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Danarchy

The legality of carrying weapons [split]

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Belial said:

What kristus said. Your country must have a really shitty police force.


Then these guys' country (USA) must have a shitty police force too.

Quoting from The Persecuted Warrior class:

One example of such a grossly unfair law directed at the warrior class is the "Sullivan Act" of New York ... (snip)... Under this Act, anything which could possibly be used as a weapon (including walking sticks, tools, athletic equipment, and even heavy boots) becomes a prohibited "dangerous instrument." If a policeman feels that said instrument is possessed "with intent to use it unlawfully against another," the instrument will be confiscated and the individual formally charged with "Criminal Possession of a Weapon."


So there.

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One example of such a grossly unfair law directed at the warrior class is the "Sullivan Act" of New York (which was originally passed long ago with the stated intent of "fighting organized crime."...)

Lifting quotes from a site dedicated to violent, clannish, leather-clad drug peddlers doesn't necessarily prove your point.

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GreyGhost said:

Lifting quotes from a site dedicated to violent, clannish, leather-clad drug peddlers doesn't necessarily prove your point.


Please stick to the facts. Does said act do what they said it does? If yes, then where it's published and by whom doesn't matter, right?

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Where and by whom does matter if the publisher has an axe to grind.

OK. The facts - according to Wikipedia...

Upon first passage, the Sullivan Act required licenses for New Yorkers to possess firearms small enough to be concealed. Possession of such firearms without a license was a misdemeanor, carrying them was a felony. The possession or carrying of weapons such as brass knuckles, sandbags, blackjacks, bludgeons or bombs was a felony, as was possessing or carrying a dagger, "dangerous knife" or razor "with intent to use the same unlawfully". Named for its primary legislative sponsor, state senator Timothy Sullivan, a notoriously corrupt Tammany Hall politician, it dates to 1911, and is still in force, making it one of the older existing gun control laws in the United States.

Sponsor "Big Tim" Sullivan reputedly desired the law so that his criminal cohorts could go about their activities unimpeded by citizens defending themselves with concealed handguns.

Stuff like "walking sticks, tools, athletic equipment, and even heavy boots" don't normally fit into the concealable category, though I suppose you could stash a few of them into a hollowed-out empathy belly and hide the rest under a large poncho.

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Maes said:

Then these guys' country (USA) must have a shitty police force too.

So there? So what. Who cares if the US police force is a bunch of bullying bastards. That's their problem, not mine.

Were you expecting me to disagree that the US law enforcement system is ridiculous, especially with the Patriot Act in place?

Righteous Warrior Temple? I can't take that site seriously, even if their skewed view of the world happens to be accurate in some places.

Like I said, such nonsense wouldn't fly in Poland. I could cite plenty of examples of police incompetence, some even causing deaths among innocent people, but I'd have to dig really deep to name one where malicious intent was the reason. A recent example, some cops fucked up an intervention at a bazaar so badly, that one of them had his gun taken from him. The man who grabbed the gun was then shot and bled to death. Now some protesters are accusing the police of racism because the dead guy was Nigerian. What was supposed to be a simple search for illegal goods is now a shitstorm in the media.

OT, the vids that I've seen on BBC and Euronews up till now show that what the Israeli spokeswoman said in the early hours after the incident was mostly accurate, which IMO doesn't shift the blame in any way from the Israeli military.

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Mr. T said:

the media would be celebrating them as heroes for sticking it to pirates, which the Israelis are by any sane legal definition.


Dunno...do they Somali Pirates classify as combatants under the Geneva Conventions?

To be classified as such you need to meet the following conditions (yeah, it's wiki copypasta):

  • That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
  • That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
  • That of carrying arms openly;
  • That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Under that sense, the Israelis are better off legally, as perverse as it may sound, even without the covert diplomatic backing of the U.S.

Belial said:

So there? So what. Who cares if the US police force is a bunch of bullying bastards. That's their problem, not mine.


I've so far seen this same pattern (the results of a search, consentful or not being blown out of proportion) to be a common tactic of the police forces of the following countries: UK, USA, Greece, Italy (the latter two I lived in for significant amount of time, and still living in Greece). Hell, there have even been pre-emptive arrests of people who liked talking too much about guns and ammunitions in the wrong place.

If you have a counter-example where as a result of a search potentially dangerous objects were NOT confiscated/used as an aggravant, by all means, illustrate.

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Do throwing darts, a swiss-army knife and a butterfly knife count?

That's what me and a friend of mine had on us when we were grabbed for minor vandalism while drunk.

An hour later I was back home. I still have the darts and the swiss-army knife. The personal protection argument was enough for my friend to keep his balisong.

