The Cutting Edge

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Washington State’s Top Court Rules No Constitutional Right to Carry a Knife

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In a setback for knife rights advocates, Washington State’s high court upheld a ban on knives in Seattle, ruling that there is no constitutional right to carry a knife.

Wait, what?

Let’s go back to the beginning. In February 2010, Wayne Anthony Evans was pulled over for speeding in Seattle. Evans told the officer he had a sheathed kitchen knife in his pocket when the officer asked. As a result, prosecutors from Seattle charged Evans with unlawful possession of a “dangerous” knife under the city’s ordinance.

After being charged with a misdemeanor, Evans appealed the conviction claiming his constitutional rights were violated.

In 2014, the state court of appeals in Washington upheld the conviction because it concluded that kitchen knives shouldn’t be considered “arms” and therefore were not protected by the Second Amendment.

A paring knife, which may have been similar to the one Evans was carrying when he was pulled over.

A paring knife, which may have been similar to the one Evans was carrying when he was charged.

Then, a week ago, the Supreme Court of Washington State confirmed the earlier ruling that the Seattle law prohibiting the carrying of small fixed blades does not conflict with the Second Amendment.

Here’s what Justice Charles Wiggins wrote in the majority opinion:

While almost any common object may be used as a weapon, that does not necessarily mean that possession of otherwise innocuous objects that could be wielded with malice will trigger the constitutional protections afforded to ‘arms.’

It is true that some weapons may be used for culinary purposes, as it is also true that many culinary utensils may be used when necessary for self-defense; but it does not follow that all weapons are culinary utensils or that all culinary utensils are weapons.

If a kitchen knife is a protected arm, what about a rolling pin, which might be effectively wielded for protection or attack? Or a frying pan? Or a heavy candlestick?

That last section is an insane slippery-slope argument because as Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote in the dissent, Evans was obviously carrying the knife for self-defense purposes. Just because the paring knife is not primarily designed as a defensive weapon doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve the same purpose.

The ruling is open to interpretation though because the majority could potentially concede that some knives may be constitutionally protected. For example, a small paring knife carried for defensive purposes is definitely not protected, but a KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement may be.

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement

H. Clay Aalders brings up another great point in his take on the ruling at The Truth About Knives. What about a knife like the Mora Basic 546? A knife like that can be used for everything from preparing dinner to cutting up branches and even self-defense. It doesn’t have the obvious look of a defensive weapon either. Is that covered by the Constitution?

The law is not very clear, but it looks like the ban against knives in Seattle remains.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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9 Comments

  1. Two things come to mind after reading this article. First, good thing I carry folding blade knives, thus being not “fixed blades”, and Two, I am damn thankful I don’t live in the hyper liberal vacuum known as Seattle. Who in their right mind would want to live there is well beyond me. Soaring prices for homes, The Traffic mess which seems to be everywhere, The City Council and City Administration’s obvious political agenda…All of which makes me damn glad I’m from Pierce County! I think the Seahawks should be from Tacoma as Seattle is kinda pansy in my opinion…

  2. What would you expect from a libtard state.

  3. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. The knife is one of the oldest tools ever invented. It is a tool just like a wrench, a hammer, a screwdriver. And any tool can be used as a weapon if the user wanted to use it for that purpose. They may as well ban everything in the kitchen (including the sink). This ban is nothing but a stupid politically correct liberal agenda.

  4. “In 2014, the state court of appeals in Washington upheld the conviction because it concluded that kitchen knives shouldn’t be considered “arms” and therefore were not protected by the Second Amendment.”

    Maybe I just don’t get it; but if the court is ruling that kitchen knives shouldn’t be considered “arms”, then they shouldn’t be banned in the first place. Can’t have it both ways; either it’s not an “arm/weapon” and therefore exempt from a ban on certain “arms/weapons”, or it IS an “arm/weapon” and therefore subject to Constitutional protection.

  5. if it looks dangerous you should not carry it. that is why so called “assault weapons” are banned. those in charge do not want to be offended by something that looks dangerous. they think that they will make us safe if they outlaw things that look dangerous!

    • Tim

      January 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Yup, if you look at the next post or so, the UK is banning zombie knives because they look intimidating. But people could still use kitchen knives. Even worse, knife crime is down in the UK, some say, but acid attacks are on the rise. Anything can be dangerous.

    • What if we tie pink ribbons on our assault rifles and knives? Seems like that would look “friendly” enough for them.

  6. An evil man once said: too conquer a nation, first disarm the people

  7. How to say screw you to the man:

    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPBaNx3foRGREKVP-TUVdIFNbxQbTgVEa0HrTK6bmLfmvTbLY2Z4i1Q7IAT4ESyUQ?key=NUltcW1nZy00OXRQUm4tU1RTMjloZHpVYzkyY3Fn

    Glad I don’t live in that town with their big Lenin Idol anymore… I know 2 people who were brutally assaulted and mugged in that town. One got a torn rotator cuff in the incident. For some reason, they never picked on me.

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