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Knife Laws Often Vary Throughout the Country and Each State

Throughout the United States, each state has slightly different laws governing the possession of concealed or dangerous weapons. According to a recent article from the Associated Press, there are particularly disparate sets of laws across the United States, and even in neighboring towns, counties, and cities, regarding the possession of knives.

Notably, Maryland’s cities and towns have a patchwork of different laws governing the possession of knives. Maryland has one set of laws for knives, while Baltimore has its own set of rules. This often makes it difficult for citizens to understand the law and to comply with the law. And unfortunately, African-American males often fall victim to this confusion.

For example, under Maryland law, penknives that do not have switchblades are legal and not considered weapons. Maryland law, however, does not define “switchblade.” Nevertheless, in Baltimore, it is illegal to “sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade.” Therefore, it may be possible for a person to carry a knife that is considered illegal in Baltimore, but not in other cities our counties. In the article, Doug Ritter, founder and chair of Knife Rights Inc., said that “it’s ridiculous that someone traveling through a metropolitan area can go through a dozen city lines crossing a metropolitan lines and have to deal with a half a dozen laws regarding the knife in his pocket.”

Knife Laws in Florida and Dade County

Under Florida law, a person may not carry a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person. A violation of the law carries a penalty of a first-degree misdemeanor. It is not, however, a violation for a person to carry certain concealed items for the purposes of lawful self-defense. Permitted weapons include a self-defense chemical spray and a nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or another nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.

Florida’s statute defines “concealed weapon” as “any dirk, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.” Further, the definition of weapon under the statute includes any knife or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife. What’s more, Florida does not allow the possession of a ballistic self-propelled knife. This is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile and which physically separates the blade from the device by means of a coil spring, elastic material, or compressed gas.

Notably, Dade County also has its own regulations governing the use knives. Under the Dade County local ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to wear under his clothes, or concealed about his person, or to display in a threatening manner any dangerous or deadly weapon, including any bowie knife, razor, dirk, dagger, or any knife resembling a bowie knife, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon. Further, it is unlawful to carry any knife or knives having the appearance of a pocket knife, the blade or blades of which can be opened by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, or other mechanical contrivance. Even though the Florida Statute preempts and declares null and void all local ordinances, administrative regulations and rules in the field of firearms and ammunition, certain exceptions are permitted, which may lead to confusion.

Contact Our Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have questions regarding the knife laws in Florida, as well as various counties, the Miami law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. can answer your questions. At our firm, we are are knowledgeable in legal issues relating to firearms, knives and other weapons, and the dynamics involved in a shooting. We can help protect your legal rights if you charged with a crime under Florida’s weapon laws.

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