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Salty
02-09-2009, 3:36 PM
I know this isn’t gun related, but it is related to the right to keep and bear arms.

I am considering moving soon and when I reviewed the cities municipal code I ran across this ban on “spring blade knives”. My question is would the state law exempting spring assist knives (such as Kershaws) protect one against the city’s vague “spring blade knife” law or would I need to get rid of my Kershaws before moving?

Here is the muni code, I wasn’t able to find the state exemption for spring assist knives, but I’m sure someone has it.

“4-7.04 Possession of certain knives.
It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession, care, custody, or control, whether concealed upon his person or not, any type of spring-blade or push-button knife, regardless of the length of the blade.
(§ 2, Ord. 558 N.C.S.)”

Also, it just says "unlawful". What does that mean? Infaction, misdemeanor, felony, Alcatraz?

Salty
02-09-2009, 3:37 PM
Moderator, please change title to "Muni code bans spring blade knives?".

I accidently pushed enter while I was typing up the title.

hoffmang
02-09-2009, 3:46 PM
Moderator, please change title to "Muni code bans spring blade knives?".

I accidently pushed enter while I was typing up the title.

You can do it yourself. Edit your first post, click "Go Advanced" and there you can edit your own title. You can also click into the title from a forum page if you originally posted it.

To the substance of your question, unless you are one armed, I wouldn't rely on pre-emption. However, the "spring assist" question is an interesting one that I haven't formed an opinion on myself.

-Gene

Cypren
02-09-2009, 3:47 PM
My question is would the state law exempting spring assist knives (such as Kershaws) protect one against the city’s vague “spring blade knife” law or would I need to get rid of my Kershaws before moving?

To the best of my knowledge, state law has a general pre-emption doctrine for municipal law -- however, application of that pre-emption to specific municipal laws is rarely contested in court and so most of the laws on the books sit in a very fuzzy grey area. It basically comes down to whether or not a judge can be persuaded that the law in question is "substantively similar" to the state law such that it pre-empts.

You have a good chance of prevailing in court if arrested under the municipal law. You also have a very good chance of spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for the privilege. I don't know that I'd recommend it.

Salty
02-09-2009, 4:19 PM
Thanks, I'll have to poke around and see if Kershaws and the like are sold within the city and that may give me a better idea as to what the city in general commonly accepts as "spring blade".

dixieD
02-09-2009, 4:30 PM
Thanks, I'll have to poke around and see if Kershaws and the like are sold within the city and that may give me a better idea as to what the city in general commonly accepts as "spring blade".

They are sold at the Cow Palace Gun Show.

Librarian
02-09-2009, 4:31 PM
I know this isn’t gun related, but it is related to the right to keep and bear arms.

I am considering moving soon and when I reviewed the cities municipal code I ran across this ban on “spring blade knives”. My question is would the state law exempting spring assist knives (such as Kershaws) protect one against the city’s vague “spring blade knife” law or would I need to get rid of my Kershaws before moving?

Here is the muni code, I wasn’t able to find the state exemption for spring assist knives, but I’m sure someone has it.

“4-7.04 Possession of certain knives.
It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession, care, custody, or control, whether concealed upon his person or not, any type of spring-blade or push-button knife, regardless of the length of the blade.
(§ 2, Ord. 558 N.C.S.)”

Also, it just says "unlawful". What does that mean? Infaction, misdemeanor, felony, Alcatraz?

Hope for Alcatraz.

Government Code says city ordinances can handle misdemeanors unless they say "infraction".

Even the state law is misdemeanor: PC 653k. Every person who
possesses in the passenger's or driver's area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public,
carries upon his or her person,

and every person who
sells,
offers for sale,
exposes for sale,
loans,
transfers, or gives
to any other person a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor.


Which city is this?

Salty
02-09-2009, 4:37 PM
The city that I am considering moving to is Watsonville Calif.

The knives in questions are Kershaw "speed safe" knives, which under state law are not switchblades.

Dr Rockso
02-09-2009, 5:50 PM
I think it would probably fall under preemption, but like an above poster said that could cost you some major $$ and stress (unlikely, but possible). I'd just pick up a nice axis-lock Benchmade and not worry about the spring anymore.

otteray
02-09-2009, 6:24 PM
Holy cow, a friend just bought a spring assist knife at the well regulated, patrolled and politically correct flea market (the old Skyview Drive-in) located in the same Santa Cruz County as Watsonville.
I told him to be careful where he hauls it out of his pocket, due to confusing laws. Sure seemed like a switch blade to me.
I thought that only thumb or gravity assist (?) knives were legal around here.:confused:
We have a growing gang problem here, several stabbings; so these knives are apparently becoming an issue to possess, unless you are a hoodlum type and don't give a hoot.

Librarian
02-09-2009, 7:05 PM
The city that I am considering moving to is Watsonville Calif.

The knives in questions are Kershaw "speed safe" knives, which under state law are not switchblades.

Thanks.

I agree with you and Kershaw (http://www.kershawknives.com/faq.php) that those are not switch-blades under 653k.

Watsonville's municipal code (http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/codes/watsonville/) doesn't bother to define "any type of spring-blade or push-button knife".

State law appears to use the term 'spring-blade' as synonymous with 'switch blade', but without any definition in the ordinances, no way to tell what they are thinking.

Haven't been to Watsonville for 30 years; don't know how folks there feel about pocket knives.

M. Sage
02-09-2009, 8:30 PM
CA has no preemption of knife laws as far as I know.

Fun fact: San Antonio has a ban on lock-blade knives. Everybody ignores it and AFAIK it's never enforced.

gunsmith
02-09-2009, 9:54 PM
I doubt you'll have much trouble for a Kershaw.

