Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Why are auto knives and balisongs illegal?

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Pyrochazm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Sumner, WA USA
    Posts
    151

    Why are auto knives and balisongs illegal?

    I know the answer seems obvious: Because they are more dangerous. But are they?? I'm assuming that they are considered more dangerous than a regular knife because they open faster. I once had a knife with a catch on the blade, that would open it for me while pulling it out of my pocket. Although it ripped the cuff off the pocket of my jeans, it was far faster than an auto knife could ever be. Same deal with bali's. No matter how fast you are with one, they take as long to open as a good folder does with a flick of the wrist. I was hoping there was someone who could offer any clarifaction for me. Please use small words, as my head now hurts thinking of the pointlesness of it all.

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User J Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Harriman TN USA
    Posts
    7,082
    I had read somewhere that autos were legel in most places until the movies of the 50s came out and scared alot of people and laws were passed.Police back then really were not haveing much problem with there use.Makes you wonder whats going to happen to one hand openers if the media keeps showing a Spyderco in every murder and rapists hand when they do a reinactment of a crime."OOHHH that knife is scary lets get some laws passed to make them illegel,that will stop these rapes and murders."
    Balisongs on the other hand are legel in alot of places.The only thing that TN law says about them is Butterfly knives are not to be concidered automactic.Thus they are legel to carry here.

    <img src=http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/images/spyderforum.gif

  3. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User AllenETreat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    The Constitution State USA
    Posts
    3,156
    Essentially it's because politicans of
    the 50's ( Estes Kefauver comes immediately to mind ) decided to outlaw an image, and NOT make a crime committed with a knife the bad thing. Hence, an &quot;iconoclastic&quot; ( i.e. image wrecking ) law which makes no sense.

    A knife is a knife is a knife. A steak or butcher's knife can do even WORSE!

    AET <img src="wink.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>

    "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke ( 1729-1797 )

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Upstate SC, USA
    Posts
    21,264
    There are two prime reasons for these laws. First, is that there is a natural tendency among lawmakers to attempt to solve problems (real or imagined) by passing laws against things. The theory is that, even though you cannot make it impossible for a criminal to obtain something, by cutting off all legal sources of supply you make it more difficult for them to obtain it. The problem with this theory is that it only works well under the best of circumstances, which would be when &quot;item X&quot; is expensive, very large, and illegal everywhere in the country. For small items like knives, legal in some states but illegal in others, it never worked well, and since the arrival of internet commerce, it has become a total farce.

    However, now the second reason comes into play. In this country lawmakers are elected. For the vast majority of them, this means that their prime goal in life is to get re-elected. To do this they must at least give the appearance of &quot;doing something&quot; about some issue that is important to the folks that vote for them, and ideally to do so without offending any of those voters. Crime is always a safe issue; felons can't vote, and everyone else is against it.

    The &quot;teen gang&quot; movies of the early fifties created an image in the minds of many non knife owners of hordes of violent young people armed with switchblades and gravity knives. The newpapers and TV news of the time then played into this, blowing every incident of gang violence out of proportion. Pictures of knives and zip guns confiscated after gang wars figured prominently in this coverage. It mattered not if the weapons on display were &quot;stock&quot; pictures, entirely unrelated to the incident being reported. It mattered not if the weapons, even when owned by the persons involved had never been actually used. Lengths of chain, pieces of pipe, heavily taped rolls of pennies, and baseball bats just did not have the same shock value, even though they were most often the weapons used if things got beyond the fists and boots stage. The only thing that mattered was that it got viewers and sold newpapers.

    From everything I remember of those days, the only &quot;knives&quot; that saw much real use by teens back then were straight razors, and those were more often used to slash some &quot;rich kid's&quot; new jacket than to draw blood. But... switchblades were evil, the movies said so, the papers said so, TV said so, it had to be true. So the politicians, seeing a golden opportunity to look good by legislating against something universally accepted as evil, banned them.

    The wave of &quot;oriental martial arts&quot; movies in the seventies created, to a lesser degree, the same kind of reaction against balisongs. Some states decided to consider them just another type of the already illegal gravity knife, others passed specific laws against them. Once again, the reality never matched the image projected by the movies and the press, but, in a nation that creates many of its heros and villains out of ink, that should come as no surprise.

