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New MA knife law not as bad as it could be.


Mar 10, 2000
Gun crackdown sparks increase in knives, knife-related crime
By Associated Press, 2/27/2001 06:46
BOSTON (AP) Boston police officials say tougher gun laws in Massachusetts have led to a surge in the sale of knives, and an increase in knife-related crimes in the past six months.

More than half of the city's homicides this year were traced to knives, and there were two stabbings at Boston public schools in a single day last week.

Boston has a city statute prohibiting the sale of knives to any one under 18. However City Councilor Daniel Conley said he will call Tuesday for an amendment to that law banning knife sales by street vendors to anyone.

''It's one more tool for law enforcement to use to get weapons off the street,'' said Conley, head of the council's public safety committee. ''It's too easy for transient peddlers to roam around selling knives, particularly to children, without getting caught.''

His ordinance would impose a $300 fine on any street vendor caught trying to sell a knife.

While most of the seven stabbing deaths this year involved adults over the age of 21, Conley and others said the Feb. 17 stabbings of the school students have alerted officials to the easy availability of knives. The city has had a total of 12 homicides this year.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin said his office has not yet reviewed the proposed amendment, but believes he probably will support it.

Boston police Sgt. Eric Bulman of the Youth Violence Strike Force said street vendors typically sell to a young clientele because of the cheap knives they offer.

Among the merchandise police have confiscated in the past six months were knives hidden inside working cigarette lighters, ballpoint pens and fake but realistic-looking .22-caliber handguns.

It is not the fall that kills you. It is the realization that "yes, you did something that stupid."
Was there a mention of any tighter restrictions on brick and mortar or just the street vendors?
if putting more restrictions on street vendors is as far as this amendment goes, then it certainly could be worse.

boston may very well have been the cradle for forming our democracy but its unfortunately located in a very opprerssive state ....maybe its time for another tea party?....just my .02 cents worth.....feverdoc


No word on brick and mortar restrictions. This is sort of a "Saturday Night Special" type of law. To keep the really cheap stuff off the street.
What worries me is the whole 'get weapons off the street' comment. Essentially, the author just stated that anyone with a gun or a knife on them is a potential criminal. This follows most LEO's way of thinking, in my opinion. They don't want anyone but the military or law enforcement to have weapons.

It is Us against Them. Whoever they are.
Oh I'm real sure that the harsh laws are effecting the criminals in such a way they are not carrying guns.
I'm sure they are so scared to get PROBATION instead of the mandatory sentence by those mean courts. Now when not "if" they violate that probation...Then they may get double secret probation!

So, I suppose the current felony laws against MURDER, ASSAULT & BATTERY WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON are not helping. The vender law will stop these crimes?

How did they proove that bold statement?

Mass has a serious liberal problem.

[This message has been edited by Frank Castle (edited 02-27-2001).]
It's not that that law is that bad, it's the mentality and motivation behind it that'll kill ya. There was no mention in the article that the knives used in these murders were cheap knives, nor did it say that the problem was mostly juveniles (who can't buy guns anyway, so more gun laws wouldn't affect them) with knives. And if the Feb. 17 stabbings of the school students were those two students who stabbed those teachers that we've been discussing here on the forums (I don't know if that's the same thing) then they didn't buy the knives in the city, so again it's a law which doesn't address the problem. If they want to reduce the stabbings by juveniles, they should ask why juveniles are stabbing people in the first place, and work from there. If their problem is with juveniles carrying/owning knives, they should ask why juveniles feel the need to go armed (maybe it's a dangerous city and they do not feel safe without a knife), and/or why juveniles in Boston can't be trusted to responsibly use a tool or weapon. It seems that of all the problems facing Boston, easy access to cheap knives is not high on the list. I'd expect more repressive legislation to follow.

Jason aka medusaoblongata
"To give is a need, to receive is mercy." - Thus Spoke Zarathustra

"Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about." - Lazarus Long

"Knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting." - Michel Foucault
I will take this opportunity to encourage members of this forum to join AKTI if you have not already.

This is the type of situation that calls for AKTI's action. I just hope that WE are up to it.

