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Thread: Knife laws in VA?

  1. #1
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    Looking to nuy a knife for a friend moving to VA. What are the laws as far as length, open/concealed, etc. Havent decided on fixed, folder, boot, etc. Thanks in advance, HR.

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    Here is the most relevant section I can think of off the top of my head.

    Virginia does not have a blade length limit.


    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-308

    A. If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation, (i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; (iii) any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; (iv) any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or (v) any weapon of like kind as those enumerated in this subsection, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second violation of this section or a conviction under this section subsequent to any conviction under any substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony, and a third or subsequent such violation shall be punishable as a Class 5 felony. For the purpose of this section, a weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.

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    So as long as its not a switchblade or ballistic knife your ok?

    Note: I had to lookup what a ballistic knife was. :shock:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistic_knife

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    You can go Crocodile Dundee if you want.. Just as long as you do not conceal it.

    The code says "hidden from common observation" so as long as you do not concealsome of the listed knives.. you could OC them. I have seen this and in the urban area.. it seems a little odd.

    But any traditional folding knife in your pocket is going to be OK.

    The boot knife concealed could be viewed as a Dirk if it was like the one I used to own.

    And Dundee's knife is a Bowie knife.


    You cannot have a switchblade or ballistic knife of you could be charged as shown below.

    § knucks, any disc of whatever configuration having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, or like weapons, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. The having in one's possession of any such weapon shall be prima facie evidence, except in the case of a conservator of the peace, of his intent to sell, barter, give or furnish the same.



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    § 18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited.
    A. If any person possesses any (i) stun weapon as defined in this section; (ii) knife, except a pocket knife having a folding metal blade of less than three inches; or (iii) weapon, including a weapon of like kind, designated in subsection A of § 18.2-308, other than a firearm; upon (a) the property of any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (b) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (c) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    B. If any person possesses any firearm designed or intended to expel a projectile by action of an explosion of a combustible material while such person is upon (i) any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (ii) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (iii) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony; however, if the person possesses any firearm within a public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school building and intends to use, or attempts to use, such firearm, or displays such weapon in a threatening manner, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years to be served consecutively with any other sentence.
    The exemptions set out in § 18.2-308 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of the school's curriculum or activities; (ii) a person possessing a knife customarily used for food preparation or service and using it for such purpose; (iii) persons who possess such weapon or weapons as a part of any program sponsored or facilitated by either the school or any organization authorized by the school to conduct its programs either on or off the school premises; (iv) any law-enforcement officer; (v) any person who possesses a knife or blade which he uses customarily in his trade; (vi) a person who possesses an unloaded firearm that is in a closed container, or a knife having a metal blade, in or upon a motor vehicle, or an unloaded shotgun or rifle in a firearms rack in or upon a motor vehicle; or (vii) a person who has a valid concealed handgun permit and possesses a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other means of vehicular ingress or egress to the school. For the purposes of this paragraph, "weapon" includes a knife having a metal blade of three inches or longer and "closed container" includes a locked vehicle trunk.
    As used in this section:
    "Stun weapon" means any device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.
    (1979, c. 467; 1988, c. 493; 1990,
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    Thanks all, would a license to CC cover a knife? I know some statesissue Concealed WEAPON Permits.

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    LEO 229 wrote:


    The boot knife concealed could be viewed as a Dirk if it was like the one I used to own.

    You just hit one of my pet peeves 229. I have never met a LEO that had any idea what a Dirk is.

    It is a short, generally single edged, small sword. The blade lengths run from 14 to 23 inches and they evolved from the Ballcock dagger and underwent three distinct periods of change (mostly in the grip area).

    It's one of my favorite period swords to forge.



    A boot knife can be considered a fantasy dagger but not much more.


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    HOLYROLLER wrote:
    Thanks all, would a license to CC cover a knife? I know some statesissue Concealed WEAPON Permits.
    Sorry, but In Virginia it is a CHP - Concealed Handgun Permit and is only good for concealed Handguns. Any other weapon or "like weapon" as defined in section 18.2-308 of the virginia code is illegal to carry concealed. Even if Virginia recognizes another states concealed weapon permit and that state allows concealed weapons other than a handgun to be carried, you can only carry a concealed handgun period.

