Knife Rights in Georgia

The Georgia Legislature is in session. Our friends at Knife Rights are seeking support for a Senate Bill that would alter the definition of a "knife" in Georgia. I'm not sure it's a good idea, though I completely support the right to carry knives of any kind.

SB 49 would change the definition of a knife, for the purposes of a carry permit, from "a cutting instrument designed for the purposes of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than five inches" to "a pointed or sharp-edged instrument consisting of a blade that is greater than 12 inches," with both of them specifying that such a blade has to be attached to a handle. (Is a hatchet now a "knife"? Only if its blade is greater than 12 inches, I suppose. Perhaps an axe is.) There are no laws restricting the carrying of a "knife" per se; rather, a further definition is that a "weapon" means a "knife or handgun," and the law restricts the carrying of a "weapon."

Now, read the code section where this definition would apply.
(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.

(c) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.

(d) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.

(e) Any person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that such licensee shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state.

(f) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.

(g) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law.

(h) (1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless he or she meets one of the exceptions to having such license as provided in subsections (a) through (g) of this Code section.

(2) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon without a license when he or she violates the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
It sounds to me as if the Senate Bill in question narrows the protections of the weapons carry license rather than expands them. As the law stands, with my weapons carry license I can carry a Kabar (8" blade) and it's covered. Under the proposed revision, a Kabar wouldn't be considered a knife. While that is (a) absurd in itself, (b) that means my carry license no longer explicitly licenses me to carry it.

I think the argument is that this would simply eliminate any standard by which knives shorter than 12 inches are barred from being carried. However, it seems to me it would also remove the clarity that the knife I am carrying is specifically authorized by our laws.


raven said...

I probably mentioned the WA supreme court upholding a conviction for carrying a dangerous weapon (3" paring knife) while simultaneously declaring the knife insufficiently dangerous to qualify as an "arm", invalidating the defendants claim to second amendment protections.

This endless parsing of the descriptive minutia of objects is insane. So many if and's or buts it is impossible for an average person to follow them.
I really don't care if someone is packing a beltfed machine gun, as long as they are not attacking someone with it. And if they are, the penalty should be exactly the same as someone who attacks with any other weapon- the action is what we need law for, not the object.
This obsession with malum prohibitum (did I use that correctly?) is nuts.
WA state is now deciding whether to make half the occupants outlaws with California style gun bans. My conviction is the guns are not the object at all- if most conservatives drove red corvettes, they would try to outlaw those instead. I believe they are using gun laws , instead of taxation, to enact a Curley Effect, to drive away potential opposition voters.

Grim said...

Yeah, that's similar to my way of thinking. If the law was "no one shall carry a knife over 5 inches," then I'd be happy to change it to say "...over 12 inches" if that was the best we could get. But the law specifically says that this knife is covered for weapons carry purposes. I'm not sure I like the idea of trading that away.

MikeD said...

Well, in my case, my preferred blade is over 30" in length, so can I legally carry or not in Georgia?

Grim said...

A very excellent question. I also own several swords, and have in the past ridden with one strapped to my motorcycle. I frequently carry a machete in my truck, both for working around the property and 'just in case.'

Legal? I don't know. A machete is not necessarily 'designed for the purpose of offense and defense,' so it might not be covered -- meaning it's presumed legal, since it's not a weapon? A sword certainly is designed for offense and defense, so it presumably is covered -- but it fits the definition of a 'knife,' even though of course a sword is not a knife if you really understand the manufacture and function of the thing.

Ymar Sakar said...

I told people to stop saying I have weapons, instead tell the FBI that I have cultural icons and collections, and things used for gardening.

That was always a good habit even back to 2008.