CA Appeals Court Throws Out Anti-Switchblade Ruling

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According to Knife Rights, the California Court of Appeals last week reversed a lower court’s ruling that a knife that could be “wrist-flicked” open was a “switchblade.”

The lower court made the faulty ruling despite an explicit provision in California law that distinguishes and protects one-hand opening and assisted-opening knives with a bias towards closure and despite prior Appellate Court rulings upholding that exception. These common folding knives represent over 80 percent of the U.S. market and the California legislature clearly wanted them to be legal when they clarified the original switchblade law as follows:

“‘Switchblade knife’ does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.”

This is essentially the same exemption that was added to the Federal Switchblade Act as a result of the knife industry banning together to help clarify the federal definition in 2009.


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“We laud the Appeals Court on its decision and a well-written opinion, but it is unfortunate that the defendant had to undergo the extreme harassment and stress to him and his family and friends that comes with such an experience due to the ignorance and apparent anti-knife bias of the law enforcement officer, prosecutors and the lower court involved,” Knife Rights indicated in a statement. “We’d also like to acknowledge the successful efforts of the defendant’s court appointed lawyer who presented a strong defense. Hopefully, this will be the end of this sordid travesty of justice by the state and there will be no further appeal.”

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You can read the Appeals Court opinion here: www.kniferights.org/G045929.pdf

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