Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default PA knife laws regarding autos

    I was just wondering if someone can clear this up for me. I've read that any knife opening by operation of a switch or button is illegal. But I have seen auto opening knives made by companies like benchmade for sale in stores in PA. I'm not talking flea market stuff, but reputable knife shops. So what is the deal here?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I didn't see a knife-specific forum.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    You can keep them at home as curios. You cannot carry them.

    18 Pa.C.S. 908: Prohibited offensive weapons
    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive weapon.
    (b) Exceptions.--
    (1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed or dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5801 et seq.), or that he possessed it briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any intent or likelihood that the weapon would be used unlawfully.
    (2) This section does not apply to police forensic firearms experts or police forensic firearms laboratories. Also exempt from this section are forensic firearms experts or forensic firearms laboratories operating in the ordinary course of business and engaged in lawful operation who notify in writing, on an annual basis, the chief or head of any police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere, the sheriff of a county in which they are located, of the possession, type and use of offensive weapons.
    (3) This section shall not apply to any person who makes, repairs, sells or otherwise deals in, uses or possesses any firearm for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.
    (c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
    "Firearm." Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.
    "Offensive weapons." Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.
    (d) Exemptions.--The use and possession of blackjacks by the following persons in the course of their duties are exempt from this section:
    (1) Police officers, as defined by and who meet the requirements of the act of June 18, 1974 (P.L. 359, No. 120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training Law. [FN1]
    (2) Police officers of first class cities who have successfully completed training which is substantially equivalent to the program under the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    (3) Pennsylvania State Police officers.
    (4) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of the various counties who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    (5) Police officers employed by the Commonwealth who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    (6) Deputy sheriffs with adequate training as determined by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
    (7) Liquor Control Board agents who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.

    One mustn't forget the federal law on selling across state lines certain types of ballistic & switchblade knives in assembled and/or kit forms.
    Last edited by knight0334; May 18th, 2009 at 03:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Also, there are "assisted" knives that would be legal which you might be confusing a "switchblade" or fully auto opening knife with.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Quote Originally Posted by knight0334 View Post
    Also, there are "assisted" knives that would be legal which you might be confusing a "switchblade" or fully auto opening knife with.
    Would "assisted" not be construed as "spring mechanism, or otherwise"?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos


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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Quote Originally Posted by kevco View Post
    Would "assisted" not be construed as "spring mechanism, or otherwise"?
    No. The blades of assisted-open knives only become influenced by spring pressure once they are opened manually a certain distance. The blades of switchblades are always under spring force to open, but retained with a locking button or lever. Assisted-open knives are not prohibited by federal or Pennsylvania state law, nor by the laws of any other state in the U.S. There may be municipalities that restrict them, though, such as Philadelphia (although their restriction is on any knife).

    RoadsideImports: Assisted Knife Laws

  7. #7
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Quote Originally Posted by wslowik View Post
    I was just wondering if someone can clear this up for me. I've read that any knife opening by operation of a switch or button is illegal. But I have seen auto opening knives made by companies like benchmade for sale in stores in PA. I'm not talking flea market stuff, but reputable knife shops. So what is the deal here?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I didn't see a knife-specific forum.
    I see you're in Allegheny, what knife store are you going to? Ever since they took the cutlery shops out of Century III and Monroeville mall I haven't been able to find a decent knife store within 50 miles. And no, "Cool Stuff" doesn't count as a decent knife store to me.

    In regards to legality, other misconceptions even among knife forums is that daggers or double bladed knives are illegal in PA. The law restricts the way in which the blade can be deployed, but says nothing about the nature of the blade itself. I carry balisongs/butterfly knives. The difference between them being legal or illegal is whether or not they have a secure latch that I have to manually release before flipping it open.
    http://forum.pafoa.org/general-2/177...ly-knives.html

  8. #8
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    I continue to be baffled as to why an auto is illegal. I own a couple (no I don't carry them) and really like the onehanded opening. I use a knife daily, usually more than once. My current knife is as close to auto as it gets without crossing the line. El Cheapo with a protrusion which sits on the back, just over the pivot point. To open the knife you just sweep the tab (towards the butt) and it engages the blade as a lever. A light spring assists. My only issue with an auto is it can be bumped and triggered while in your pocket. Anyway......besides some movies from the fifties showing thugs with autos what's the big deal? What's next....gonna outlaw my full auto baseball bat?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Quote Originally Posted by ErSwnn View Post
    I continue to be baffled as to why an auto is illegal. I own a couple (no I don't carry them) and really like the onehanded opening. I use a knife daily, usually more than once. My current knife is as close to auto as it gets without crossing the line. El Cheapo with a protrusion which sits on the back, just over the pivot point. To open the knife you just sweep the tab (towards the butt) and it engages the blade as a lever. A light spring assists. My only issue with an auto is it can be bumped and triggered while in your pocket. Anyway......besides some movies from the fifties showing thugs with autos what's the big deal? What's next....gonna outlaw my full auto baseball bat?
    Moral panic. Same reason teflon bullets were outlawed, and the same reason that "assault weapons" are on the chopping block.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PA knife laws regarding autos

    Quote Originally Posted by Philbert View Post
    Moral panic. Same reason teflon bullets were outlawed, and the same reason that "assault weapons" are on the chopping block.
    I know your right....as far as the sheeple go. Myself I find it immoral to prevent anyone from opting for the tool/weapon of their choosing. I carry a knife primarily as a tool, but like any tool, it makes a fine weapon should the need arise. Maybe I should start OCing with a hammer. "Because a 3 foot wrench is too heavy"

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