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Belial said:

Do throwing darts, a swiss-army knife and a butterfly knife count?


Absolutely.

Belial said:

That's what me and a friend of mine had on us when we were grabbed for minor vandalism while drunk.

An hour later I was back home. I still have the darts and the swiss-army knife.


I know of no jurisdiction that would allow legally carrying a butterfly knife or a switchblade, even if the blade was of equal length with the army knife. Carrying a multi-purpose tool with a knife is generally permitted, but circumstances and type of knife play a major role.

E.g. if you were picking mushrooms on a hill and had a swiss army knife to cut them clean off their stems, that would be a reasonable use in an appropriate place, and a policeman would be a real asshole to give you hell for that. However he would be less of an asshole if the knife was a balisong...or a dagger...or spetznaz spade....or a bayonet...or a switchblade. These are all classed as "weapons only" rather than utility knives, and it's not justified keeping them on you even outside a city.

If however you carried the very same swiss army knife near a riot where the shit had already hit the fan (such as those in Greece :-( ) and you stood in the wrong place at the wrong time, then that knife would become an aggravating element on your behalf, especially if you resisted arrest (that includes simply turning in the opposite direction, if you've been intimated to halt).

The police are known to "hide" weapons on randomly apprehended bystanders during riots (usually they throw some stones and knives in their bags) so they have legal grounds for pressing charges, if you were carrying the weapons yourself you just make them a big "favor".

For items such as knuckle dusters, weighted gloves, nunchakus, shurikens etc. there is no legally justified use, and you would be surely arrested even for having them in your home without a weapons license (and for some, like knuckle dusters, there is no legal weapon license or legitimate use area unlike e.g. a kitchen knife).

Belial said:

The personal protection argument was enough for my friend to keep his balisong.


Well, that wouldn't fly here. Unauthorized/illegal type of knife and a self-incriminating statement (intention to use it to harm a would-be attacker, statement of intending to self-administer justice in front of a police officer etc.) If that story is true, then you're very lucky or you forgot some detail like e.g. the police officer was your cousin or something :-p

To be quite honest, I was once apprehended by plainclothes detectives for walking around my neighborhood with a black air rifle with an add-on scope. However the rifle was legally registered and there were no complains about me (they just happened to see me) so nothing happened, expect giving some pellets to the policemen and letting them shoot...but if I was carrying that same rifle near a riot, I would probably be shot on sight and/or beaten down with the supposed billyclub of "justice".

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Brass knuckles, nunchucks, switchblades (to use a precise quote, 'hidden blades') and baseball bats are illegal. Balisongs are not. All knives are legal regardless of blade length, as long as they're not, for instance, a sword hidden in a walking stick. Yes, you can walk around with a machete or a full length katana if you don't mind drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

I should try running around with my scythe for a while, see what would happen then :P

If you need a different example, there are lots of people living in the country who dig up WWII duds and take them apart. When they are caught in posession of explosives, they usually only get charged with endangering the lives of others. In some rare cases when there's a well founded suspicion they might get charged with supplying explosives to gangs. Following your examples they would probably be instantly labeled as terrorists.

As for planting 'hardware' on rioters, that's only likely to happen during football hooligan riots AFAIK. Once again, shit like that just wouldn't fly if they tried it on protesting miners or shipyard workers.

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Belial said:

All knives are legal regardless of blade length, as long as they're not, for instance, a sword hidden in a walking stick.


That's one major difference with many national laws of EU countries (though not of a common EU directive): blade length is limited to something like 10 cm to begin with. The only exception are large kitchen knives (which again, are only legal inside a kitchen, or, I hope, in their box when just purchased). Especially the UK is now hardening its stance on blades because of many knifing incidents.

If in Poland there's indeed no law that sanctions a maximum blade length before you step into licensed/illegal/improper weapon territory, then that's really an oddity (or simply the legislation just doesn't have specifics). OTOH, in Italy and Greece there are very restrictive weapon laws in place, due to historical reasons (e.g. Italy strictened theirs during the "Lead years", Greece still has prohibitions dating back to the post-WWII Civil War and the Junta!

Then again as you said...

Belial said:

Yes, you can walk around with a machete or a full length katana if you don't mind drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.


The attention of "concerned citizens" which will then call the police and tell then there's an armed and dangerous guy prowling around surely you don't want.

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Uh, switchblades are quite legal in the US. At least here in Washington state. I've got several, and know other people who carry them on their person.

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Danarchy said:

Uh, switchblades are quite legal in the US. At least here in Washington state.


