49 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2013 Last revised: 22 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 21, 2013
This Article is the first scholarly analysis of knives and the Second Amendment. Under the Supreme Court’s standard in District of Columbia v. Heller, knives are Second Amendment “arms” because they are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” including self-defense.
There is no knife that is more dangerous than a modern handgun; to the contrary, knives are much less dangerous. Therefore, restrictions on carrying handguns set the upper limit for restrictions on carrying knives.
Prohibitions on carrying knives in general, or of particular knives, are unconstitutional. For example, bans of knives that open in a convenient way (e.g., switchblades, gravity knives, and butterfly knives) are unconstitutional. Likewise unconstitutional are bans on folding knives that, after being opened, have a safety lock to prevent inadvertent closure.
Keywords: Knives, Second Amendment, Switchblades
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Kopel, David B. and Cramer, Clayton E. and Olson, Joseph Edward, Knives and the Second Amendment (November 21, 2013). University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, vol. 47, pages 167-215 (Fall 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2238223