Knives - The Law and the Public February 09 2015, 0 Comments

The image of knives

In recent years knives have been increasingly portrayed as a weapon for hurting or killing people. The silent yet unknown mass-manipulation by big international companies goes mostly unnoticed and is more based on specific company policies than actual regulations or laws. These companies think it is their 'duty' to better the world by taking action against tools, yet they all cash in on sports shows, where only a fight or blood flowing makes it a good show, or violent computer games.

Facebook and Twitter have banned advertising for knives since 2013, Google and Bing followed just last year. Is this because of a change in law? Sadly, it is simply due to media pressure.

Ask yourself, is every butcher a potential criminal? Is a chef walking to and from his place of work violating the law when they carry knives? What about a hunter, angler, camper or just a hiker having a belt knife on as a tool, is he/she a criminal or a dangerous person? Should we arrest every forest or farm worker who is using a knife, axe, machete or similar in public?

The law

The law may differ depending on country, state, province and even local city regulations. In Canada the law is quite liberal in their definition of a 'weapon', see http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-1.html#h-2

"weapon" means anything used, designed to be used or intended for use

(a) in causing death or injury to any person, or
(b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person

 

and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm and, for the purposes of sections 88, 267 and 272, anything used, designed to be used or intended for use in binding or tying up a person against their will;

According to this anything can be considered a weapon to allow prosecution of the attacker or individual who committed the crime. The word knife does not even exist in the definition! Other countries are similar in their wording.

Nevertheless there are regulations in place which give specific restrictions to knives. In Canada this is mostly established within Section III of Bill C-68 which list 'prohibited weapons' and describes several knife types like push dagger, constant companion i.e. belt buckle knife, brass knuckle knives etc.

There are also restrictions on the opening mechanism of pocket knives, for example

(a) a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife. This bans switchblades and knives that you can flip open i.e. swinging/snapping the knife in a circular motion,
``prohibited
weapon'' means
(a) a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, or
(b) any weapon, other than a firearm, that is prescribed to be a prohibited weapon
The assumption is these types of knives are designed for fighting and are therefore more often used in crime/assault than other working knives. Interestingly the Karambit, an Indonesian style knife which is purely designed for fighting, is legal.

Indonesian style Karambit/Kerambit knife

There are also regional/provincial restrictions on the length of knife you can carry in public. Normally the restriction is 3" or 4" for public carry, but the possession of long blades knives or swords is allowed.

How does this now apply in a Sushi restaurant where the chefs use the Yanagiba or Sushi knife, a very long bladed knife, in public as one can see and they demonstrate how they cut the food?

How does this apply to the forest or farm worker using a machete or similar tool?

Terrier Blades slicer or Sushi / Yanagiba kitchen knife

Interestingly some states in the US allow the public to carry handguns but restrict carrying knives. The laws date back to the days when it was only a very small minority who could afford guns and so the challenge was how to restrict knives. The laws have never been updated to reflect the rise of gun ownership. 

Traditional knives

In the UK you are allowed to wear in public the Scottish traditional costume with the Sgian Dubh knife, but in the UK they are in the process of banning all pointed knives.

Conclusion

Let's face it, the knife is one of our oldest tools and yes it can be used to hurt and harm people but so can scissors, hammers, baseball bats and even pens. All of these items have been used to harm and kill people. Even a car has been intentionally used to hurt and kill people. This brings us back to the definition of a 'weapon'.

If we ban knives and take them out of our daily lives we would come to a grinding halt, especially with food related applications and eating. So we all can wonder what these marvelous lawyers, company executives, CEOs of Facebook, Google, Twitter etc. feel when they eat at a restaurant and are served a 'weapon', as per their definition, in public.

Instead of working together to prevent violence, the focus is on banning a tool. Certainly the banning of knives will have no influence on the crime rate and public safety. Only a criminal mind will transform a knife into the 'weapon' it is declared to be nowadays.