    In Virginia local gun ordinances have been invalidated by state preemption. The only ones that can be valid are if the Virginia legislature passes a law that gives localities permission to pass a specific gun law (ie. Virginia law gives permission for localites to fingerprint first time applicants for a CHP, but it is not required they do so).

    Be warned. There is no state preemption for knives. State law dictates what type of edged weapons are considered a concealed weapon at the state law level. If you are carrying a 4 inch Buck Knife with a locking blade in your front pocket you are probably okay under Virginia law, however I believe Richmond has a city ordinance against the carrying of lock blade knives whether it is concealed or not. Other cities and counties may have laws reguarding the carrying of knives or the allowed length of the blade.
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    HOLYROLLER wrote:
    Thanks all, would a license to CC cover a knife? I know some statesissue Concealed WEAPON Permits.
    No
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    Yopu can apparently carry a chef's knife or a butcher knife, although the court might change its mind and say it is a weapon after all.

    Don't forget there are municipal/county codes in Virginia that do regulate the length. See http://home.netcom.com/~brlevine/sta-law.htmfor some decent links to those codes.

    I'd say your chances of being legal are less than 50% on a good day, and less than zero when the cops are discussing your knife with you.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    When A Knife is "A Weapon of Like Kind"


    To be a "weapon of like kind," the knife must first be a weapon. Farrakhan, 273 Va. at 182, 639 S.E.2d at 230; see also Delcid, 32 Va. App. at 17, 526 S.E.2d at 275. Generally, a weapon is "[a]n instrument of offensive or defensive combat: something to fight with." Delcid, 32 Va. App. at 18, 526 S.E.2d at 275 (citing Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary 1326 (1977)). Because a bladed instrument may be "possessed and used for non-aggressive as well as aggressive purposes," determining whether the knife "is an implement or a weapon requires consideration not only of the physical character of the instrument itself, but also of the circumstances surrounding its possession and use." Id. at 19, 526 S.E.2d at 275. Although the purpose for carrying the knife is irrelevant under Code § 18.2-308(A) and 18.2-308.2, "that purpose is one of the defining characteristics of the item in question." Id. ...Here, as shown, the knife in question has a 6-inch blade and a 5-inch handle. The blade has one dull, straight edge, and one sharp edge. Both edges come to a sharp point. The knife contains the inscription "MCR-11 Handmade" on one side, and "Taylor/Seto Surgical Japan" on the other. The knife does not fold to cover the blade. Rather, a leather sheath protects the blade. The knife is clearly not an "innocuous household [knife or an] industrial kni[fe] which may be carried for legitimate purposes." Richards, 18 Va. App. at 246 n.2, 443 S.E.2d at 179 n.2. Nor is it an implement possessed for "non-aggressive" purposes. See generally Delcid, 32 Va. App. at 19, 526 S.E.2d at 275. Moreover, Gilliam did not possess this item during the day at a job site. Instead, the knife was found in his possession after he was arrested for public intoxication around ten o'clock at night. And although Gilliam testified that he used the knife for construction, the trial court found this testimony incredible. Thus, we hold that there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the knife in question is a weapon.

    See Also: Harris v. Commonwealth, __Va.__S.E.2d__,__(2007) A box cutter is not a weapon or a concealed weapon because it is not of like kind.


