Confused about auto knife laws - Well not really!

This is a discussion on Confused about auto knife laws - Well not really! within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm confused about the "auto" knife laws in WA. Sort of. I know they are "illegal" to carry and posess... or is it? Is there ...

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Thread: Confused about auto knife laws - Well not really!

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    Confused about auto knife laws - Well not really!

    I'm confused about the "auto" knife laws in WA. Sort of. I know they are "illegal" to carry and posess... or is it? Is there some loophole, that allows purchase. I'm not seeing how, based on the way the law is written.

    "RCW 9.41.250
    Dangerous weapons — Penalty.

    Every person who:

    (1) 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; "
    This seems to imply (actually plainly states) that an "auto" knife, is illegal to posess or carry and even to sell. BTW, not talking about spring assisted. I'm talking about the kind where you push a button and the knife springs open by spring action.

    However, I know of a well known WA dealer (actually more than one) who makes no bones about selling to anyone. They do say you can't legally carry or posess.

    But what confuses me is that the same law that makes them illegal for me to "posess" or "carry" also prevents the "sale".

    How can they "sell" a switchblade knife that can't be "possessed", since both are covered by the same law? I'm thinking there must be some loophole. They can't just be lucky. Could the change in the law to allow spring assist, now make this section invalid? If the knives can now be "sold" doesn't that imply they could also be "possessed?"

    Anyone know?
    Last edited by MikeSD; April 30th, 2013 at 07:28 PM.

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    Update: But question still holds

    I have found that the law was changed. The new wording is

    RCW 9.41.250

    Dangerous weapons — Penalty.


    (1) 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;

    (b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm unless the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law,

    is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

    (2) "Spring blade knife" means any knife, including a prototype, model, or other sample, with a blade that 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. A knife that contains a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade and that requires physical exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure to assist in opening the knife is not a spring blade knife.
    The law that used to cover switchblades was changed as above and it appears that the term "spring blade knife" replaces the old wording. But since the wording that makes possession illegal, also makes the sale illegal, I wonder how dealers can sell them to people not authorized to have them. Could it simply be because there is no requirement to check? And the dealer has the flexibility to simply ignore who the buyer is?

    Also, some knives you don't push them open by releasing a button. Some you push a lever, which then puts spring tension on the blade. Prior to pressing the button, there is no spring tension on the blade. These are closed by spring tension inward on the blade. One might make an argument that this is bias toward closure, even though, when the blade closes, there is no tension at all on the blade. It requires manual spring pressure to open and manual spring tension to close. Are those also illegal, in WA? I don't see any specific language that makes those illegal. If it's considered a "spring blade knife" then it's illegal by specific definition. But the definition of "spring blade knife" might be interpreted to exclude this type of knife, just like the spring assisted knives. I'd hate to risk my gun rights over this semantics. I wonder what others think.

    Example: 3350 Mini-Infidel® Product Detail

    This knife has no spring tension on the blade, until you push a lever. Not much different than a spring assisted, although not a spring assisted. I'm more interested in how a dealer could sell these to me, when I can't legally own one (if that's the case), than actually owning one.

    Anyone know?
    Last edited by MikeSD; April 30th, 2013 at 05:57 PM.

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