carrying my folding knife (in MA and CT)

tech-man

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Hello to all I just moved to Massachusetts from living in the U.K after the service. I was pulled over for not putting my signal on within 200ft
and apon inspection the officer found my Sog Ray vision folding knife which is a 3/34 blade which he said was illegal I told him I use the knife for hiking and packages he confiscated the knife and a warning .
WHat are my rights I donot understand the wording and then after 9/11
2.5" blade was quoted as in Boston law which many juristictions use .
I would Greatly appreciate a accurate answer ,also I am in Connecticut
on a regular basis , much thanks Paul.
 

Esav Benyamin

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Moving from What's New to Knife Laws ...

Welcome to America, tech-man, and to Bladeforums! :)

One of the problems we have here with knife laws is that very few are Federal laws, most are state, and many are municipal. Consequently, you can be within the law in one jurisdiction and in violation just down the road in another. I call it harassment myself, but who am I? :D

Let's wait for a few answers from local Massachusetts and Connecticut knife knuts on what they know and deal with. I'm going to add a bit to your thread title to help.
 
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In the great state of Ct you are fine with a sharpened edge under 4" for all around carry.

Fixed or folder,concealed or in the open,all are OK.

If you are hunting or fishing in our state with proper licenses you can carry a knife with a sharpened edge 4" and over.
 
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I would Greatly appreciate a accurate answer ,also I am in Connecticut
on a regular basis , much thanks Paul.

I'm a Connecticut resident-

Chris Meyer will probably come along eventually, and he can explain things to you a lot better than I can- he's an LEO (IIRC) and helped clarify it for me. Also, if you look through my previous posts under knife laws, you can find replies to some of my previous questions.

But the basics:

Section 53-206 Connecticut General Statutes: Carrying of Dangerous Weapons Prohibited
http://cga.ct.gov/2005/pub/Chap943.htm#Sec53-206.htm
Knives Classified as dangerous weapons is as follows:

* A knife haveing a blade, the edged portion of the blade being at or over 4"
* A dagger
* A dirk
* A stilleto
* A switch knife
* Any knife where the blade can be released from the handle by spring action and having a blade over 1.5" in length

You should take notice that the sub 4" edged max does not specify straight line length or measuring along the belly of the blade. I keep mine under 4" on both to avoid any problems. Also, note that daggers/dirks are not defined. According to Chris, current training for LEO's is that any double edged knife is a dagger/dirk. However, in the past he has told me that spear point blades (that have a false edge) are not considered double edge and should be ok.

Violation of 53-206 is a Class D Felony.
If convicted the penalty scheme is as follows:

* The weapon "shall be forfeited to the municipality wherein such person was apprehended, notwithstanding any failure of the judgment of conviction to expressly impose such forfeiture"
* A fine of not more than $500
* A term of imprisonment not to exceed 3 years
* A term of imprisonment not to exceed 3 years AND a fine not greater than $500
* AND ALL THE OTHER BENEFITS OF BEING A CONVICTED FELON, SUCH AS BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE REVOCATION OF FIREARMS POSESSION RIGHTS, INELIGBILITY FOR CERTAIN JOBS/OCCUPATIONS, ETC....


It is not a violation to carry a knife that has a blade that is 4" edged or greater if you meet the following conditions:

* Hold a hunting, fishing, or trapping license
* Are carrying the knife for purposes of LEGAL hunting, fishing, or trapping activities
* legal salt water fishing activities


Also refer to Section 29-38 of the Connecticut General Statutes: Weapons in Vehicles. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/sup/Chap529.htm#Sec29-38.htm
It is another seperate and distinct charge to have a dangerous weapon in a motor vehicle.

Also, refer to State v. Harris, 258 A.2d 319 , which held that the 4" limit was strict and could not be lowered to determine that a knife is a dangerous weapn. Similar text, cited from caselaw to 53-206 sats
Quote:
Cited. 5 Conn. Cir. Ct. 313. Knife not coming within description of statute cannot be included as "any other dangerous or deadly weapon" and is not with prohibition of this section. Id., 551.
However, the courts have allowed seemingly permissible knives to be considered dangerous weapons if they are used against another person. Refer to the 1987 State v. Holoway ruling, 528 A.2d 1176, where the use of a 3.5' knife for self defense was determined to be prosecutable.
 
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I am not a Mass resident, don't travel there often, and I am not too familiar with their knife laws. I do know that there is a hodgepodge of local ordinances in Mass regarding blade length. It is very possible that you happened to be in one of those towns when you had your LE interaction.
 
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Chris Meyer will probably come along eventually, and he can explain things to you a lot better than I can...
Not much that I can add here. As usual, MP510 is right on top of things.

Unfortunately, I can't help you much with the knife laws of the people's state of Massachusetts either. I did find out a couple of years ago that you need that equivalent of a pistol permit just to carry pepper spray. And, if I recall correctly, it's illegal even for the Mass. Police to carry tasers. You already know about the silly knife law in Boston. My best suggestion to you is to get out of Mass. as soon as you can. Even CT seems conservative by comparison. :eek:

By the way, what happened to all of the old posts in the Knife Laws forum? I was going to post links to some of the other CT questions that have come up, but I'm only showing two pages of posts.
 

tom19176

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Paul, did he give to a warning notice of some kind or did he just give you a verbal warning and take your knife? Not signaling 200 feet before a turn as PC for a traffic stop indicates that he wanted to check you out for some reason. He should not take "real property" from anyone without leaving you with a voucher, or some warning issued in writing that denotes he lawfully removed your property from your possession.
 
