How well do you know your local weapons laws?

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How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Mr. Tower on Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:20 am

Recently a steampunk friend posted on facebook his wish that you could apply for a carry permit for swords so that he could carry his Rapier in public.

This shocked me because he lives in the same state that I do which is one of the many US states that allows open carry (non concealed) of any weapon, in an public area besides schools, banks, and bars. It amazed me that someone could live here their whole life and assume that a law existed that has in fact never existed at any point in the states history. I actually had to look up the law and post it in order for him to believe me. Even a sword cane can be carried perfectly legally if one acquires a concealed weapons permit. (Available for any non felon for $50) Whats more, the permit is only needed inside certain city limits and in over 95% of the state is not even needed at all

What was interesting is that in doing this I actually learned things that I didn't know about the laws. For instance, in my state it is not only legal to carry a weapon but to inform others that you have it, and to draw it and use the threat of violence to detain them until law enforcement arrives.

Since this incident I have been talking other friends, both steampunk and SCA who all assumed that there was some type of legal reason preventing them from carrying their period weapons, mostly swords in public.

So how well do you know your laws? Do you carry? and if not, is it because of a law or other reasons? and is it a law that actually exists or is it something that you have been told or assume exists?
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Herkimer on Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:11 am


Mr Tower, it has been my experience, that weapons laws are the least well known by the common man in any locale. I've even been given some serious misinformation by the local police department. I've maintained a CCDW in my home state for a decade now, yet folks will often argue with me on the subject. "Well, Herkimer, my wife's best friend from college, takes her dog to a pet groomer, who dates this dentist, who's daughter's married to a policeman. HE said that you can't carry a gun in your car unless it's ground to a fine powder, and you have to dress up like a native American and do a rain dance in a counterclockwise direction, on a Thursday in April during a solar eclipse before you can reach it..." I then refer them to the Kentucky revised statues, and the Ky State police website regarding CCDW and open carry. Most of the time people are interested once they realize I know what I'm talking about, but I still get more than my fair share of blank stares for my trouble.

My wife, has finally decided that she is going to go get her permit, soon, and I plan to take the class with her, just to freshen up a bit. Also there has been some slight relaxing of the rules a bit here in the last decade, and I'd like to get some clarification concerning them.



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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  The Lady Branwyn on Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:59 pm

I'm fortunate enough to have been raised by a father who is fairly knowledgeable about weapons laws, so while I have never been super well researched on the subject, I've at least avoided the most egregious of the common misconceptions (such as believing that it's illegal to open carry a sword down the street).

A while ago I spent some time reading up on open carry laws and lurking in a couple of open carry forums. From what I read, it sounded like the most difficult part of the practice, by far, is dealing with all the people who are utterly convinced you are doing something illegal. People confront you, call the cops on you, the cops confront you... you show them the various legal printouts you have to always carry with you, they are dubious, you point them toward the most pertinent passages... they tell you just to go put it away and not to carry it into the cafe anymore. You sigh, finish your coffee and go on to your next destination, and the process repeats.

As much as I believe, strongly, in the importance of individual citizens to be able to own, use, and openly carry weapons, I have thus far been unwilling to actually jump into that fiasco myself.
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Mr. Tower on Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:05 pm

My wife, has finally decided that she is going to go get her permit, soon, and I plan to take the class with her, just to freshen up a bit

I've taken a CCW class three times, once as a newbie and twice more to assist friends who where nervous about doing it alone. I enjoyed it every time and it is indeed good to freshen up.
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Lady Evelyn Grey on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:36 am

I seem to be in the minority of members of this forum insofar as I not only know nothing about my local weapon laws, but I don't even know where one goes to find out. How did everyone research the laws?

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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  W. S. Marble on Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:58 pm

A good starting point is the state government's own webpage, usually under either Permits or State Attorney General. If that site is not up to par, a google search for "(your state) gun laws" should yield a number of good answers. And welcome to this site, Lady Grey!
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Herkimer on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:15 pm

Lady Evelyn Grey wrote:I seem to be in the minority of members of this forum insofar as I not only know nothing about my local weapon laws, but I don't even know where one goes to find out. How did everyone research the laws?

There are a number of websites devoted to distributing this information. If you google your state along with CCW or CCDW permits, I'm sure you'll find some organization. I know the Kentucky State Police website hosts that information, and links to similar websites in many other states. Failing that, tell us what state you are from and I'll see what I can dig up for you.

