Vague law on knife carrying in Washington

This is a discussion on Vague law on knife carrying in Washington within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; It's probably not a big deal, but I thought that it might be worth asking. The Washington Revised Code says that every person who; (a) ...

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Thread: Vague law on knife carrying in Washington

  1. #1
    New Member Array hoeyxd's Avatar
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    Vague law on knife carrying in Washington

    It's probably not a big deal, but I thought that it might be worth asking.
    The Washington Revised Code says that every person who;
    (a) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;

    is guilty of a misdemeanor. The part that confuses me is the part saying that possessing and selling a knife that can be opened by an outward, downward or centrifugal thrust of movement is unlawful. I'm pretty sure that every folding knife can be opened with a thrust and obviously, there are stores that sell knives like that.

    Could anyone ease my mind by explaining how this part of the law is possible with nearly every folding knife having the ability to be opened with a thrust (some requiring more force than others)? I'm a freak when it comes to knowing and following every law regarding weapons; I'm deathly afraid of going to jail if I have to defend myself with a knife "I'm not allowed to posses". I have been carrying a sog x ray vision mini which can be flung open by the thumb stud with very little effort and opened by a thrust with just a little more force. I thought I had done my research and bought a knife that is completely legal to carry, but this portion of the law clouds my confidence.



    Another question that's completely off topic, if a cities municipal code does not state how long a knife I can carry, would you just follow to the states law on blade length?


    P.S. I'm sorry if this is a repost, I tried my best to search for a topic that answered my question.

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    Member Array CDRGlock's Avatar
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    Vague law on knife carrying in Washington

    That is a tough question.

    To me, it looks like it applies to switchblades, butterfly knives and to assisted opening knives like our SOG knives. Do you have a concealed weapons license? If so, there must be specifications upon what you are allowed to carry.

    Most statutes or laws restrict the carrying of anything other than a conventional utility "Pocket knife". In Florida, a citizen can carry a Pocket Knife (open carry) that is a utility knife (not a tactical knife). With a concealed carry license, we can carry any knife used as a deadly weapon (switchblade, butterfly knife, etc).
    NRA, Lifetime Member

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    Member Array CDRGlock's Avatar
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    Vague law on knife carrying in Washington

    There are precincts that restrict blade lengths. You should always refer to those laws that restrict blade length, and as a safety, you should follow the most restrictive law. In Atlanta, there are specific laws against knives with blades greater than 3", for example.

    I am a citizen (not a lawyer, either) like you. I don't have any desire to break ANY law. I will opt not to carry anything in some contexts and will improvise with surrounding items to defend myself.
    NRA, Lifetime Member

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Washington state has some pretty good state knife laws. The gist is no automatic knives or balisong, assisted-openers are Ok, and Seattle sucks with a no fixed blade and nothing over 3.5" law. IIRC, Bellingham also has a 3.5" maximum blade length.

    Everything else is good to go...

    As a side note, there is nothing that will not get you charged by an overzealous officer looking at the total circumstances and an overzealous prosecutor giving you a run through the wringer. The laws above are correct, but that doesn't mean that you'll never, ever get arrested and/or charged.

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    This does come up time to time.

    There's usually a bit of a debate over whether or not a knife that can be opened without both hands is legal. Most people think they are (e.g. assisted openers) but then there's the whole "force of gravity", "centrifugal motion", "any other device", etc.

    Here are a couple threads I hope will help:

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...hey-legal.html

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...xed-blade.html

    I'm usually in the minority with my highly restrictive reading of the law. I can lose my job for a weapons offense so I don't risk it.

    Since firearms can't be restricted by localities that's my preference. The city by city knife laws make carrying them quite risky IMO.

    IANAL and this is OMO.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    New Member Array hoeyxd's Avatar
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    I don't have a CCW permit, but I am pretty sure that having a Washington permit doesn't allow a person to carry dangerous knives (i.e. switch blades, butterfly, etc.). But yeah, I will definitely talk to police department officials of the cities I frequent.

    I think that I'll go with the advice to follow the strictest law possible, that is a very smart way of going about things. But there are so many aspects that worry me, like if my knife looks too tactical, or what I addressed before; if a knife is too easily flung open. Matiki, the threads you posted helped me wrap my head around the subject alot more, thanks. In addition, I might contact local police departments of places I frequent and ask about their interpretation on their cities municipal code.