AKTI Member No. A000370
I read the article in the Boston Globe this morning and noticed that the thing missing in the article was where are these cheap knives coming from. Make no mistake my buddy works in a certain area of goverment where most of these confiscated knives end up and 98% are cheap knock offs. So whats the next step according to our great protectors in high office
Find where these knives are coming from and cut off the supply. So next Saturday night I want you all to notice that the Homeshopping Network Knife Show which is the biggest weapons suppliers to young people in this country has been shut down for all our good.
And here us the rub of the problem: Legislators make lists of what can not be done. Designers figure
out what can be done.

Legislation is essentially a defensive activity. It's about blocking. It's about saying "No".

Design is essentially an offensive activity. It's about figuring out a new way to attack a problem, fill a
need, or satisfy a market. It's about saying "Yes."

If a basketball team plays nothing but defense, if they never even cross the center line away from
their basket, if they concentrate exclusively on blocking their opponents' shots, the best they can
hope for is a zero/zero draw. In fact, they'll probably loose the game. You see, if that team misses just
one block, if the opposing team manages to make just one lucky shot, then the game is decided.

If all they try to do is block specific shots, then the legislators' game is lost too. As long as there's a
need or a market desire for weapons for whatever reason, then every time the legislators illegalize
some new weapon, the designers will come up with some new variation that skirts around the laws.

The legislators are playing pure defense.

Legislatures have seen this recently in attempts to ban "assault rifles." Every time the legislators try
to define "assault rifle", the manufactures just come up with minor design tweaks that allow
essentially the same guns to skirt around the new definitions. All these legislators have succeeded
in doing is changing the cosmetic appearance of guns. If you believe that looks can kill, well, then, I
suppose that this is a success. But, if you believe that the danger in guns is their ability to expel a
projectile at high speed in a fairly predictable direction, then nothing important has changed.

So, legislators try to make the laws broad. In doing so, they end up making them vague. It's like
giving that defense-only basketball team racquetball racquets to use. This would extend their reach
and help them block more shots more easily. But, again, the other team needs only one lucky basket
to win the game.

The only hope this defense-only team might have would be a rules-change allowing them to put a
cover over their basket.

The conventional (non-balisong) one-hand-opening knives, those with thumb studs, those with a disk
on the spine, those with holes in the blade, are all clever designs to fill a market need or a market
desire for one-hand-openable knives despite restrictions on switchblades, gravity knives, and

Historically, every time lawmakers have restricted some aspect of knife design, clever designers
have come up with new designs that skirt around those new laws.

Offense always wins.

Over the years, prosecutors have learned that it's pretty easy to get a jury to convict someone for a
weapons violation. Given the opportunity, juries eagerly expand the definitions of weapons because
nobody likes the idea of violent criminals carrying dangerous weapons. If the law is broad enough,
prosecutors find it easy to convince juries to make a little semantic stretch in order to convict a
criminal. Most jurors want to convict criminals. So, prosecutors have urged legislators to make the
laws broad, to give juries the latitude to make those stretches.

Basically, prosecutors have asked for racquetball racquets to widen their reach. The result is that
just reading the laws often isn't enough to determine what is and what is not illegal. You have to look
at the case histories and see just how far prosecutors have asked juries to stretch and just how
willing those juries have been to make those stretches.

Right now, California's State lawmakers are busy broadening California's weapons laws to illegalize
the majority of one-hand-openable knives.

Their efforts to restrict knife design with defensive legislation have still lost the game. Even with
racquetball racquets, they haven't been able to block every shot. Now, they want to go all the way
and put a cover over the basket.

Why? Because gang members are increasingly preferring one-hand-openable knives to guns.

Wait a minute. Isn't there a old saying... something about not bringing a knife to a gun fight? Why
would these notoriously violent criminals suddenly switch from guns to knives?

Well, many of these gang members are to young to lawfully buy and own guns. And many of them
have prior criminal records that prohibit them from lawfully buying and owning guns. But, lawfully or
not, these gang members have been buying and owning guns for many years. They're not called
"outlaws" for no reason. So, again, why the sudden switch to knives?

