Why are Butterfly Knives Illegal?

Why are Butterfly Knives IllegalButterfly knives are very famous and everyone wants to know why are butterfly knives illegal?

So, originated from the Philippines, Butterfly knives are also famous under the name of Balisong Knives or Fan knives.

The name was given because of the two-handle design that rotates to hide the blade within grooves.

The knife was initially used for self-defense in the Philippines but was brought to Europe in the 2nd world war.

There it became a major contributor to elevating street crimes in the era of the 1950’s onward. These knives are pocket-size, yet very handy and dangerously sharp.

Although the Balisong Knife was designed for utility purposes it was later used as a hidden weapon by many nationalities. This act causes many governments to design a regulation related to Butterfly knives.

Now, these knives are illegal in many countries like Australia, Germany, and Denmark. Well, in the USA the regulation related to the owing, manufacturing, and trade of these knives is subjected to the state rules and regulations.

Also Check:- How to Make Butterfly Knife

Types of Knives Legal to Carry in the United States- Federal Law of Trade and Commerce Regulation:

Traveling along with a knife in the USA is quite complicated, as the rules and regulations under the “State Knife Act” vary from state to state. That’s why it is always advised to read “State Knife Laws” before going ahead.

Read the categorical segregation of knives in Federal Law. Many states allow conditional permits of owing Butterfly knives. Some states allow the Butterfly with a blade no longer than 3-2.5 inches (as in Chicago), while other states state that the blade should not be more than 2 inches in length (as in California).

Few states permit the butterfly knife with a condition that both ends shouldn’t be sharp. While others allow the trade, construction, and ownership of these hidden knives (as in Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky).

*Read “State Knife Rules” before proceeding.

Why Are Butterfly Knives Illegal?

After the 2nd World War Europe and the USA were subjected to major street crime issues. And in these Pocket knives plays the most violent role. Like Gravity Knives, Butterfly knives were also the hidden weapon used. Later in 1958, State Knife Act was submitted in the parliament and a framework was designed.

Though many Butterfly knives are still illegal as they fall under the category of Dagger, Gravity knife, and Switchable blades. But conditionally, Butterfly knives with a blunt blade, one sharp end, blades no longer than 2-3 inches in length are legal in many states of the USA now.

States categorizing Butterfly Knives Illegal:

In New Jersey, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, North Carolina, and Washington Butterfly knives fall under the Switchable blades and dagger category.

Hence, completely prohibited to carry, transfer, trade, or manufacture. Any person seen not abiding by the law may subject to the penalty of up to 50,000 $, subjective to the condition. Read detailed Regulation of Federal Law to get the depth of the matter.

Conditional Legality:

In Chicago, California, Wisconsin, Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Virginia possession of butterfly knife are legally subjected to the following conditions:

• The length of the Blade should fall in between 2-3 inches.
• Only Locals are allowed to own a knife, any visitor carrying a butterfly knife will subject to a criminal offense.
• The owner can carry a knife in the open, concealing a knife will be considered a crime.

States considering Butterfly knives Legal:

Almost 40 states in the USA legally allows the trade, manufacturing, and owning of Butterfly Knives. Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Maine (to name a few, rest you can Check on Federal Knife Act of USA) categories Butterfly knives as Folding Knives making them completely legal in use.

Specific Restricted Permits:

Few states like North Dakota, Utah, and New Hampshire, restrict the possession of knives in specific city areas which have a higher crime rate. Moreover, these states also suggest that a Switchable blade is allowed to carry in open, an owner also needs a permit/license to carry it and if the blade is concealed it will be considered as a crime.

Furthermore, there are certain Federal areas, where carrying these knives is completely prohibited even if it is legal in the state to carry a blade. This is a very delicate topic so blade owners should regularly read and keep themselves up-to-date regarding the rules and regulation of State Knife Laws.

Legal Offenses and Penalties related to Butterfly Knives:

Legal Offenses occur when a citizen does not abide by the state laws and regulations. In the context of these Legal Offenses, the State determines specific penalties too. Regarding Butterfly Knives the offense will be considered when:

• An owner of the switchable blade conceals it and does not hold it in open.
• Not following the restricted regulations (length of the blade, sharpness of the blade, and areas where you cannot carry these blades).
• Not holding the knife in the knife in open and concealing it will categories it as a weapon.
• Not having a proper ownership paper (license) of the knife.
• Twirling your blade during a course of joy or fight.
• If wagging the knife causes any physical damage it will be considered as a physical aimed attack.
• Depending upon the charge and severity of the offense, Law states the punishment of imprisonment and monetary penalty too.

Legal Defenses against Butterfly Knife Charges:

The very strong defense often used by the offended is that they carry a knife unknowingly. Although they didn’t conduct any unlawful act, they just carry a knife and didn’t know that carrying a knife is prohibited in a state.

Most of the Legal Representatives use defense against knife Crimes and their success ratio is good too. Moreover, if the person completely follows the possession rules and regulations and is just caught in carrying the knife, the charge will be removed immediately.

Conclusion: Why Are Butterfly Knives Illegal?

Although butterfly knives were used in common before the 2nd world war, due to their extensive use and associated with violent acts conducted on New York streets, the USA government passed an Act and State Knife Rules were formulated.

Now every state has distinctive rules and regulations regarding ownership, transfer, trade, and manufacturing of Butterfly knives. Well, almost 40-42 USA States have legalized the use of the switchable blade. On contrary, few have subjective legalization, and others make their ownership completely illegal.

Being a knife to know in-depth why are butterfly knives illegal, read detailed Federal regulatory authorities explanation about the categories of knives.

Additional Resources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_knife
  2. https://www.quora.com/Why-are-butterfly-knives-illegal-What-makes-them-different-from-other-knives

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