Legal Reference

Knife Control in Arizona

What part of the 2nd Amendment don't they understand?

Knife control? What part of the 2nd Amendment don't these government tyrants understand?

Source

Arizona law standardizes knife regulations

by Laurie Merrill - Jan. 4, 2011 03:31 PM

The Arizona Republic

One of the most notorious Arizona crimes of 2010 was the beheading of a Chandler man with suspected drug-cartel ties. The weapon: a large knife.

In the so-called "Chandler Vampire" case, a man was injured for reportedly refusing to let his friends suck his blood. The weapon, again, a knife.

A knife and at least one gun, Tempe police say, were used in the so-called "Warehouse Murders," in which two men were held hostage, robbed and slain.

Despite the sensational nature of these crimes, Tempe and Chandler police say that knives overall are used as tools, and don't expect much criminal fallout from the new state knife law.

The law is the first in the nation to pre-empt local authorities on regulating the manufacture or carrying of knives, said Doug Ritter, chairman of Knife Rights Inc., a Gilbert-based group of knife enthusiasts. Other states are actively looking at Arizona's law as a model, he said.

"The best way to describe it is it enables Arizona citizens to freely travel in the state without worrying they are going to inadvertently break the law in some municipality or town," Ritter said.

Tempe police Sgt. Steve Carbajal, said, "Our hope is that people continue to act responsibly when it comes to knives and other weapons,"

Chandler has seen a drop in robberies and assaults in which knives were used, dropping from an average of about seven assaults a month in which knives were used in 2009 to just over five a month last year. Knives were used in an average of 1 robberies a month in 2009, and an average of about one a month in 2010.

"Most people seem to carry knives as a tool rather than a weapon," said Chandler police Sgt. Joe Favazzo.

Before the state law went into effect in July, Arizona had a quagmire of knife ordinances, said Todd Rathner, Knife Rights legislative director. Driving from Gilbert to Phoenix, you would pass through three municipalities, each with a different knife law, he said.

Tempe's ordinance prohibited knives in establishments where liquor was available. Chandler's banned people from carrying a knife blade longer than 3 inches in city parks.

The new state law, which pre-empts those in any city or town, has a liberal definition of knife: Anything with a sharp blade used for cutting. That means that any blade from a box cutter to a Samurai sword is legal.

"There were a lot of silly ordinances that I think were sort of copied from old statutes," Rathner said. "They have become pretty antiquated in a lot of states."

Yuma had banned knives with blades over 3 inches designed for fighting, and Phoenix forbade knife blades over 4 inches unless it was in the kitchen, Rathner said.

One of the more inconvenient situations was that knife blades on the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation could be 4 inches long, but in nearby Scottsdale, the length drops to about 3 inches, said Hank Scutoski, research analyst for the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association, which he described as the NRA of Arizona.

Knives, Ritter said, are becoming increasingly commonplace despite the sour economy. "There are certainly tens of millions of Americans who carry a knife in their pocket every day," Ritter said. "It is a wonderfully vibrant industry with a very large selection of American-made products."

The tools are commonly used for opening letters and boxes, cutting twine or rope, or butchering slain game, he said.

"A significant number of legislators carry knives themselves," Ritter said. "To most legislators, it (the uniform state law) is simply common sense."

Knife carriers must obey laws that forbid concealed weapons or ban them from courtrooms and other government buildings, Scutoski said.

Some states looking to follow Arizona's footsteps include Nevada, Utah and other states in the South and West, Ritter said.

Ritter's statistics show that knives are used only occasionally as a weapon. Fewer than 1 percent of crimes involved knives, he said. And most of those knives come from the kitchen, he said.

"They usually stem from domestic-violence issues, and what is available in a domestic-violence situation?" Ritter said. "Oftentimes, it is the kitchen knife."


Source

Police: New knife legislation won't affect public safety

Law regulates manufacture and transportation

by Nathan Gonzalez and Laurie Merrill - Jan. 13, 2011 01:50 PM

The Arizona Republic

As the sun dipped beyond the horizon Jan. 5, Mesa detectives were investigating the city's first homicide of the year.

The weapon of choice: a knife.

A 21-year-old man and a friend were walking in an apartment complex parking lot when another man came up and repeatedly stabbed the 21-year-old, according to Mesa police. The suspect fled, and the victim died at the hospital.

The fatal stabbing was eerily similar to that of Rick Glum, whose May 3 death was the first homicide of 2009. Glum's attacker told investigators he stabbed his victim in self-defense, and police closed the case.

Despite the similarity of the crimes, Mesa, Gilbert and other Southeast Valley police agencies say a new state law limiting municipalities' ability to regulate the manufacture or transportation of knives shouldn't have much impact on public safety.

Before the state law went into effect in July, Mesa didn't regulate knives, said Sgt. Ed Wessing, a police spokesman.

"Much like we train for scenarios with people with firearms, we have a block of training dealing with bladed weapons," he said.

Officers are taught defense techniques and learn when to disarm a suspect with a knife within a certain distance.

The new law does not prohibit banning bladed weapons from city-run facilities and courthouses.

The law is the first in the country to pre-empt local authorities on regulating the manufacture or carrying of knives and has put Arizona on the national map, said Doug Ritter, chairman of Knife Rights Inc., a Gilbert-based group of knife enthusiasts. Other states are actively looking at Arizona's law as a model.

"The best way to describe it is it enables Arizona citizens to freely travel in the state without worrying they are going to inadvertently break the law in some municipality or town," Ritter said.

Before the state law went into effect, Arizona had a quagmire of knife ordinances, said Todd Rathner, Knife Rights legislative director. Driving from Gilbert to Phoenix, one would pass through three municipalities, each with a different knife law.

In Gilbert, police and town officials are studying whether they must change their ordinance outlining the carrying of weapons in town buildings, Sgt. Bill Balafas wrote in an e-mail.

"Our only concern would be misinterpreting the intent of a citizen who may be carrying a knife," Balafas said. "When you have contact with police officers and you are armed, the officer will be at a heightened state of caution as a result of your weapon."

Balafas warned those carrying knives not to reach for them unless an officer instructs them to do so.

"It could be misinterpreted as an offensive move," he added. The state law aims to standardize the manufacture and transportation of knives, loosely defined as "anything used for cutting with a sharp edge." That means that any blade from a box cutter to a Samurai sword is legal.

Knives, Ritter said, are becoming increasingly commonplace despite the sour economy.

"There are certainly tens of millions of Americans who carry a knife in their pocket every day," Ritter said. "It is a wonderfully vibrant industry with a very large selection of American-made products."

The tools are commonly used for opening letters and boxes, cutting twine or rope or butchering slain game, he said.

"A significant number of legislators carry knives themselves," Ritter said. "To most legislators, it (the uniform state law) is simply common sense."

Ritter said knives are only occasionally used as a weapon in less than 1 percent of crimes, and most of those knives come from the kitchen.

"They usually stem from domestic-violence issues, and what is available in a domestic-violence situation?" Ritter said. "Oftentimes, it is the kitchen knife."