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Knife laws being relaxed in some states

Serious weapons charges can be imposed against a person regardless of the type of weapon involved, from a gun to a knife to a blunt instrument. Many Phoenix residents carry knives as a way to defend themselves; a gun is by no means the only method of self-defense out there. However, defending one’s self with a knife, making a mistake or accidentally lashing out in anger are all scenarios that can result in an assault charge. Felony possession of a weapon can result in serious penalties, including heavy fines and even prison time.

Lately there has been action by knife rights groups to allow people more freedom in carrying blades, as self-defense or a tool of their trade or for another reasonable purpose. These groups claim that laws against carrying knives unfairly target minority groups and are a threat to the public’s civil rights. They say that a police officer can have probable reason to stop or arrest someone merely for carrying a knife in a pocket.

In 2010, Arizona became the first state to enact preemption laws regarding carrying knives. Today, more states have enacted their own preemption laws or are otherwise considering loosening or lifting knife restrictions. A professional chef insists that before such laws were relaxed, he could have been arrested merely for having one of his cooking knives on his person.

Not everyone agrees with giving the public more knife rights, however. Many police officers believe that carrying large knives, such as machetes or even swords, is unnecessary, dangerous and can cause public fear. It has not been stated whether relaxing knife laws actually prevents knife violence, but giving more rights to responsible people can certainly prevent unnecessary arrests.

Source: The Daily Herald, "Knives are the new guns," Lauren Etter, May 7, 2015

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