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He should not take "real property" from anyone without leaving you with a voucher, or some warning issued in writing that denotes he lawfully removed your property from your possession.
In CT we have a form just for that purpose, aptly called a Receipt for Seized Property. We are supposed to use this form when we seize an item of value, however, I have never seen it used when seizing contraband. I guess the "theory" being that the possessor of the contraband wouldn't want to admit that it was his.

I just looked through the C.G.S. and found the statute that requires us to give a receipt for seized property when we seize an item in connection with a criminal arrest or a search warrant (C.G.S. 54-36f), but these are different forms than the one I referred to above. I also found statutes (54-36a & 54-36g) that allow the court to order the destruction of certain seized property, i.e. contraband, drug paraphernalia, etc. I don't immediately see a statute that allows the Police to destroy the property on their own. This is interesting to me, because my department does this routinely. For example, when Officers find someone with a marijuana pipe, but don't find any actual marijuana, they often just seize the pipe and release the person with a warning. The pipe then gets turned over to our evidence officer for destruction. Hmmm, I'll have to research this issue more thoroughly to see if we are violating any statutes...
 

tom19176

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Chris, it has been a long while since I wore a gun and badge in NYC, but I am still close with many guys I worked with back then, and the correct procedure would be to fill out a property voucher form. There would be a lively discussion as to wheter or not you would simply stated you "found" the property or had a Citizen turn it over to you after they "found"it, but either way if the knife was not going into your locker forever, then a form needs to be filled out. A 250 "stop and frisk" card should also be filled out assuming that is how the knife was discovered. All that said there are always those officers who feel that your "fine" is to lose your knife to them. I recall a MetroNorth Rail Road officer who used his personal "fine" system on a teen whose dad was a DA in up state NY. He took a Buck 110 off the teen in grand Central Station, even after the kid informed the officer of his Dad's ranking in the community. About a week later, the officer was called into his command and placed under arrest for armed robbery. The knife was still in his locker, and there were no memo book entries indicateing his contact with the teen, and of course no voucher written up. There were several other knives and weapons in the officers locker that it was assumed were obtained the same way. I am not sure how he faired with the robbery charge, but he was fired for this act.
 
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I don't know who is teaching our guys to list seized contraband as "found property" in their reports, but it drives me crazy. I have to keep pointing out that they didn't find it, they "seized" it because it was "contraband" (as is proper). The guys I'm talking about aren't doing anything wrong, they are documenting how they acquired the items and turning the stuff over to our evidence tech. However, somewhere along the line they've got it in their heads that if they "seize" something they have to make and arrest, but if they "find" it they don't. They are forgetting that they still have "discretion"...

By the way, I'm glad they arrested the cop who was stealing knives. He deserved to be arrested and fired.

Also, I see that we've gotten rather off topic now. Sorry.
 
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Paul, did he give to a warning notice of some kind or did he just give you a verbal warning and take your knife? Not signaling 200 feet before a turn as PC for a traffic stop indicates that he wanted to check you out for some reason.

From living in Massachsetts my entire life I would think there's at least some credence to this, given that it's often a 50/50 chance for a lot of folks around here to use a turn signal at all, let alone 200 feet before a turn. Was this guy local or state police? The state cops are more hardline than locals from my experience, or at least they seem more inclined to get that way faster.

Where exactly was the knife when he found it? On your person or in the car?

Did he tell you it was illegal specifically because of the blade length? Or was it just a general statement with no details?

The 2.5" blade length is not a state-wide benchmark but it may well be what you could be told in any of the larger cities. The law relating to knive is somewhat confusing and open to interpretation as a whole, like it is in a lot of places. Generally speaking, I consider under 4" to be okay (Spyderco Military is the largest folding blade I carry), but time, place, and circumstance can change that quickly. If a cop had made up his mind that "This is illegal," there probably isn't a whole lot you'll be able to say after that point to make a difference.
 
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Not much that I can add here. As usual, MP510 is right on top of things.