There are two answers: first, legislators (and, in many states, the public via ballot initiatives) have,
recently, enacted stiff mandatory sentences for gun-related crimes, have added additional penalties
for crimes committed with guns, have allowed more youth who commit violent crimes and especially
gun-related crimes to be tried and sentenced as adults, have added additional penalties for
previously convicted criminals who reoffend with a gun, and have added so-called "three strikes"
laws. And, second, and, perhaps more importantly, police have started actually arresting these gang
members for unlawful gun possession and prosecutors have started pursued these cases to
conviction. Carrying a gun has just become to much of a risk for these gang members.

All of these laws which have been so effective against guns, which have, in fact, caused some of the
most hardened violent criminals to turn away from guns, all of these laws regulate and restrict
human behavior with guns, not gun design.

Through these laws, the legislators, police, and prosecutors have successfully caused these
criminals to turn away from guns. They've done so without racquetball racquets and without
covering the net. Why? Because they've started to play a little offense. They've attacked human
behavior instead of trying to block specific gun designs.

Perhaps legislators should apply the same offensive approach to knives.

Regulating the design of knives is like trying to win a basketball game playing only defense. The best
you can hope for is a zero/zero tie and you're usually gonna loose.

Instead, of blocking specific knife designs, why not attack human behavior with knives.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Chuck, That pretty much sums it up. I only wish our legislators could string together some common sense amongst them. It seems to me, they are hung up on eliminating objects (guns,knives,etc) instead of the action.
The problem is not that legislators are trying to eliminate dangerous objects; the problem is that legislators are pandering to constituents who reward them (with re-election) for pretending to solve problems.

In any scientific procedure, once the solution is in place, it still has to be verified: how well is it working, what do we have to modify?

Once a law is passed, we're stuck with it forever, effective or not.
Chuck, thanks for that insightful commentary. I couldn't have put it better myself. Plus, given how well forbidding streetcorner sales has worked with marijuana and heroin, hasn't the legislature figured out that prohibition just isn't effective?
Chuck, are your fingers tired after that reply?
well said.
As some of you have said, the solution is education and or therapy for the kids who are buying the POS knives on the street. Violence has been way way down in Boston over the past decade or so, but it's rising again, slowly and the kids incorrectly feel like they need "protection". Since the gun laws are fairly numerous, and strict (mandatory sentences) in MA, they are going towards knives (POS). What they are doing in reality is opening themselves up to a world of hurt. Most likely they'll get hurt with their own knife, or get shot. The solution is working with these kids (where are there parents?), educating them, being a friend, a father, a brother to them. The legislators don't have a clue.

A knife is by default a tool, it's only a weapon when a human chooses to make it so.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Chuck, are your fingers tired after that reply?</font>

No, not really. I typed the whole thing in two key strokes. Cut and paste, my dear boy, cut and paste.

For those of you who don't know, my major interest is in balisong or butterfly knives. These knives are illegal is many areas. One of the most common questions I get asked is "Are balisongs illegal in <insert city or state, even country>?" So, I wrote an essay for my website. My response here was simply copied out of that essay.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gollnick:

For those of you who don't know, my major interest is in balisong or butterfly knives. These knives are illegal is many areas.

They are one of the few goodies MA does allow carry of. Shhhhh!

Ahhh, but our "waved" Emersons are illegal... unless, of course, I only have one arm, in which case I can even own a switchblade! Damn.. where's that sawzall?
Sorry guys, but butterfly knives ARE illegal in MA. I've go the statutes list right in my hand and they are definitely on the list.

I very much agree with what Chuck has said but it all comes back to the main question. How can you curb these crimes so that they leave us law abiding citizens alone?

I'm afraid it may be that more attention needs to be given to social programs- something most republican oriented people always oppose because it means more money spent, doesn't always work, etc. But the problem is still there. What to do?

We're all well aware of the problems but let's try to focus on possible SOLUTIONS.

Peter Atwood

email: fountainman@hotmail.com
I am very sick and tired about the shi+ that I have to put up with in MA.

I don't bother keeping up with it. I'll just keep out of trouble, and carry whaever blades I want to.

If, hopefuly I get a mugger or carjacker with a knife, then I may go to the hospital, they are going to the mourgue.

How does one get/look up a list of local/state statutes? The legislative sites that AKTI helpfully links to are generally out-of-date in addition to incomplete and occasionally misleading.