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Old August 4th, 2017, 11:33 AM #1
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MD Knife Law Definitions

I am looking to get a push dagger to attach to sling pack. Looking at the MD code below I had a couple of questions.
  • Does a "dagger" fall under the dirk knife restriction?
  • To be considered a "Bowie" does that title need to appear in the knife name/description or is it just the general shape?
  • Does one need to prove/disprove "intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner"?
  • Does wear or carry also apply to having a knife in your vehicle?

I apologize if these (newbie) questions have been asked before; the search function was a little frustrating. If so, I would appreciate it if you could send me the link.

Thank you for your help.


Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-101 (2012)

§ 4-101. Dangerous weapons

(a) Definitions. —

(4) “Star knife” means a device used as a throwing weapon, consisting of several sharp or pointed blades arrayed as radially disposed arms about a central disk.

(5) (i) “Weapon” includes a dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, sandclub, metal knuckles, razor, and nunchaku.

(ii) “Weapon” does not include: 1. a handgun; or 2. a penknife without a switchblade.

(c) Prohibited. —

(1) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person.

(2) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon, chemical mace, pepper mace, or a tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner.

(3) (i) This paragraph applies in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Harford County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, and Worcester County.

(ii) A minor may not carry a dangerous weapon between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise, whether concealed or not, except while:

1. on a bona fide hunting trip; or

2. engaged in or on the way to or returning from a bona fide trap shoot, sport shooting event, or any organized civic or military activity.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 12:05 PM #2
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Any fixed blade knife falls under Bowie or dagger definitions. Must be worn openly.

Can't speak exactly to the vehicle, so don't want to speculate.

IANAL
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Old August 4th, 2017, 05:34 PM #3
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Thanks for the information. I guess I should pull out the fixed blades I have in my packs.
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"laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

Cesare Beccaria's Essay on Crimes and Punishments, 1809
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Old August 7th, 2017, 07:55 AM #4
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This is one of my favorite topics. I've done a lot of research on these by reading case records in the MD court system.
Quote:
Does a "dagger" fall under the dirk knife restriction?
Short answer: Yes. Details in the next answer.
Quote:
To be considered a "Bowie" does that title need to appear in the knife name/description or is it just the general shape?
It just has to be a fixed blade knife. Interviews I conducted with police officers indicate that all concealed fixed blades, whether single or double edged, are considered CDW ("concealed dangerous weapon"). Polk v Maryland, In Re Juliana and several other cases also involve fixed blades of no special or specific description being considered dangerous weapons for purposes of this statute. The police will simply assume it violates the law and let the court handle the details. The charge has occasionally been thrown out by the court when the circumstances of the case are very innocuous. For example in one case I read the knife was voluntarily offered up during a traffic stop and was stated to be a carving tool. The defendant was still giving a citation by the cop, but the charge was dropped.
Quote:
Does one need to prove/disprove "intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner"?
The burden lies with the state to prove intent to injure unlawfully. All cases I have reviewed involved the knife-wielder openly attacking a person maliciously or menacing people. Mere open carry is not in any way enough to prove intent. I have carried numerous bladed instruments openly, including in front of cops, and not had an issue.
Quote:
Does wear or carry also apply to having a knife in your vehicle?
Yes, it does, but only if it's concealed. The aforementioned Polk v Maryland involved an arrest for fixed blade within arms reach of the driver's seat. It is notable that Polk was acquitted because his knife was plainly visible and not concealed.
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Old August 7th, 2017, 08:11 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glistam View Post
This is one of my favorite topics. I've done a lot of research on these by reading case records in the MD court system.

Short answer: Yes. Details in the next answer.

It just has to be a fixed blade knife. Interviews I conducted with police officers indicate that all concealed fixed blades, whether single or double edged, are considered CDW ("concealed dangerous weapon"). Polk v Maryland, In Re Juliana and several other cases also involve fixed blades of no special or specific description being considered dangerous weapons for purposes of this statute. The police will simply assume it violates the law and let the court handle the details. The charge has occasionally been thrown out by the court when the circumstances of the case are very innocuous. For example in one case I read the knife was voluntarily offered up during a traffic stop and was stated to be a carving tool. The defendant was still giving a citation by the cop, but the charge was dropped.

The burden lies with the state to prove intent to injure unlawfully. All cases I have reviewed involved the knife-wielder openly attacking a person maliciously or menacing people. Mere open carry is not in any way enough to prove intent. I have carried numerous bladed instruments openly, including in front of cops, and not had an issue.

Yes, it does, but only if it's concealed. The aforementioned Polk v Maryland involved an arrest for fixed blade within arms reach of the driver's seat. It is notable that Polk was acquitted because his knife was plainly visible and not concealed.


Fantastic post
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Old August 7th, 2017, 08:13 AM #6
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So I am guessing both the machete (for trail blazing in the field) and the tire iron (for changing tires) behind the seat of a vehicle are both considered CDW?
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Old August 7th, 2017, 08:36 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
So I am guessing both the machete (for trail blazing in the field) and the tire iron (for changing tires) behind the seat of a vehicle are both considered CDW?
Only if you piss off the cops enough that they find it

Seriously though, Polk effectively declared if they can see it from outside the car at a glance, it's not concealed, thus not illegal. Also tire irons aren't weapons per statute unless you actually attack someone with it. A machete, well, I do know people that have them behind the driver seat of their truck, but I wouldn't risk it. Better in the trunk.
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Old August 7th, 2017, 12:55 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glistam View Post
This is one of my favorite topics. I've done a lot of research on these by reading case records in the MD court system.

Short answer: Yes. Details in the next answer.

It just has to be a fixed blade knife. Interviews I conducted with police officers indicate that all concealed fixed blades, whether single or double edged, are considered CDW ("concealed dangerous weapon"). Polk v Maryland, In Re Juliana and several other cases also involve fixed blades of no special or specific description being considered dangerous weapons for purposes of this statute. The police will simply assume it violates the law and let the court handle the details. The charge has occasionally been thrown out by the court when the circumstances of the case are very innocuous. For example in one case I read the knife was voluntarily offered up during a traffic stop and was stated to be a carving tool. The defendant was still giving a citation by the cop, but the charge was dropped.

The burden lies with the state to prove intent to injure unlawfully. All cases I have reviewed involved the knife-wielder openly attacking a person maliciously or menacing people. Mere open carry is not in any way enough to prove intent. I have carried numerous bladed instruments openly, including in front of cops, and not had an issue.

Yes, it does, but only if it's concealed. The aforementioned Polk v Maryland involved an arrest for fixed blade within arms reach of the driver's seat. It is notable that Polk was acquitted because his knife was plainly visible and not concealed.
Thanks glistam, excellent response.
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"laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

Cesare Beccaria's Essay on Crimes and Punishments, 1809
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 11:22 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glistam View Post
Only if you piss off the cops enough that they find it

Seriously though, Polk effectively declared if they can see it from outside the car at a glance, it's not concealed, thus not illegal. Also tire irons aren't weapons per statute unless you actually attack someone with it. A machete, well, I do know people that have them behind the driver seat of their truck, but I wouldn't risk it. Better in the trunk.
that helps define it a bunch...thanks!
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 11:44 AM #10
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How about if you carry it in a tool box in the back of your truck?


   
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