This “Know Your Knife Laws” column typically presents an in-depth analysis of laws pertaining to the commerce and carry of knives. Knife laws in this country are rife with troublesome issues which often derive from a sausage-making nature of the legislative process. Legal consequences determine whether a given fixed-blade knife is, or is not, a “Bowie knife” or a “dirk.”
This piece is intended to address the basic questions concerning the routine public carry of pocketknives concealed in one’s pocket or handbag. Millions of us in the knife community carry a “pocketknife” type every day and have done so for a lifetime. If doing so created some threat to an orderly society, evidence of the same would have been obvious.
The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) suggests that the class of pocket knives includes all knives designed to be carried in one’s pocket. If a state law includes the adjectives “common” or “ordinary,” the reasonable interpretation is that it applies to the entire class. Automatic pocketknives, for instance, were common throughout this country when exceptions intended to demarcate the application of concealed carry laws were enacted by states.