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Baltimore statute on switchblade knives. What exactly does it mean?

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posted on May, 8 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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In this thread I would like to put up for discussion only the definition between switchblade and opening assisted knife in the city of Baltimore. It took me a while to find the actual statue covering this. The following is a link to the exact charge.




(a) Possession or sale, etc., prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.


Baltimore statute 19-59-22

As in most cases with the law this seems rather murky. I have looked at other city statutes in Maryland and most tend to make a distinction between switchblade and opening assisted knife when they are outlawed.

Switchblade


switch·blade (swĭch′blād′) n. A pocketknife having a spring-operated blade that opens instantly when a release on the handle is pressed. Also called switchblade knife, switch knife.


Opening assisted knife


An assisted-opening knife is a type of folding knife which uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using a flipper or thumbstud attached to the blade.



In addition to those discrepancies. Federal law has also felt the need to separate the two distinctions between the knifes.



Amendment 1447 to the Switchblade Knife Act (15 U.S.C. §1244), signed into law as part of the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill on October 28, 2009, provides that the Act shall not apply to spring-assist or assisted-opening knives (i.e. knives with closure-biased springs that require physical force applied to the blade to assist in opening the knife).[69]


Source was wiki look it up yourself.


Despite the whitewashing this subject is receiving on the MSM. There is obviously a legal issue in interpreting which type of Device the Baltimore law applies to.

People familiar with the law know that interpretation of a law can fall entirely on it's specific wording.

Normally for the definition of a word in a law/Motion black's legal dictionary is referred to. When I looked into black's legal dictionary I could not find a definition for either switchblade or Spring assisted knife. ( if someone else could it may determine this debate)

With lack of a legal definition, Maryland will refer to common-law I.E caselaw on the subject to make their determination. As of yet I have not been able to find any caselaw rulings that apply. (again a little help if you can supply it)



Again my preference for this thread is a discussion on the merits of the Baltimore city ordinance and possible outcomes in a court of law. Please refrain from talk of overcharging, quelling the crowd and rush to judgment. We need to discuss the merits of the law to get a better understanding of what is going on.



edit on 8-5-2015 by Greathouse because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 8 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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I don't know. What do you think?



How about Mosby's own mistake? Her case against the two arresting officers rests upon an "illegal" arrest. She says the knife that Freddie Gray was carrying was legal. But according to the Baltimore Sun, the police task force examined it and said the officers were indeed correct, the knife was spring-assisted and therefore prohibited. If so, it was Mosby who made the "illegal" arrest, and could be charged under her own theory of "false imprisonment." And sued to boot, since she forfeited her immunity from civil action by doing the charging herself.


Source


Page Croyder spent nearly 21 years with the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office before retiring from that agency in January, 2008. She began her legal career as a paralegal and attorney for a legal aid program in rural Virginia, and then spent four years as a commissioned officer and law specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard in New York City. After moving to Baltimore and becoming a city prosecutor, she served as a trial attorney, Chief of the Charging Division, Chief of Personnel, and Deputy State's Attorney. She earned her B.A. from the University of Maryland and her law degree from The George Washington University.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Greathouse

As far as court proceedings I have no idea. But, IMHO, the law should be repealed. Banning inanimate objects does no good. Someone with a switchblade is no more dangerous than someone with a buck knife, swiss army knife, pocket knife, or tire iron. If someone is running around threatening people with a knife, we already have laws against that. If they threatened no one I see no good in throwing someone in jail because of the style of knife in their pocket.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: Greathouse

Thank god for these laws, can you imagine how bad Baltimore would be if citizens were allowed to have switch knives?



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: Snarl

Star for your response it made me laugh.

The quoted source is a former prosecutor that is now a trial attorney. Of course she would give a opinion that backs the defense. Good advertising she's probably looking for a job.

Are you familiar with the procedure of case law?

One of the glaring facts, that is being ignored when people give their opinions. Is that as I showed in my OP. Most laws have felt the need to make a clear distinction between the two types of knifes. Because spring assisted knives are relatively new and open differently than a switchblade knife.

The way this looks to me is that this is a totally new issue to the city of Baltimore. It does not appear to be as open and shut as most defense attorneys are claiming. A judge not being able to find case law, will realize he might be the one defining the caselaw. Judges normally don't take this position lightly, it's rather humiliating to them to have a ruling overturned by the Court of Appeals because they could not interpret the issues properly .
edit on 8-5-2015 by Greathouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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a reply to: Greathouse
A knife does not have to be a switchblade to be illegal . In my state it applies to a gravity opening knife as well . Which any knife could fall under including standard "pocket" knives.This shows how much the laws need to be updated. Also , as far as felons go they have different laws than the rest of the public.Again they can have bows , crossbows , etc. but no firearms here .