    "In this case, Ohin's knife is not a common pocketknife as he claims it to be. It has physical features making it similar to several of the prohibited knives listed in Code 18.2-308(A)(ii) and dissimilar to the kinds of "innocuous household and industrial knives which may be carried for legitimate purposes." Richards, 18 Va. App. at 246 n.2, 443 S.E.2d at 179 n.2. Ohin's knife has a "hilt like a sword," as the trial judge described it. This hilt includes a cross-guard to improve the stabbing capability of the knife by protecting the hand during the thrusting motion. The same can be said for the oversized, notched handle a feature that enhances the user's grip. These physical properties make the knife of "like kind" to the dirk and the switchblade, given that both are designed primarily for stabbing motions. The knife's substantial hilt and cross-guard make it quite unlike a common pocketknife, kitchen carving knife, or other type of non-fighting blade. Ohin's knife blade also locks securely when opened, much like a switchblade or a butterfly knife, and can be retracted only when unlocked. See, e.g., O'Banion, 33 Va. App. at 60, 531 S.E.2d at 605 (noting that a "retractable blade that can be locked into place" gives a knife a weapon-like quality). The blade comes to a point like a bowie knife, with one side sharpened and the other side shaped with a concave curvature. This blade design likewise improves the knife's fighting capabilities. What was said about the butterfly knife in Delcid can be said also about Ohin's knife: It has a "fixed blade, sharp point, and single-sharpened edge" affording it "unquestionable utility as a stabbing weapon." Id. at 18, 526 S.E.2d at 275; see also Richards, 18 Va. App. at 246, 443 S.E.2d at 179 (finding on "examination of the weapon's blade" it was a "weapon of like kind").


    III.
    In sum, the evidence supports the trial court's factual finding that Ohin's knife constitutes a "weapon of like kind" under Code 18.2-308(A)(v). We affirm Ohin's
    conviction, finding no error in the trial court's denial of his motion to strike the evidence."

    See Also: Samuel Kingrey v. Commonwealth , (1999) , Allen Delcid v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (2000). , JOSEPH GOODWIN, III v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (2005) ,



    3) "Code 18.2-308(A) defines the word "weapon" to include, inter alia, "any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife. . . or any weapon of like kind"

    Contrary to the school division's assertion, the pocket knife that Brian had in his possession does not constitute a firearm within the meanings of these statutes [18.2-308.1, 22-1-2777.01(A)]. . . Applying these principles, we hold that Brian's pocket knife is not a firearm because a pocketknife is neither a dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, nor a weapon of like kind6"

    6 A "dirk" is defined as a "long straight bladed dagger formerly carried (especially) by the Scottish Highlanders[;]2. a short sword formerly worn by British junior naval officers." Websters Third New International Dictionary, 642 (1981). A "bowie knife" is defined as "a large hunting knife adapted [especially] for knife fighting and common in western frontier regions and having a guarded handle and a strong single-edge blade typically 10 to 15 inches long with its back straight for most of its length and then curving concavely and sometimes in a sharpened edge to the point." id at 262, A "switchblade knife" is defined as " a pocketknife having the blade spring-operated so that pressure on a release catch causes it to fly open." id. at 2314. A "ballistic knife" is defined as "any knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism." Code 18.2-308(N) - Wood v. Henry County Public Schools, 255 Va. 85, (1998)

    4)

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    Just in case you're wondering, possession of a "switchblade", or automatic knife, is a Class 4 Misdemeanor, punishable by a low fine and no jail time, and of course confiscation. IANAL but I doubt it would be an issue against renewing your CHP.
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    If you want to carry a pocketknife, no biggie. If you want to carry a real knife, you had better do so openly. Just make sure it's not a switchblade etc.

    I used to carry a variety of hunting knives openly. No big deal.

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    You didn't ask for suggestions concerning knife designs....but for a good knife that has the speed of a switchblade but is legal, consider one of Kershaws "Speed Safe" models.

    This is a Ken Onion Design and is top notch.

    SOG makes a similar design and to be honest, have a little better blade than the Kershaw but I know Ken and I don't think SOG obtained a license from him. (They just changed the design a little). The knockoffs have been a point of contention for a long time.

    Like all folders, pocket lint and grit can cause some function problems but keep them clean and the work every time.

    Since they lack the catch or latch of a switchblade, they are fine in Virginia.

