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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't see anything in the Switchblade Knife Act that defines 'knife'

Basically: Has any court ruled (or are there regulations) that say when a blade attached to a handle stops being a "knife" and starts being a "sword?"

Same thing for spears.
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15 U.S. Code § 1241.Definitions

As used in this chapter—
...
(b)The term “switchblade knife” means any knife having a blade which opens automatically—
(1) by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of the knife, or
(2) by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.
 

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Now that's a good question. I found the link below about Georgia and the 12 inch thing but nothing on swords. I wonder if the law requiring a permit for anything over 12 inches apply to swords? I've always heard that anything over 12 inches was a sword and a weapon but that's just talk.

 

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When a statute (law passed by a legislative body and written into the code /law books) uses a term without defining it, we are to presume a standard ordinary meaning to that word the kind you might find in the dictionary, but it has to be reasonable according to the circumstances.

Webster's Dictionary says a knife is a tool with a blade attached to a handle. It doesn't say that a knife ceases to be a knife if it gets big enough to be classified as a dagger, or a machete, or a sword. I think the term "knife" is A very broad category and as used in any law that regulates knives for the purpose of controlling their availability as possible weapons to be used against other persons I would say that if the knife in question is small enough and light enough to be wielded by a single person effectively, then it's a knife!

A spear, with a "handle" 10X longer than the "blade" is an entirely different creature and notwithstanding that it may meet the technical definition as given in Webster's dictionary, ordinary Americans who are familiar with the English language would not use the word "knife" to describe a spear. A spear is a huge weapon made for throwing at targets, and the ability to poke people with it the same way you might poke them with a knife is not enough to put it in the "knife"category.
 

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I don't see anything in the Switchblade Knife Act that defines 'knife'

Basically: Has any court ruled (or are there regulations) that say when a blade attached to a handle stops being a "knife" and starts being a "sword?"

Same thing for spears.
----

15 U.S. Code § 1241.Definitions

As used in this chapter—
...
(b)The term “switchblade knife” means any knife having a blade which opens automatically—
(1) by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of the knife, or
(2) by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.
Why are you asking? Do you intend to send one in the mail across state lines, or import it from a foreign country? Why is this federal statute a concern to you?
 

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Funny thing: I am quite adept at fighting with and throwing spears, a talent I discovered relatively late in life. Axe throwing, less so...

Much of this comes down to "taxonomy": spears and swords are specific kinds of things.

A spear is a pole arm, a particular category of weapon. It has a shaft, not a handle... the difference being that a shaft allows multiple grip points, two-handed use, and balances throwing. Also, the head is symmetrical, basically a triangle in geometry, It is not merely a knife with a really long handle. Beyond that, you can categorize specific spears, like a naginata is a spear, not a tanto with a really long handle.

Swords themselves have specific forms and nomenclature; it's not just a handle with a really long blade. You have the European standards (rapier, sabre, cutlass, longsword, etc) as well as ancient or exotic things, like a gladius or scimitar. No sword is simply a sword; you can name it. "That's a sabre" an so forth.

So a rapier is a sword because it is a rapier, not because it's too long to be a knife. See the difference?

Knives, too, can be categorized, though there are so many categories it defies actual listing. The Federal designation for switchblades obviously tries to blanket spring-deployed blades (your typical West Side Story-style switchblade) as well as balisongs ("gravity or inertia deployed") while sparing things like Spyderco's thumb action.

(I have friends who are blacksmithing enthusiasts who forge knives from railroad ties and things like that, and I guess those knives defy categorization, but of course none are remotely mechanical. Well, yet.)

DH
 

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I think you mean forge knives from railroad RAILS. Railroad ties are wooden and are impossible to forge into anything useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is really the nicest forum out there, in my experience.
Funny thing: I am quite adept at fighting with and throwing spears, a talent I discovered relatively late in life. Axe throwing, less so...

Much of this comes down to "taxonomy": spears and swords are specific kinds of things.

A spear is a pole arm, a particular category of weapon. It has a shaft, not a handle... the difference being that a shaft allows multiple grip points, two-handed use, and balances throwing. Also, the head is symmetrical, basically a triangle in geometry, It is not merely a knife with a really long handle. Beyond that, you can categorize specific spears, like a naginata is a spear, not a tanto with a really long handle.

Swords themselves have specific forms and nomenclature; it's not just a handle with a really long blade. You have the European standards (rapier, sabre, cutlass, longsword, etc) as well as ancient or exotic things, like a gladius or scimitar. No sword is simply a sword; you can name it. "That's a sabre" an so forth.