Charliegone
02-09-2009, 10:37 PM
I know this isn’t gun related, but it is related to the right to keep and bear arms.

I am considering moving soon and when I reviewed the cities municipal code I ran across this ban on “spring blade knives”. My question is would the state law exempting spring assist knives (such as Kershaws) protect one against the city’s vague “spring blade knife” law or would I need to get rid of my Kershaws before moving?

Here is the muni code, I wasn’t able to find the state exemption for spring assist knives, but I’m sure someone has it.

“4-7.04 Possession of certain knives.
It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession, care, custody, or control, whether concealed upon his person or not, any type of spring-blade or push-button knife, regardless of the length of the blade.
(§ 2, Ord. 558 N.C.S.)”

Also, it just says "unlawful". What does that mean? Infaction, misdemeanor, felony, Alcatraz?

Maybe it's just me or does any one find that when or is used, that it means the same thing? I'm guessing they mean by spring-blade, a knife assisted by a spring to open OR a push button knife; i.e. basically a switchblade. A "spring-assisted" wouldn't fall under this category because it requires force by the user before for the spring to take over the rest.

Salty
02-10-2009, 1:30 PM
We have a growing gang problem here, several stabbings; so these knives are apparently becoming an issue to possess, unless you are a hoodlum type and don't give a hoot.

Yes, I notice from reading the "cops and courts" blog in the Sentinel that shootings are rare in the Santa Cruz coastal area, but there seems to be about one stabbing per day. I wouldn't think that Kershaws and the like are a problem though, most folks just carry $15 Big 5 specials.

tonelar
02-11-2009, 7:54 AM
People who write these laws often have no idea what they are trying to ban;

Back home they made knives out of almost anything- blades were cut from old leaf springs. Watsonville wants to ban "spring-blade" knives? A Kershaw is a Spring assisted knife.

motorhead
02-11-2009, 9:09 AM
or movie images. evil punks in leather jackets with switchblades the size of katanas.

vwynn
02-11-2009, 9:44 AM
ill rolling with a Kershaw Leek Composite... to my knowledge its still a regular folder but if you push the blade out 35-40 degrees out, the spring will assit the rest.


i think those laws only apply to those knives that are push buttens. ie. Benchmade infidels.. 9000 autos etc. not spring ASSISTED.

iono.

Salty
02-11-2009, 12:30 PM
Well I e-mailed the PD to get a better feel on the situation, here's my e-mail:

"Watsonville Police Department, To Whom It May Concern:

After reading Watsonville Muni Code 4-7.04 (possession of certain knives.) I became curious as to whether or not “spring assist” knives are legal in Watsonville as they are in the rest of the state and country. A relatively recent amendment to the state law specifically exempts spring assist knives (such as a Kershaw “speedsafe” or Benchmade “nitrous” design) from switchblade laws.

Here California law exempts what are commonly referred to as “spring assist” knives.
State Penal Code 653k
“"…Switchblade knife" does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure
applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to
the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism
that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade,
or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.”

Here Watsonville Municipal Code vaguely bans “spring-blade” knives but fails to define what a “spring-blade” knife is.
4-7.04 Possession of certain knives.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his possession, care, custody, or control, whether concealed upon his person or not, any type of spring-blade or push-button knife, regardless of the length of the blade. (§ 2, Ord. 558 N.C.S.)”

Here are some examples of “spring assist” knives commonly sold through out the state, including the Capitola Mall and Santa Cruz Flea Market. To open one of these knives the operator would apply pressure to the thumb stud and open the knife part way, typically ¼ - ½” until the spring acts to opens the knife the rest of the way. Pressure is applied solely to the thumb stud, and there is no button or switch. Prior to opening a ball detent and spring give the knife a bias towards staying closed, similar to a sprung door hinge.
http://www.kershawknives.com/productdetails.php?id=79&brand=kershaw
http://www.kershawknives.com/productdetails.php?id=70&brand=kershaw
http://www.benchmade.com/products/product_detail.aspx?model=912-71

My question are as follows:
1) Are “spring assist” knives such as the three examples I gave legal per Watsonville municipal code.
2) If not legal per Watsonville municipal code, does the state law provide preemption to Watsonville visitors and residents?

Sincerely,
___________ "

And here is their response:

"Sir:

To answer question #1: Generally, our officers defer to the state penal code when enforcing weapons laws, and use existing case law in determining their enforcement actions. Without actually examining each knife, I cannot accurately determine if the weapon would be legal, whether it be state law or municipal ordinance.

I believe the two laws are much more similar than you describe. Simply put, if a weapon can be easily and quickly opened by a push button or flick of the wrist, it is generally considered illegal. You'll note that the penal code language speaks to resistance that must be overcome to open the blade and that is the reason for that type of language.

As you may know, our municipal code is on-line and available for your own research for the answer to your second question.

Thank you

Lieutenant ______ _______
Watsonville Police Department"

Librarian
02-11-2009, 2:36 PM
Ask the source sometimes gets a reasonable answer. Police are not always a good place to find out about laws, but they're perfect for explaining their enforcement policies.

Good job asking, and props to WPD for answering.

I read that as the Kershaw in question would be no problem, since it does have that initial resistance.

Charliegone
02-11-2009, 5:07 PM
Ask the source sometimes gets a reasonable answer. Police are not always a good place to find out about laws, but they're perfect for explaining their enforcement policies.

Good job asking, and props to WPD for answering.

I read that as the Kershaw in question would be no problem, since it does have that initial resistance.

Yup. Same here. It seems they are ok with the assisted openers. I figured they would be or rather they'd have to be. Since state law does trump local law.

tgriffin
02-12-2009, 11:25 AM
If an Officer (of any kind) asks you to open your knife USE TWO HANDS

amen.