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Re: Sharp Knives

At 1:38 PM 9/2/96, Dave Harman OBC wrote:

>In California, it's a felony to merely *own* a Ninja star.  It's a
>felony to carry a *concealed* knife, but carrying it openly in a
>holster is legal.  It's a felony for most people to carry a
>concealed loaded handgun on the street only on a *second* offense.
>It'a a felony to merely *own* a switchblade, brass knuckles, etc.
>Do our weapons laws sound strange?  Are many of our weapons laws
>stricter than countries like Sweden?  Yes!

Most laws about knives, dirks, daggers, brass knuckles, saps, etc. were
devised to control the coloreds, who could not afford the weapons of choice
of whites and other gentlemen.

Hence, a colored who gets picked up on some charge, or detained, can be
jailed on a felony charge for having a pocketknife, or a sap, or brass
knucks. Coloreds from Asia can be jailed for having the martial arts sorts
of weapons.

A white gets a misdemeanor charge for carrying a gun.

(This analysis is not original with me. The gun magazines have noted the
racist origins of misdemeanor/felony dichotomies for many years. One
article I read a few years ago traced the precise times at which these laws
came into being...mostly the times in various states corresponded with
periods of high immigration of coloreds to major cities.)

Here in California there's a bill pending in the legislature which would
decriminalize the carrying of a pocketknife that can be opened with one
hand (a la the Spyderco, Benchmade, Buck, Cold Steel, etc., knives with
thumb holes or studs). Even though such knives are openly sold in every
sporting goods store I have ever been in, and are carrried by a truly large
fraction of the population, such knives are currently classified as
"switchblades" and can be prosecuted as a felony. A good way to selectively
harasss someone. Interestingly, it was the District Attorneys lobbying
group in California which made the difference: they argued that such laws
are unenforceable or are selectively enforced.

--Tim May

We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
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Licensed Ontologist         | black markets, collapse of governments.
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