Unfortunately, I can't help you much with the knife laws of the people's state of Massachusetts either. I did find out a couple of years ago that you need that equivalent of a pistol permit just to carry pepper spray. And, if I recall correctly, it's illegal even for the Mass. Police to carry tasers. You already know about the silly knife law in Boston. My best suggestion to you is to get out of Mass. as soon as you can. Even CT seems conservative by comparison. :eek:

By the way, what happened to all of the old posts in the Knife Laws forum? I was going to post links to some of the other CT questions that have come up, but I'm only showing two pages of posts.
I am a Massachusetts resident and have been so all of my life. Knife carry is tricky here. Of course, automatic knives and ballistic knives are banned outright. Years ago, before the invention of thumb studs and other fast-opening "tactical knives", people thought of ways to open a folder quickly. A company manufactured a device that fit on a belt and held a Buck 110 partially open. When you drew the Buck, the blade opened completely. Well, as soon as this device hit the market in the late 1970s, Massachusetts banned it. Some cities and towns, including Boston and the surrounding area, are banning the carry of knives with blades over 2 1/2 inches. These are local ordinances and exempt such activities as hunting and fishing. Just don't be caught walking around downtown Boston, Cambridge, Salem, Lynn or Revere with a blade any longer than 2 1/2" or you will be subject to arrest. For Mace or pepper spray, it is considered ammunition, just like a shotgun shell or rifle cartridge. For these chemical sprays, you must apply to your local police department for a Class D permit (Restricted Firearm Identification Card). I believe that the cost is $100, you will be fingerprinted and photographed and subjected to a criminal background check. They are good for 6 years and renewals are free. For hunting rifles and shotguns that are not high capacity, a regular FID (Class C) is issued. For handguns, either a Class A or Class B License to Carry is required. Good luck getting an unrestricted Class A unless you are a police officer or are the mayor's brother! Class B allows carrying non-high-capacity handguns and large-capacity semiauto rifles/shotguns ("assault weapons") between your house and the target range and nowhere else. Unlike FIDs, LTCs are issued at the pleasure of the local police chiefs. They are a "may issue" and can be denied for ANY reason at all. Most towns and cities put many onerous restrictions on them, such as "target only", "hunting only" or "employment use only" for armored truck guards. The penalties for violating the restrictions are serious indeed, so most handgun owners are unable to carry loaded and concealed in public. Martial arts weapons such as shuriken, nunchakus, tonfas, etc. are completely outlawed. Possession is a felony. As you can see, Massachusetts firmly believes that only police and military should be armed, not civilians!;)
 
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As you can see, Massachusetts firmly believes that only police and military should be armed, not civilians!;)
Or to be more exact, the politicians want to keep the public disarmed and vulnerable.

Very informative post. Gives me more reasons never to move to Mass. :eek:
 
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sorry to get a bit off topic here guys, but what about further up north like Vermont and Maine?
 

jfn

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4" is the state limit unless camping/fishing/hunting.
As mentioned above, local laws may vary.

I carry my small sebenza at 2.95" into Boston and don't run into problems.

This may help you with Massachusetts law.
http://knife-expert.com/ma.txt

and there is an exemption for Boston for lawful trade or recreational activity that traditionally involves a knife.
Also, having a knife over 2.5" isn't a felony. It's only a misdimeanor and punishable by up to a $300 fine.
 
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sorry to get a bit off topic here guys, but what about further up north like Vermont and Maine?

Just so you know, generally bad form to dig up two-year old threads, especially when your question is technically about a completely different topic. Please make a new thread next time.

Vermont has no knife carry laws at the state level. Remember this is a state that lets people carrying guns concealed with no permit. You can carry a 10" switchblade in your waistband for all the law cares. It is only an issue if you carry with intent of a crime, or if you are trying to sell switchblades with blades over 3".

Maine is a little bit more restrictive. It has prohibitions against concealed carry of dirks, stilettos, bowie knives and others that are designed for combat, but exempts knives designed for sporting such as fishing, hunting and trapping. So having a fillet knife when your out molesting fish is legal. (Maine's law literally defines fishing as "to take, catch, kill, molest or destroy fish." Hey dude, whatever your into :D)
 
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Not much that I can add here. As usual, MP510 is right on top of things.

Unfortunately, I can't help you much with the knife laws of the people's state of Massachusetts either. I did find out a couple of years ago that you need that equivalent of a pistol permit just to carry pepper spray. And, if I recall correctly, it's illegal even for the Mass. Police to carry tasers. You already know about the silly knife law in Boston. My best suggestion to you is to get out of Mass. as soon as you can. Even CT seems conservative by comparison. :eek:

By the way, what happened to all of the old posts in the Knife Laws forum? I was going to post links to some of the other CT questions that have come up, but I'm only showing two pages of posts.
LEOs in Massachusetts can carry Tasers if they qualify with them through their department. In fact, my old hometown of Lawrence, MA very generously provides a stipend of $800 for any officer who qualifies with one (very generous for a crime-ridden, fiscally-bankrupt city; small wonder why I moved out!:rolleyes:). An FID (Firearms Identification Card) is required for pepper spray. You do not need a License to Carry (pistol permit), but a License to Carry will satisfy the requirements as well. Pepper spray, Mace, etc. is considered ammunition and is treated the same as a box of shotgun shells or rifle cartridges. Why? Who the hell really knows in this state?:yawn:
Overall, knife laws aren't that bad. On the state level, it is illegal to carry (not possess) a double-edged knife or switchblade. Knives with blade lengths over 2.5" are illegal to carry in the cities of Worcester, Lawrence, Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, Salem, Revere and Beverly due to local ordinances. Penalty is arrest and $300 fine. I have EDC'd 4" lockblade knives since I was 17. I am almost 50 and never had a problem. Remove the pocket clip, carry the knife completely concealed and you will not attract LEO attention.
 
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