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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Lady Evelyn Grey on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:22 pm

Thank you Mr. Herkimer, that is a very kind offer.

I'm in Massachusetts where apparently I need a permit to purchase, possess and use pepper spray and mace in this state. Is that common in other states?

Also, is Massachusetts heavily regulated compared to other states, because there's an abundance of regulations for every possible firearm. Granted, I can't quite parse what most of the different firearms are yet.

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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Mr. Tower on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:38 pm

I'm in Massachusetts where apparently I need a permit to purchase, possess and use pepper spray and mace in this state. Is that common in other states?

Its not unheard of. You don't need a permit here in Montana but you do in many places.

Laws really vary a lot. For instance, in Texas, which most people consider to be the wild west when it comes to gun laws, its not legal to open carry, you can't even get a license to do it.

And oddly, in some places its easier to carry a gun that it is a sword or crossbow.

Here is a link to a wiki article on gun laws in Massachusetts which is a good place to start. Unfortunately it doesn't say anything about swords or knives here.

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

In general, it appears that your state is fairly restrictive when it comes to guns but from the most restrictive. However, it should be noted that in many places period weapons such as muzzle loaders are not considered to be actual firearms for the purposes of law. For instance at the federal level it is legal to order them through the mail and you do not need a background check to buy them. Despite this 'loophole' I don't believe that i know of any cases of a felon using a muzzle loader.

The sad truth is that most gun laws have nothing to do with the relative deadliness of a weapon but have more to do with its popularity or the 'scariness' of its features. For instance in the 1994 assault weapons ban one prohibited feature was a bayonet mount, as if any crime had every been committed by a perpetrator armed with an affixed bayonet. Well, excepting possible war crimes...

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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Mr. Tower on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:57 pm

Yikes! I found your knife laws: http://pweb.netcom.com/~brlevine/ma.txt


Looks like you can't legally carry anything over 2 1/2" unless actively engaged in hunting, fishing or culinary activities.

Good to know in case I ever visit. I don't think I even own a knife with a blade under 2 1/2"

In montana there is no limit to open carry knives, concealed must be under 4" without a permit.

Guess no swords for you guys Sad
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Lady Evelyn Grey on Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:20 pm

That.... was an absolutely amazing list. A glorious list. I never knew there were so many types of knives! Much less all the other weaponry.

Now, my legaleeze is sorely lacking. Am I not allowed to carry any of those at all? Or is it only if I am arrested while carrying one of these that I have to worry about five years in jail?

Sigh, one more reason to go back to Montana or further west.

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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Mr. Tower on Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:25 am

Now, my legaleeze is sorely lacking. Am I not allowed to carry any of those at all? Or is it only if I am arrested while carrying one of these that I have to worry about five years in jail?

Yeah, its a little complicated, as such things often are, and from looking at some forum posts about MA knife laws you aren't the only one who is confused.

I think you are okay to have single edged fixed knife of any length, as long as you are not in Boston itself where the 2 1/2" rule seems to apply.

As someone pointed out in another forum, the MA knife laws are just one big run on sentence which makes it hard to understand exactly what is being prohibited. At first glance it looks like everything.

You may have to ask someone more local.

One of the great things about MT is that we have a bill that specifically states all the weapons laws in one place and instead of telling you what you can't have (as most laws do) it tells you what you can have and what you can do with it.

http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billpdf/HB0228.pdf

Its actually very readable as such things go.
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Re: How well do you know your local weapons laws?

Post  Herkimer on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:19 pm


Since someone else provided the info you required, I will not duplicate that effort. I will however note that my CCDW is not honored in MA. In fact I could face jail time, for taking the wrong exit, and venturing 1/10th mile into MA, while having a legally owned weapon in my car. More than I would risk if I were to actually mug someone. I would encourage you to get an opinion from a good lawyer before you try carrying anything more threatening than a spork. To do otherwise is to risk being arrested and locked in a cage with real criminals.

Here in Ky, open carry is legal without a license, whether it is a sword or a gun doesn't matter. Any knife with a blade under 4" is legal to conceal. I carry a vintage 4" Ka-bar on my belt daily. Concealed weapons permits are available to any resident with a clean background check, who can pass the training course. Violent crime still occurs here, but it is much less prevalent than in MA, even allowing for population density.



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