So a knife shop blog posted the tale (originally mentioned in a local newspaper story) of a a guy who stopped at a standard DUI checkpoint and was arrested for possessing a pocketknife. According to the (definitely not unbiased, mind you) knife shop blog, the guy wasn’t drunk and was on his way home from a remodeling project. You can read all the various rhetoric for yourself.
As the original newspaper story author points out (and the blog cites):
The fact is that the laws about carrying a pocketknife in New Jersey are so vague that they defy reason. The section in the state Code of Criminal Justice that talks about knives is brief and open to interpretation. While outlawing some knives outright — like gravity knives, switchblades, daggers and stilettos — the law never specifies what is legal.
Which seems to be true. But the next paragraph goes on to lay out some of the guidelines:
- “a person under 18 can’t own a knife with a blade longer than five inches”
- “the law can’t be used to prevent a person from transporting a knife for the purpose of hunting and fishing”
- and “any person carrying a knife for ‘unlawful’ purposes is guilty of a crime in the third degree”
So it’s a tricky deal. While it seems pretty unlikely that you’d find yourself up on charges for carrying a small knife or multitool, you’d be up the creek if you assaulted someone with it. And there’s certainly a lot of room for interpretation.
What’s all that mean to us? Well, those of you who’ve read Toolmonger for any period of time know that we’re advocates of pocketknives. You’ll also know that we’re not big fans of folks carrying big-ass knives or K-bars around offices and schools where they’re not only inappropriate; they’re not needed. So our takeaway from this is that you’re probably okay if you’re carrying something that wouldn’t seem inappropriate for the boardroom. If you’re on your way back from a camping trip, you might want to pack your monster knives away for the trip, or at least be prepared to explain them. And regardless, you probably don’t want to mouth off and generally be an asshole to officers of the law, as the ass you keep out of jail might be your own.
Here’s Your Boy Scout Knife, And Here Are The Handcuffs [Examiner]
New Jersey Knife Laws Make Pocket Knives Illegal [Cutting Edge]