    Or I might just carry my surefire e2d defender in cities with vague laws.. Come to think of it, I don't even know if the teeth on the light would be looked at as a deadly weapon of a self defense tool.


    thanks for all the input guys!
    Last edited by hoeyxd; June 22nd, 2010 at 11:11 PM.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    The lawyer at my NRA Self-Defense in the Home course taken in Port Townsend, WA was quite explicit in stating that the Washington License to Carry Concealed Pistol is exactly what it states, and nothing more.

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    New Member Array grey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychophipps View Post
    Washington state has some pretty good state knife laws. The gist is no automatic knives or balisong, assisted-openers are Ok, and Seattle sucks with a no fixed blade and nothing over 3.5" law. IIRC, Bellingham also has a 3.5" maximum blade length.

    Everything else is good to go...
    I live on the Olympic Penninsula and own a Benchmade Osborne Presidio fixed blade. 155 Details | Benchmade

    I'm assuming that concealed carry of a fixed blade knife is illegal (correct me if I'm wrong) but that open carry is permitted. Do you happen to know the answer to that?

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    New Member Array grey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoeyxd View Post

    Or I might just carry my surefire e2d defender in cities with vague laws.. Come to think of it, I don't even know if the teeth on the light would be looked at as a deadly weapon of a self defense tool.
    Just FYI, I travel to DC every month and always pack my Surefire E2D Defender in my carry-on. I've never once been stopped passing through airport security for it. It's a great little tool.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey View Post
    I live on the Olympic Penninsula and own a Benchmade Osborne Presidio fixed blade. 155 Details | Benchmade

    I'm assuming that concealed carry of a fixed blade knife is illegal (correct me if I'm wrong) but that open carry is permitted. Do you happen to know the answer to that?
    Having just moved from Port Angeles, WA myself, you can indeed concealed carry your Benchmade 115 legally. Not that any officer who finds it the hard way during a search will be impressed, of course. Only Seattle, to my knowledge, has a local municipal law against fixed blade knives.
    I carried my Spyderco Street Beat (3.5" fixed blade), a Spyderco Swick (2-1/8" fixed blade), and my Benchmade Griptilian (3-1/2" folder) all the time and never had any of my local police acquaintances there comment on them at all other than "Cool!".

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    Member Array Lanner's Avatar
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    WSP explained to me it was 100% illegal to own a asp baton or auto knife even with the ccw.
    I carry a 3.25 inch short non "tactical" assisted opener. Not a lawyer just saying its what ive done since I was 18 and never had a problem.

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    Senior Member Array Happypuppy's Avatar
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    Washington is all over the place as far as regulations. The State allows municipalities to create there own regulations which often conflict with others. Take a look:
    http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/USKnife2.pdf

    The state ban includes bans on use martial arts weapons as well such as "nun-chuck-u " and the dreaded and often used "Throwing Stars" except at martial arts schools

    I am with the other user. I don't carry a knife for self defense. It's just too confusing with all the blade length regs, type etc. Other choices are a tactical pen , kubatan. I carry OC spray myself



    Sent via Mental Power

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I think most laws regulating weapons are left intentionally vague to allow the Government more discretion to act. In Oklahoma you cannot carry a Bowie knife. Trouble is there is no definition as to what a Bowie is so if its big and ugly they will probably consider it a Bowie. This vagueness allows the officer who encounters a blade on the street much leeway to decide if a crime has been committed.

    Michael

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    Quote Originally Posted by psychophipps View Post
    The lawyer at my NRA Self-Defense in the Home course taken in Port Townsend, WA was quite explicit in stating that the Washington License to Carry Concealed Pistol is exactly what it states, and nothing more.
    Thus Florida's "Concealed Weapon and Firearm License" in lieu of a "Concealed firearm" permit. By definition, a firearm isn't a weapon--unless used as such.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanner View Post
    WSP explained to me it was 100% illegal to own a asp baton or auto knife even with the ccw.
    I carry a 3.25 inch short non "tactical" assisted opener. Not a lawyer just saying its what ive done since I was 18 and never had a problem.
    this could be more or less reassuring depending on whether you're now 19 years old or 60 years old. ?????


    the blades on my EDC folding knives is under 3", but they are sorta 'tactical', i.e., a Benchmade Mini-Griptilian and an Emerson CQC-14.

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