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    peter nap wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    The boot knife concealed could be viewed as a Dirk if it was like the one I used to own.
    You just hit one of my pet peeves 229. I have never met a LEO that had any idea what a Dirk is.

    It is a short, generally single edged, small sword. The blade lengths run from 14 to 23 inches and they evolved from the Ballcock dagger and underwent three distinct periods of change (mostly in the grip area).

    It's one of my favorite period swords to forge.

    A boot knife can be considered a fantasy dagger but not much more.


    Please note that I said "could be viewed as"

    And honestly... who even carriestraditional "dirk" anyway that the state needed to add it to the code as such. Dirks were small double edged weapons used by thieves and meant to be easily hidden.

    A dirk as shownbelow is just like a boot knife manufactured and used in modern day.





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirk







    http://www.thepirateking.com/historical/dirk.htm




    Thanks for playing.






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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Actually, Dirks were very popular during the 1700's here. There was a large Scot population in the mountains.

    They adapted into the riflemans knife as time passed because the blacksmiths weren't capable of quickly turning or casting the traditional handle.

    They were included in the statute like the Bowie because they were the preferred fighting weapon. Not to get into a history lesson, the traditional sword or cutlass or saber, was being shortened into the very short "Hunting sword". Gentlemen who didn't want to cart a full size sword, had fancy hunting swords made "(These were called a cuttoe). This design and the dirk and the riflemans knife all came together in later short swords.

    I wouldn't take too much stock in Wikipedia's definitions. If you want to see what original Dirks look like, find a copy of "Edged weapons of the American Revolution".

    It has a whole chapter of Museum quality originals , complete with a full set of measurements.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Peter, since you're so knowledgeable, why don't you fix wikipedia's definitions?

    wikipedia is fun

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    marshaul wrote:
    Peter, since you're so knowledgeable, why don't you fix wikipedia's definitions?

    wikipedia is fun

    That could be a lifetime venture
    And
    even then, you would have to get past the syntax. When the GA was including the butterfly knife in the statute, I spent an hour with Virgil Goode and Reynolds. There was a PD in Southwest Va that wanted Chinese Butterfly swords (Look like a short fat cutlass) on the concealed list because one of the local badA$$ carried one.

    When I showed them different types of butterflys and explained they would be banned and the offending sword would go untouched, they just said...Oh, the police know the difference.

    RIGHT!

    A number of years ago, the Va. Historical Society got John Brown's knife. They had documentation saying that a "Bowie" was taken from him when he was arrested.
    I was examining it so I could make a reproduction for a collector.

    The curator asked me "It is a Bowie, isn't it?"
    What can you say. Aside from a few people that CLAIM to have the original Bowie, no one really knows what it looks like. Jim's brother, had untold numbers of knives made for gifts over the years,
    ALL DIFFERENT!

    Somehow, we accepted all knives with a clip point as Bowie knives!

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    peter nap wrote:
    Snipped.....

    I wouldn't take too much stock in Wikipedia's definitions. If you want to see what original Dirks look like, find a copy of "Edged weapons of the American Revolution".

    ..Snipped
    I gave you two separate sources that both agree.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Snipped.....

    I wouldn't take too much stock in Wikipedia's definitions. If you want to see what original Dirks look like, find a copy of "Edged weapons of the American Revolution".

    ..Snipped
    I gave you two separate sources that both agree.

    I saw that 229 but....I gave you a reference to a genunine source, used as a tool by most serious weapons collectors. Wikipedia or the Pirate King (or whatever he is) ain't one.

    It's a little like getting police training from Don Knotts!

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    peter nap wrote:
    What can you say. Aside from a few people that CLAIM to have the original Bowie, no one really knows what it looks like. Jim's brother, had untold numbers of knives made for gifts over the years,
    ALL DIFFERENT!
    Kind of like the confusion over the USMC Ka-Bar fighting knife, carried by Marines in WWII, and still carried by many Marines when I quit a few years ago.

