive amount of them. An individual may not have been a criminal before being charged with violating a knife carry law, but is definitely a criminal after being convicted. Thus, the laws prohibiting knife carry are definitely working in taking criminals off of the streets.
What you will find when it comes to laws and beliefs governing knives is two distinctly separate sides that are adamant about what they feel should be law and what should not.
There are many that feel that all men are equal; no man should be elevated over another. Every man is entitled to personal freedom and is born with inalienable rights. These people believe in the exact words of the Constitution and do not feel it is necessary to add or take away from it. These people feel that an individual's misconduct only becomes the responsibility of the State when another citizen is harmed.
There is another view; a view much different, actually, completely opposite. This opposite view is a belief that all men are innately evil and the only method of control is by a tough and strict State. Laws must be created not only to punish those that harm others, but also to prevent this harm from ever happening by governing the personal rights of every citizen.
A man should not own a pocket knife longer than 5 1/2 inches. An 8 inch knife is far more dangerous than a 5 1/2 inch knife and anyone who would own a knife of this length must be on the path to committing violent crimes against others. Therefore, it would only make sense to govern the length of a knife that can be owned. The citizens should not be trusted with long knives due to their inherent evil nature. The State is the only body that would have the wisdom to subdue the evil thoughts and ideas of men.
This group believes strongly in creating countless laws that govern every aspect of the personal rights of the citizen. These laws should be constantly revised and rewritten to prevent a single person from straying towards the evil that dwells within them. Anytime a person does anything that could be construed as a path to evil and wrong; the law would be altered to govern their actions.
Should a law not be written to punish those that commit crimes that bring harm to others, their property and their rights? Is that not the idea of law? Or, should the law go deeper and punish those that own items that could be used by an evil-doer to harm another? Should the inherent evil in all of us be governed by the State with laws to keep us repressed from our evil inner-selves? Or, should we all be considered innocent and equal amongst all men until we prove otherwise by evil actions? Simply, should the crime be punished or should man be repressed to prevent the possibility of crime?
William "Cole" Doggett is an expert in knives and owns a successful Internet based website, Knife & Supply Company, LLC at www.KnifeSupplyCompany.com. His website is devoted to all things knives. You will find knives, swords, kitchen cutlery, sharpeners and a wealth of information.