So a rapier is a sword because it is a rapier, not because it's too long to be a knife. See the difference?

Knives, too, can be categorized, though there are so many categories it defies actual listing. The Federal designation for switchblades obviously tries to blanket spring-deployed blades (your typical West Side Story-style switchblade) as well as balisongs ("gravity or inertia deployed") while sparing things like Spyderco's thumb action.

(I have friends who are blacksmithing enthusiasts who forge knives from railroad ties and things like that, and I guess those knives defy categorization, but of course none are remotely mechanical. Well, yet.)

DH
My favorite "spear" is the short iklwa - supposedly invented by Shaka Zulu. I acquired one years ago - super handy (to play around with).

Iklwa

Zulu man with the shorter iklwa
Shaka of the Zulu invented a shorter stabbing spear with a two-foot (0.61m) shaft and a larger, broader blade one foot (0.3m) long. This weapon is otherwise known as the iklwa or ixwa, after the sound that was heard as it was withdrawn from the victim's wound. The traditional spear was not abandoned, but was used to range attack enemy formations before closing in for close quarters battle with the iklwa. This tactical combination originated during Shaka's military reforms. This weapon was typically used with one hand while the off hand held a cowhide shield for protection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's a 2014 law journal article About modern trends in switchblade knife regulation, and it quotes Ed Stone in the footnotes.
Malum, that EXAMINER column you wrote will pay dividends by making you famous long after you've penned your last article under that banner.

As you know, the Rule of lenity is not something you'd like to count on, especially on the street.
 

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I think you mean forge knives from railroad RAILS. Railroad ties are wooden and are impossible to forge into anything useful.
Yes, forging railroad ties would take some special skills, haha... actually I meant railroad spikes. You can beat a pretty cool knife out of a spike.

DH
 

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This is really the nicest forum out there, in my experience.


My favorite "spear" is the short iklwa - supposedly invented by Shaka Zulu. I acquired one years ago - super handy (to play around with).
Years ago I took a commuter flight in Africa and some Zulu dignitaries brought spears on the plane. I mean, I'd gone through security and everything, but these dudes brought their spears on. Culture shock!

(Spend time in Africa and you'll see some things!)

DH
 

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I think most spikes are a mild steel which will not take a good hardening. They are good for a San Mai blade but IIRC will not harden up properly.

Nwmo
 

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I think most spikes are a mild steel which will not take a good hardening. They are good for a San Mai blade but IIRC will not harden up properly.

Nwmo
No, railroad spikes don't contain enough carbon - you want the steel flexible, not brittle, in actual rail application - to make a good knife. It's just one of those classic blacksmithing projects, like woodworkers building a workbench. Rite of passage kind of thing.

DH
 

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This is really the nicest forum out there, in my experience.


My favorite "spear" is the short iklwa - supposedly invented by Shaka Zulu. I acquired one years ago - super handy (to play around with).

Iklwa

Zulu man with the shorter iklwa
Shaka of the Zulu invented a shorter stabbing spear with a two-foot (0.61m) shaft and a larger, broader blade one foot (0.3m) long. This weapon is otherwise known as the iklwa or ixwa, after the sound that was heard as it was withdrawn from the victim's wound. The traditional spear was not abandoned, but was used to range attack enemy formations before closing in for close quarters battle with the iklwa. This tactical combination originated during Shaka's military reforms. This weapon was typically used with one hand while the off hand held a cowhide shield for protection.
I'll bet your Zulu dude pictured would take one look at the blm crowd and take immediate action to cleanse the gene pool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll bet your Zulu dude pictured would take one look at the blm crowd and take immediate action to cleanse the gene pool.
no politics... please! I'm begging! So tired of it.

But I'd like to see how they were trained to wield these, and whether they learned 1 on 1 or only formation fighting...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Years ago I took a commuter flight in Africa and some Zulu dignitaries brought spears on the plane. I mean, I'd gone through security and everything, but these dudes brought their spears on. Culture shock!

(Spend time in Africa and you'll see some things!)

DH
I went from Portland Maine to ATL in 2000. With a big collection of sharp woodworking tools, chisels, etc, in my carry on...
 

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But I'd like to see how they were trained to wield these, and whether they learned 1 on 1 or only formation fighting...
Why don't you piss one of them off non-politically of course and he may give you a lesson or two.😎
 
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