    The word "Ka-Bar" refers to the company, not the type of knife, but Ka-Bar was one of the biggest contractors to make them, so most of them have the Ka-Bar logo on them. But I have a "Marine fighting knife" of essentially the same design, which is made by Camillus, which many Marines would refer to as a "Ka-Bar".

    Kind of like the M-14 vs. M1A confusion.

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    peter nap wrote:
    I saw that 229 but....I gave you a reference to a genunine source, used as a tool by most serious weapons collectors. Wikipedia or the Pirate King (or whatever he is) ain't one.

    It's a little like getting police training from Don Knotts!
    Maybe you can provide us with something to back what you are saying.

    You took the time to point out that no cop has ever ever been able to correctly identify a Dirk like LEOs have no clue. But when we/I check on what aDirk is... we see something that you claim is wrong. But we are held at fault for not knowing.

    I have also asked an independent person whodescribed a Dirk to be what I have viewed Online and always believed.So out of three separate sources plus myself.. we all have the same idea on what it is. So far onlyYOU have it different.

    Now it is going to be hard for me to believe that the State of Virginia is so worried that someone is going to CC a two foot sword under their clothing. I do not even see sword in the list of knives so maybe a dirk to the state is the same as what all the cops see it as.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Those are pretty good examples Hawk.
    And because of the clip point, the courts consider "Ka :shock:bar's)....Bowies.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    Maybe you can provide us with something to back what you are saying.

    You took the time to point out that no cop has ever ever been able to correctly identify a Dirk like LEOs have no clue. But when we/I check on what aDirk is... we see something that you claim is wrong. But we are held at fault for not knowing.

    I have also asked an independent person whodescribed a Dirk to be what I have viewed Online and always believed.So out of three separate sources plus myself.. we all have the same idea on what it is. So far onlyYOU have it different.

    Now it is going to be hard for me to believe that the State of Virginia is so worried that someone is going to CC a two foot sword under their clothing. I do not even see sword in the list of knives so maybe a dirk to the state is the same as what all the cops see it as.
    Actually, I did back it up!
    I pointed you to a reference that has stood the test of time. It is a book, so it takes a trip to the library.

    It is written by experts. Not me, I'm not an expert. I make knives based on what the experts have found and publish.

    Since I don't know who the independent person was you asked, and don't really care unless he is a published Archaeologists, I stand by what I said.

    One thing your doing is mixing the syntax again. You pointed to references about Naval Dirks. Naval Dirks are like Bowie knives. Not Dirks at all but daggers. Somewhere the name caught on.

    I do not even see sword in the list of knives so maybe a dirk to the state is the same as what all the cops see it as.

    Good point. Why do they bother to pass legislation directed at machetes ?

    Why was a slung ever included in the concealed weapons statute (Another sailors toy)

    Why can we carry openly but not concealed in a restaurant


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    Tomahawk wrote:
    SNIP Kind of like the confusion over the USMC Ka-Bar fighting knife, carried by Marines in WWII, and still carried by many Marines when I quit a few years ago.

    The word "Ka-Bar" refers to the company, not the type of knife, but Ka-Bar was one of the biggest contractors to make them, so most of them have the Ka-Bar logo on them. But I have a "Marine fighting knife" of essentially the same design, which is made by Camillus, which many Marines would refer to as a "Ka-Bar".

    Kind of like the M-14 vs. M1A confusion.

    Kind of like the confusion over Natty Bumpo, Deerslayer, and Long Carabine?

    Kind of like the confusion over Pocohontas and........Maqua? :P

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    peter nap wrote:
    Actually, I did back it up!
    I pointed you to a reference that has stood the test of time. It is a book, so it takes a trip to the library.

    ....snipped
    Not going tofly here..Unless you can provide something for us to view.. I will have to hold your input as void.

    Perhaps the State of Virginia wasthinking about sailors Dirks and possibly pirates and not people that no longer exist or that somearchaeologist might want to CC an artifact knife.

    Going to stick with my original post. Maybe someone can get with you to prove a dirk is not a dirk in court.

    And remember... it depends on what the definition of "is" is. Bill Clinton

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