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Knives and the Second Amendment
University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform (2013)
  • David B Kopel
  • Claytom E Cramer
  • Joseph P Olson

This Article is the first scholarly analysis of knives and the Second Amendment. Under the Supreme Court’s standard in District of Columbia v. Heller, knives are Second Amendment “arms” because they are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” including self-defense.

There is no knife that is more dangerous than a modern handgun; to the contrary, knives are much less dangerous. Therefore, restrictions on carrying handguns set the upper limit for restrictions on carrying knives.

Prohibitions on carrying knives in general, or of particular knives, are unconstitutional. For example, bans of knives that open in a convenient way (e.g., switchblades, gravity knives, and butterfly knives) are unconstitutional. Likewise unconstitutional are bans on folding knives that, after being opened, have a safety lock to prevent inadvertent closure.

  • knives,
  • right to keep and bear arms
Publication Date
Fall 2013
Citation Information
David B Kopel, Claytom E Cramer and Joseph P Olson. "Knives and the Second Amendment" University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Vol. 47 Iss. 1 (2013)
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