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: Gothmog

Yup many states have many different knife laws. What I'm trying to get through in this thread. Is that in Lieu of the federal government feeling it need to make a distinction between the two types of knives (among other localities). Did that set precedents in a court of law for distinction between the two types of knives?
edit on 8-5-2015 by Greathouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 12:24 PM
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My opinion would be as, to the interpretation of the structure and function of said knife , presumed to be in his possession. Is it clearly classified as a switchblade, which indeed does open automatically, as to a simple case knife or other of that ilk, which has an indentation, in which to access the enabling of opening it manually? These would be the finite questions to be answered. Either of which could be possibly used as a weapon, automatic or not ,they would both still inflict a wound.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 12:37 PM
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a reply to: Chansi3

Correct, and I believe the distinction on which type of knife it was. Will be defined in a legal motion by a judge before trial.
edit on 8-5-2015 by Greathouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: XTexan

These were my exact thoughts when I first heard the story. So should they ban carrying a pair of scissors or what about a boxknife? I mean I could sit here all day and think of random objects used in everyday life that can do harm to others.




posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:08 PM
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The subject is quite murky. I managed to find a source that tries to break down the knife laws in Maryland but It does little to make this case any clearer.

Maryland knife laws

Lots of information including even more definitions as well as some case law. Their conclusion:


All knives are banned from Maryland schools. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried concealed. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried in the open when you have the intent to harm someone. Penknives without switchblades and most other knives are legal to carry concealed. There are no limits to how large your pocket knife can be in Maryland and, as long as you don’t use it to hurt people, you should be fine.

Note that there are also county laws that come into play as well. Look up the law of your county to get an even clearer idea of what is allowed and what is not. This is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship therefore talk to an attorney in your area if you need assistance.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:15 PM
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What I don't understand is...

What's so bad about a gravity assisted or spring assisted knife? You get the blade out fast? What if I pull out a non-folding knife with a full tang?

If the issue is about having the blade "ready" quickly, a fixed bladed knife would be worse...



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:19 PM
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originally posted by: FraggleRock
The subject is quite murky. I managed to find a source that tries to break down the knife laws in Maryland but It does little to make this case any clearer.

Maryland knife laws

Lots of information including even more definitions as well as some case law. Their conclusion:


All knives are banned from Maryland schools. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried concealed. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried in the open when you have the intent to harm someone. Penknives without switchblades and most other knives are legal to carry concealed. There are no limits to how large your pocket knife can be in Maryland and, as long as you don’t use it to hurt people, you should be fine.

Note that there are also county laws that come into play as well. Look up the law of your county to get an even clearer idea of what is allowed and what is not. This is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship therefore talk to an attorney in your area if you need assistance.


I read that source when I was trying to decide. To me it made a legal decision even murkier. Maryland has gone out of their way to name almost every conceivable knife to classify them.

The lack of any law on a assisted opening knife might be used to prove they are not covered.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:30 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
What I don't understand is...

What's so bad about a gravity assisted or spring assisted knife? You get the blade out fast? What if I pull out a non-folding knife with a full tang?

If the issue is about having the blade "ready" quickly, a fixed bladed knife would be worse...

Depending on the blade length, it is not legal to conceal a non-folding knife in Maryland. You can conceal any length folding knife that you wish, as long as the blade folds into the handle completely and it is not a switchblade.

But I agree, what is in a person's pocket is not a problem.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:39 PM
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I'm more worried that they will try to make guns illegal. It always starts small and gains ground as the snowball rolls down hill.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

Reactionary legislation. I'm sure people were convinced that "West Side Story" and "The Outsiders" were factual tales of feral youth raising hell with their switchblades. And what do we do in the US when something scares us? Make it illegal regardless of how pointless that may be.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 05:59 PM
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a reply to: Greathouse

To me, it says that anything other than gravity assisted opening is outlawed. Any "device" within the mechanism that aides in opening would be against the statute. Leaving gravity opened as the only real assisted open knife that you could use.

Spyderco makes a great gravity assisted opening knife. ETA: come to think of it, so does Benchmade. Their lock mechanism is superior, too, if 1 handed action is your desire.
edit on 5/8/2015 by bigfatfurrytexan because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

I see what you're saying. And many people might agree with you. I just don't know if the judge will agree with that. You'll noticed another key phrase in there is "automatically" opening knife.

I'm not sure if opening "assisted" will have the same meaning as automatically.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 07:12 PM
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a reply to: Greathouse

The only way it opens is via your action. Typically, you pop the blade loose with a little knob or something, while flicking the wrist. I can do it with a knife that isn't typically considered gravity assisted, just via technique. Unless the blade is incredibly stiff, its just a thumb/wrist technique.



posted on May, 8 2015 @ 09:10 PM
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a reply to: Greathouse
Well it seems pretty clear and unambiguous to me, but I am trained to read legalese (which exists to be clear and unambiguous).

If you want to better understand how to read legislation and case law--go to law school. We dont spend 6 years JUST getting drunk.



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