Legal daily carry of folders, & other knives, by civilians...

Jun 17, 1999

I recently had a rather interesting discussion, following my having read several of the threads pertaining to flying and knife carry in general, with a friend of mine (who is a Criminal Defense Lawyer).

I, for instance, noted that I would never give it another thought to leave the house, while living in Germany, w/ a Victorinox SAK in my pockets. Indeed I've quite often never given this practice much thought while flying to/from various international destinations for that matter.

I proceeded by asking my lawyer friend if he had ever represented any clients on a "concealed weapons" (read knife) charge. If so, then did this occur often?

I was rather amazed to hear that yes he had & he had done so quite often (albeit the "concealed weapons" charge usually was part of a multiple count).

I shared with him some of the insights, views, and experiences, of members on the BF (alas most, if not all, deal directly with the FAA).

I was rather aghast to note that a legal case could be brought against someone say, for instance, who carried a Victorinox SAK in a leather sheath on their belt, yet had his/her waistline covered by a oversized T-shirt (albeit had no criminal record, nor committed any other crime, nonetheless).

Well, to bring this to a conclusion, I would be interested to hear from LEOs as to their views on the subject. Should the law be rigorously, and to the letter, enforced?

I would also, needless to say, welcome responses from other members of the BF that might have, unintentionally, had a "brush w/the law!"

Is this an issue, aside from flying (which has been much talked about already), that concerns you? If so, then what, if anything, do you do (or don't do) about it?

I thank you in advance for indulging me and eagerly await your responses!

Wishing you a kind and gentle week,

Michael C. Swiney


In what jurisdiction or circumstance are you, or your friend the attorney, concerned that a Swiss Army Knife could be construed as a "concealed weapon"?

Hello James Mattis & BF -

Well, you, rightfully so, pointed out that I forgot to mention a pertinent point or two, hence here it goes.

I live in Northern California, the city of Rohnert Park to be precise ("The Friendly City"), approximately 45 minutes north of San Francisco (by car).

The name of the county I reside in, renown for its wines/movie set locations/hometown to actors Winona Ryder and Raymond Burr, is Sonoma County.

The Lawyer friend of mine, criminal defense attorney, has his legal practise here also.

Now to clarify a point or two...

No one person in particular, to the best of my knowledge, has (as yet) had to face prosecution steming from a "concealed weapons" charge wherein all they did was to have the misfortune of having their shirt cover their otherwise legal carry knife, yet that is not to say that such a case COULD not arise!

Indeed our municipal court just dealt w/an interesting case in which a teenage punk rocker was cited by a LEO for "brandishing a weapon in public."

The Teenage punk rocker in question, by the way, merely wore metal studded/leather wrist bracelets (as much of that particular counter culture does). Additionally, he by no means (according to eye witnesses) did anything to "stand out from the crowd" (read act menacing), yet the police officer in question deemed that what he had on him was not body jewelry but rather a "weapon" (sadly the municipal judge sided with the cop).

I find it interesting enough, and this also says a thing or two about our modern society in general, that these proceedings took place sometime prior to the Colorado/Columbine schoolyard shootings.

I have, as yet, not had an opportunity to bring this topic up to our local chief of police (who happens to be a former professor of mine, of Criminal Justice Adminstration, at my alma mater).

So, all that having been said, I DO look forward to hear of the opinions and experiances of others on this forum regarding this topic.

Michael Cedric


[This message has been edited by MCSwiney (edited 29 June 1999).]