    Paul

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User disorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    seaside Italy
    Posts
    258
    well, i miust admit that my country -as most of world- is an avid follower of all is american, even in bad thing..so the new law here is admittely &quot;copied from the most advanced knife-regulation law of world -usa &quot;
    so here we can carry ONLY non fixed,non switchin' ,non automatic, non lockin blades and ONLY if we have a real specific reason (i.e. hunting)
    this said ,you understand that infact i break the law everyday, since i always have and had (as my father had ,and my grandfather before him) a knife in pocket.
    But ,if i have hope with a cricket not to be arrested, with a balisong i have no chance.
    so i keep mine in home -thing that i hate, i love use my knives -.
    And probally thing will get worst and will be prohibited also to have them in home..

    people is -dumb- scared, so they are accepting day by day restrictions of fundamental personal freedom..
    today in my little town (10.000) the major put 25 spy cameras in streets..no real reasons for it, if not the demagogic ridin of people low insticts .

    sad.

    http://www.gnm.it - graphic design

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User argyll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    California USA
    Posts
    210
    Hi Disorder,

    Just to let you know U.S. knife laws are screwy, but very few cities in the U.S. have a law as restrictive as the one you described. In California, for instance locking non-automatic knives are legal, though some cities have attempted size restrictions. (Autos are legal if the blade is 2.5&quot; or less.) A court has decided that balisongs fall within the prohibition against automatic knives, however. Italy's new law sounds much more like the rabid anti-knife laws of the U.K. than the U.S.

    Best regards,

    Argyll

    Qui non est hodie cras minus aptus erit -- Ovid (He who is not prepared today will be less so tomorrow)

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Sword and Shield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,050
    Ever watch &lt;u&gt;The Outsiders&lt;/u&gt;, Pyro?

    Even though that image had pretty little to do with gang fights of the 1950s, it's movies of that ilk that made switchblades illegal.

    Quick quiz- How many crimes has the 1958 Switchblade Act prevented?

    ZERO. After switchblades were made illegal, gangs simply switched to revolvers, then semi-autos, then the more popular assault weapons of today. The old saw is correct- When X is outlawed, only outlaws will have X.

    The time for the 1958 Switchblade Act ahs long passed, if it ever existed.

    The Man's Prayer- I am a man. But I can change. If I have to. I guess...

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User disorder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    seaside Italy
    Posts
    258
    hi argyll, yes you are correct, in fact all EU is goin' toward that direction -with a little exception- .
    ..is the dumbest reasonment , thinkin' that somebody who wants to commit a crime would be stopped only 'cause knives are illegal to carry..
    this only serve to raise votes from the moral-bigotry-majority.
    they want to stop crimes ? begin with fightin poverty..but for REAL. this could be the first step of a long and difficult road..in fact TOO difficult, more easy to follow the people low insticts ,askin' for more jails, more laws, more restrictions.
    and will solve nothing'.

    my best to everybody

    http://www.gnm.it - graphic design

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Concord_Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    121
    California outlawed switchblades in 1957. It was a result of the movies of the time. The California definition of a switchblade is any knive with a blade length over 2 inches that is opened by a press of a button, gravity, or by flicking the wrist. The law was amended a few years ago to specifically preclude one hand opening knive from being listed as a switchblade. It is only illegal to possess a switchblade knife in a public place or a place open to the public. So you can own them if you keep them at home. An iteresting part of the law makes it illegal to possess or keep a switchblade in the passenger compatment of an automobile. But if you put it in the trunk or glove box it's not illegal. This law was a knee jerk by the legislature much like the banning (at Felony level) of martial arts weapons after the Kung Fu movies made it here from Asia in the 70's.

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dialex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Campina, Romania, Europe, Terra
    Posts
    9,134
    I have noticed that there were knives with innovative features over the past say 40 years. First, the autos (or the gravity opening knives, if we go even deeper into the past). It was a step forward, allowing you to deploy the knife single handed. Obviously, many knife users picked them as the best choice available. Statistically, in a number of law abiding citizens, there is also a percentage of bad guys. Therefore, some crimes or other felonies were commited by people with autos. And so, autos were banned <img src="sad.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>
    Then there was the balisong mania. What can be more simple to maintain, foolproof lock and cool to play with than a butterfly knife? People using folding knives went towards balis. Again, some of them have proven to be bad guys. Therefore, balis are a no no in several places. Even when laws permit, the public oppinion is set so that if you carry a balisong you are a potential felon not being caught yet.
    And there came the thumbstud and later on, the hole. Also a step forward into the philosophy of knives. Obviously (again) most knife bearers will embrace the new feature (in fact, most already did). Some of them will have troubles with the laws.
    Unfortunately, those who make the laws aren't aware of these things and preffer to charge the weapon (which can also be a tool) instead of the person that handles it.
    just like my forespeakers said, even if you'll make all knives comletely illegal, that won't stop a potential criminal to get a knife and use it. Helas, why get a knife, when a broken glass is almost as good? Even the plastic ones they use in the airplanes, thinking, in their naivity that those can't be used as weapons... <img src="sad.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>

    <a href="http://users.pcnet.ro/dialex"><font color=blue>(my page)</font></a>

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •