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Thread: Sword and Machate laws

  1. #1
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    Question Sword and Machate laws

    Hello, I am new to these forums and had a question or two I needed answered.

    In the Pennsylvania Prohibited weapons portion of the state constitution; an illegal knife is any dagger/dirk or knife over the length of five inches; or that is opened by automatic switch or other device.

    My first question is simple. Are swords of any nature illegal to be carried openly on ones person? Not being defined as a dagger nor a dirk and having no automatic mechanisms they don't fit the description of a weapon prohibited for such carry. I have spoken with several local police officers and former officers and they all agree that as long as nothing unlawful immediately comes from the simple possession and carry it isn't a prohibited weapon.

    Second, I was informed by an officer several months ago that as an American citizen at the age of Twenty I did not have my second amendment right, or any of them for that matter. This was in regards to an incident regarding the first question and the officers words about my rights were completely over looked.

    I have always been under the assumption that as a legal citizen I was born with my rights. Having never been told otherwise I was and still am very taken aback by the officers words. Am I wrong for thinking I have these rights?


    I thank any and everyone in advance for your responses.

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    Prohibited weapons are mentioned in the state constitution?

    When in doubt, see what the law says. In this instance, it's Title 18, Section 908, to wit:

    18 Pa.C.S. 908: Prohibited offensive weapons

    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive weapon.

    (b) Exceptions.--
    ....(1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence that he possessed or dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. 5801 et seq.), or that he possessed it briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any intent or likelihood that the weapon would be used unlawfully.
    ....(2) This section does not apply to police forensic firearms experts or police forensic firearms laboratories. Also exempt from this section are forensic firearms experts or forensic firearms laboratories operating in the ordinary course of business and engaged in lawful operation who notify in writing, on an annual basis, the chief or head of any police force or police department of a city, and, elsewhere, the sheriff of a county in which they are located, of the possession, type and use of offensive weapons.
    ....(3) This section shall not apply to any person who makes, repairs, sells or otherwise deals in, uses or possesses any firearm for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.

    (c) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
    ...."Firearm." Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.
    ...."Offensive weapons." Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.

    (d) Exemptions.--The use and possession of blackjacks by the following persons in the course of their duties are exempt from this section:
    ....(1) Police officers, as defined by and who meet the requirements of the act of June 18, 1974 (P.L. 359, No. 120), referred to as the Municipal Police Education and Training Law. [FN1]
    ....(2) Police officers of first class cities who have successfully completed training which is substantially equivalent to the program under the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    ....(3) Pennsylvania State Police officers.
    ....(4) Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs of the various counties who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    ....(5) Police officers employed by the Commonwealth who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.
    ....(6) Deputy sheriffs with adequate training as determined by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
    ....(7) Liquor Control Board agents who have satisfactorily met the requirements of the Municipal Police Education and Training Law.


    You will note there is nothing in there about blade length. The law does prohibit switchblades (press a button, the blade whips out), but that's about it. Swords, katanas, machetes, etc. are not mentioned nor specifically prohibited.

    The police officer you speak of should research various SCOTUS rulings concerning rights before spouting off his erroneous opinions.

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    1) There is no blade length mentioned on the definition for prohibited offensive weapons.

    2) There is nor pre-emption for knife laws, so while your knife may be find in town "X", in cities like Philthy-delphia, they can make a law that say a knife with a blade over 2" is illegal.

    3) The officer who talked to you doesn't know what he is talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Bell View Post
    SNIP I have always been under the assumption that as a legal citizen I was born with my rights. Having never been told otherwise I was and still am very taken aback by the officers words. Am I wrong for thinking I have these rights?
    Welcome to Open Carry dot Org!! (OCDO)

    You were a little mis-informed.

    The best place to find out about your rights is from a freedom-minded source. You're a lot less likely to get skewed info. For example, you could read John Locke's Second Treatise on Government, a good summary will work. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence was heavily influenced by Locke--We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...that paragraph. In fact, in at least one place the Declaration of Independence is word-for-word Locke.

    The little mis-informed to which I referred was that, yes, you are born with rights. You have them because you exist. No other justification needed. Not even being a legal citizen is necessary. Just be alive.

    However! whether the government recognizes those rights, or chisels away at them, or a cop ignores them, or a court chooses to decide a lawsuit in your favor for a rights violation is another matter entirely.

    For sure there are plenty of cops who will manifest some manner of not recognizing your rights. Of course, being beaten for talking back is a more extreme example. But, at the other end you have cops who will refuse to recognize, for example, your right to not incriminate yourself. For example, you politely decline to answer questions during a temporary detention or traffic stop without an attorney. The cop replies, "If you have nothing to hide, why won't you talk to us?" No matter how you slice it--and some will say its OK because some judge said only custodial questioning requires a Miranda Warning--no matter how you slice it, if the cop genuinely respected your right against self-incrimination, he wouldn't ask another question, and wouldn't try to badger or trick you into waiving it with cheesy conversational tactics.

    Another angle is to think about your economic rights. Huh? What are my economic rights, you might ask? Proves my point. Lots of people have never even heard of such. Because, the government carefully avoids mentioning them. The courts have carefully distinguished between your civil rights and economic rights. You have a right against unreasonable searches and seizures (4A), and a right against self-incrimination (5A), but what about your right to keep your earnings and spend them where you think best? Your economic rights just took a big hit with Obamacare. And, how about 30-40% total tax burden? So much for your economic rights. How about those (Chevrolet?) shareholders who Obama gave preference over to the unions? Sorry, folks. That was a total enforced breach of contract. How about Roosevelt's seizure of everybody's gold in the 1930's, replacing it with paper money subject to all sorts of government and bank manipulation of value? This list goes on and on and on.

    The main point here is that damn few in government are going to scrupulously observe your rights unless it suits their purposes. And, even fewer are going to really inform you of your rights. So, you have to learn them yourself. And, then be prepared to exercise them.

    Start with Locke just to get the philosophy well understood.

    Then progress to learning about your various legal rights. And, look more broadly to learn about the rights that government pretends don't exist.
    Last edited by Citizen; 02-08-2012 at 01:57 AM.

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    weapons other than firearms are not covered by preemption, so local governments can regulate their ownership and carry to their hearts content. in Philly, knives are illegal to carry, unless they are necessary for your job, and you're transporting them to and from work. in Scranton, only "martial arts" weapons, like nunchaku, shuriken, and manriki-gusari, and illegal to own and carry, unless they're part of your martial arts curriculum, and used in an educational setting, or kept as "curios".

    i had an encounter with a Scranton LEO over a butterfly knife/balisong i was flipping; he didn't believe they were legal to own or carry. i had a copy of Commonwealth Vs. Miles in my car, which specifically states that balisongs were not a prohibited offensive weapon. also, Chaper 232 of the Scranton Crime Codes makes no mention of them, so they're legal, by both state and local law. as are katanas, machetes, tomahawks, etc.

    i have to ask, though: what wisdom is there in carrying a sword around modern day Pennsylvania? like carrying Dracos with orange painted tips, that is asking to get stopped and detained. i can see carrying a machete, in a rural setting, or on a hike/camping trip. swords are task-specific weapons, not tools. not to mention, you'd look like an idiot carrying a katana/broadsword/claymore/rapier/kopis/gladius/jian/shamshir/talwar/etc around town. more importantly, learning to use a sword safely and effectively takes years...YEARS...of professional instruction. some schools require no less than 5 years of practice with a non-steel blade before the student ever lays hands on a live blade. it's not like a gun, where most people can become proficient within months or weeks of good training.

    do yourself, and everyone else, a favor. if you're under 21, and are convinced you need to be armed, get your folks or grandparents to gift you a gun, amd carry openly. otherwise, you'll just have to wait until you're 21 to get one yourself.
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    One post and gone? Not even a thanks?

    Heh, heh, heh. I wonder if paralegals are doing their boss's research by asking us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jahwarrior72 View Post
    weapons other than firearms are not covered by preemption, so local governments can regulate their ownership and carry to their hearts content. in Philly, knives are illegal to carry, unless they are necessary for your job, and you're transporting them to and from work. in Scranton, only "martial arts" weapons, like nunchaku, shuriken, and manriki-gusari, and illegal to own and carry, unless they're part of your martial arts curriculum, and used in an educational setting, or kept as "curios".

    i had an encounter with a Scranton LEO over a butterfly knife/balisong i was flipping; he didn't believe they were legal to own or carry. i had a copy of Commonwealth Vs. Miles in my car, which specifically states that balisongs were not a prohibited offensive weapon. also, Chaper 232 of the Scranton Crime Codes makes no mention of them, so they're legal, by both state and local law. as are katanas, machetes, tomahawks, etc.

    i have to ask, though: what wisdom is there in carrying a sword around modern day Pennsylvania? like carrying Dracos with orange painted tips, that is asking to get stopped and detained. i can see carrying a machete, in a rural setting, or on a hike/camping trip. swords are task-specific weapons, not tools. not to mention, you'd look like an idiot carrying a katana/broadsword/claymore/rapier/kopis/gladius/jian/shamshir/talwar/etc around town. more importantly, learning to use a sword safely and effectively takes years...YEARS...of professional instruction. some schools require no less than 5 years of practice with a non-steel blade before the student ever lays hands on a live blade. it's not like a gun, where most people can become proficient within months or weeks of good training.


    do yourself, and everyone else, a favor. if you're under 21, and are convinced you need to be armed, get your folks or grandparents to gift you a gun, amd carry openly. otherwise, you'll just have to wait until you're 21 to get one yourself.
    Wow, another one that is there to pressure their own choice upon someone else is choice to bear what arms he or she wants, sad. If the person want to bear a sword on his person, he or she should not be insulted for that choice. Learn to respect the individuals choice or we are nothing better then socialist. Don't forget, the 2cd amendment applies to ARMS not a single type of ARM. Let promote the 2cd amendment, not only to handguns, but to all arms!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Drouin View Post
    Wow, another one that is there to pressure their own choice upon someone else is choice to bear what arms he or she wants, sad. If the person want to bear a sword on his person, he or she should not be insulted for that choice. Learn to respect the individuals choice or we are nothing better then socialist. Don't forget, the 2cd amendment applies to ARMS not a single type of ARM. Let promote the 2cd amendment, not only to handguns, but to all arms!
    That's all well and good, but the laws in PA only provide preemption for firearms. Laws pertaining to non-firearm weapons are murky, at best. If you had actually read my post, and not selected a few key words to fuel your idiotic rant, you would have seen that I wasn't trying to pressure someone else into anything. I was simply questioning the wisdom of someone carrying a sword without having any ability to use one properly. I actually do know how to use one, having studied iaijutsu and kenjutsu for years, as wel as other weapon and hand to hand disciplines. Besides learning in a controlled environment, I also have street experience with weapons, having had to use them in self defense. So I think I have at least a little insight into what's practical for self defense, as well as being somewhat versed in PA firearms/weapons laws. What the f*ck have you done to train, besides going to the range once in awhile to shoot at a stationary target, and reading posts on an internet forum?

    Carrying any weapon without knowing how to actually use it not only puts the public in danger, but the user themselves. Or would you like to see the OP sever his own tendons while drawing a ninja sword?

    In any case, I agree with Citizen, and think this was just a drive-by post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahwarrior72 View Post
    That's all well and good, but the laws in PA only provide preemption for firearms. Laws pertaining to non-firearm weapons are murky, at best. If you had actually read my post, and not selected a few key words to fuel your idiotic rant, you would have seen that I wasn't trying to pressure someone else into anything. I was simply questioning the wisdom of someone carrying a sword without having any ability to use one properly. I actually do know how to use one, having studied iaijutsu and kenjutsu for years, as wel as other weapon and hand to hand disciplines. Besides learning in a controlled environment, I also have street experience with weapons, having had to use them in self defense. So I think I have at least a little insight into what's practical for self defense, as well as being somewhat versed in PA firearms/weapons laws. What the f*ck have you done to train, besides going to the range once in awhile to shoot at a stationary target, and reading posts on an internet forum?

    Carrying any weapon without knowing how to actually use it not only puts the public in danger, but the user themselves. Or would you like to see the OP sever his own tendons while drawing a ninja sword?

    In any case, I agree with Citizen, and think this was just a drive-by post.
    Have you read your own post? I know that this all started with a few rude words from you, and in truth that pissed me off. It seem that you don't get what I am stating, I was simply explaining that we should defend and encourage others to bear their arms for self-defense or for public demonstration. I have not mock your abilities of how you trained with your weapons or even questioned it. Yet, instead you mock my time and ability to train with my firearm. This shows how indecent you are. Yes, you may be well trained and experience in "weapons", but you seem to not care about the personal choice for an beginner. Calling someone a "idiot" for something they want to peacefully exercise is an unnecessary and quite frankly rude. Don't even get me started when you stated "do yourself, and everyone else, a favor". Let leave it at that, since I have this "feeling" that you will not care about the message I was stating, but simply make a mockery of someone else for not having the ability that you had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Drouin View Post
    Have you read your own post? I know that this all started with a few rude words from you, and in truth that pissed me off. It seem that you don't get what I am stating, I was simply explaining that we should defend and encourage others to bear their arms for self-defense or for public demonstration. I have not mock your abilities of how you trained with your weapons or even questioned it. Yet, instead you mock my time and ability to train with my firearm. This shows how indecent you are. Yes, you may be well trained and experience in "weapons", but you seem to not care about the personal choice for an beginner. Calling someone a "idiot" for something they want to peacefully exercise is an unnecessary and quite frankly rude. Don't even get me started when you stated "do yourself, and everyone else, a favor". Let leave it at that, since I have this "feeling" that you will not care about the message I was stating, but simply make a mockery of someone else for not having the ability that you had.
    I read my own posts. I do that mostly when I'm typing them. Then I read them again, to check for typos, and to make sure my statement was clear. Apparently, you didn't read my first post. At no point was I being rude, or trying to "pressure" anyone out of carrying a sword or machete, for f*ck's sake. I asked what was the wisdom in carrying one, and I stated, pretty honestly, that carrying around a sword would make you look like an idiot. I'd love to carry a katana around town, but I'd look like a moron doing so, even if I could outdraw someone with a gun, cut them across their torso, and resheath the damn thing before they got a shot off. I never called the OP an idiot, only that he'd look like one. And I was being sincere when I told the OP to do himself a favor, not condescending. I wasn't bragging about my own abilities, simply stating that I have had some training with a sword, and understand the risks involved in using one better than others. I also have had extensive training with knives and other weapons, both in a controlled setting, and in actual defensive use, and offensive use. Please share with the class your own experiences with lethal weapons, so that we may take you more seriously.

    I'll say it again, since you missed it the first time around: carrying a weapon, any weapon, without proper training not only outs you in danger, but the general public in danger, as well. Should training be mandatory before being allowed to carry a gun in public? No, but it's good idea to get at least a little training. That goes for guns, swords, battle axes, light sabers, bat'leths, and Qualta blades. I wasn't mocking anyone before. As for my second post, I reiterate that your response was idiotic. You took what I posted out of context, either because you were unable to understand what I was trying to say, or you just refused to. In any case, you just ended up looking foolish, and therefore, worthy of mockery.

    Bearing arms should not be for "public demonstration", by the way. If you want to do that, carry around a sign or placard instead of a gun. Guns are weapons, not tools. I don't suscribe to the politically correct line of thought that tries to soften the image of the firearm as just a tool. It was designed to do one thing: to kill. Not fix a leaky sink, or put nails into wood. A knife is a tool. A hammer is a tool. These things can be used as weapons. A gun is only ever a weapon. It should be treated that way. I bear arms to protect myself, and my family, not to educate the public, or as a political device. If others want to do it, that's fine with me. I could give a $h!t what anyone else does.

    I never called anyone an idiot, anywhere in my previous posts. If you're going to quote me, at least have the decency to do so correctly. I said it would look idiotic to carry a sword, and that your post was idiotic. Now, you've changed things. Twice now, you've taken what I've posted out of context, and misquoted me. So now, I'm calling someone an idiot, and that would be you.

    Also, I think you need to learn what the word "indecent" actually means, since you used it in a sentence incorrectly.
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    Reading in a book I have..." The Traveler's Gun & Knife Law Book" By David Wong Esq. It say's that Dirks, Daggers, Stilettos, Automatics, and Balisongs are illegal in Pa.

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