Are you sure? You could be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Also, there seems to be a very uneven division of switchblade laws for the whole of the US. In Europe you can generally expect weapon possession laws to be much more restrictive, at least in Western and Southern Europe.

I was surprised by Belial statements (if true), but maybe former communist bloc countries have a quite different legislation or just are full of grey areas on the matter.

Danarchy said:

I've got several, and know other people who carry them on their person.


Well, a crime is not a crime unless they catch you and there's a corpse, right? In practice it's MUCH better not to have these on you if a policeman starts frisking your butt for whatever reason.

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Those are illegal here too. I'm not sure why. The guys here who want to hurt somebody just do it anyway. Anti-knife laws seem like DRM; they only stop the people who aren't out for a fight.

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Aliotroph? said:

Those are illegal here too. I'm not sure why. The guys here who want to hurt somebody just do it anyway. Anti-knife laws seem like DRM; they only stop the people who aren't out for a fight.


In Greece there's a historical explanation for strict weapon laws (they even outlawed rifled firearms, so hunters can only use smoothbore shotguns, even to hunt wild boars!!!): most were put in place during the Civil War (late 40s-50s) and the Junta (1967-1974) to give the state-armed fascist thugs and political police a "legitimate" reason to arrest left-wing dissidents, potential sympathizers, "commies" etc.

Those times came and went, but the restrictions were never levied.

Italy had placed similar laws in place during the Years of Lead. Again, those time came and went, the laws were never levied or softened.

And yeah, each new wave of moral panic just makes them even stricter. Don't forget that in Europe no country ever had something akin to the U.S. Second Amendment: bearing arms was traditionally a privilege of the ruling class and the armed forces that protected their interests/their power, while arms in the hands of the people were always seen as dangerous.

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Canada has been lucky to escape civil wars and paranoid dictators. Well, we had a sort of civil war once. The guy who started that (and was hanged) is now a national hero. Go figure. We also have our share of domestic terrorists.

So we can own to a certain extent all kinds of weapons (assault rifles included, but no automatic stuff), but you're never allowed to defend yourself. Pull out your gun and use it to shoot down the guy who attacks you and you're going to jail too. WTF Moral panics are frustratingly insidious.

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Aliotroph? said:

So we can own to a certain extent all kinds of weapons (assault rifles included, but no automatic stuff), but you're never allowed to defend yourself. Pull out your gun and use it to shoot down the guy who attacks you and you're going to jail too. WTF Moral panics are frustratingly insidious.


AFAIK no country/state has a clear-cut law for the case that you actually have to use your weapon, even if legitimately owned.

Many countries differentiate e.g. between "collector", "hunting", "sporting" and "self-defense" weapon carries, with the latter being the most difficult to obtain (they are only issued regularly to policemen and certain members of the armed forces, obtaining one as a private citizen is next to impossible/needs too much oil in the gears). The latter type of license is the only one that would enable you to use it for self-defense. In all other cases, the very first charge you'd face by using them is "Use of a weapon for alleged self-defense purposes without a proper self-defense license". Which also means that the right to defend yourself with a weapon is NOT automatic, and that defending yourself is not a given: the burden of proof lies (pun intended) with the defendant.

As for using it for actual self-defense, it depends: most laws say that you are authorized to "defend" yourself and "incapacitate" an attacker, but doesn't specify the obvious, aka how much damage you're allowed to inflict ("response proportionate to the threat"). But let's say that giving someone a shotgun mouthwash because he threatened you with a screwdriver wouldn't be considered proportionate. Shooting one in the leg would still leave you open to "severe bodily damage" charges. No court would say "You shot the bad criminal, well done! One scumbag less! Here's a medal and keep up the good work!" and let you walk away with it.

Who pulls the trigger also plays a major role: if Dirty Harry movies were to be believed, a cop could literally mincemeat a suspect and get away with it/just file an incident report and then hit the roads again for more targets. In reality they can shoot someone with no ill legal repercussions for themselves, or just with administrative ones. If someone can shoot legally with relative impunity in modern Western societies, these are cops. They are also the only members of the armed forces that are allowed to carry loaded handguns among the general populace (most members of the Army, Air Force etc. are not equally entitled).

A shop owner shooting a robber will OTOH have hell in court, will have his weapon confiscated (and likely never returned), will be charged with manslaughter, voluntary homicide, etc. and even if (after a long, costly and painful legal tribulation, probably in pre-incarceration regime) it is proven that yes, he was in legitimate self-defense, courts tend not to glorify self-justice and he would still receive some form of punishment. The very least, he would have to pay a fine, be sentenced to 3 years on parole, and of course be rendered weaponless (and open to retaliation attacks by the robber's gang members/relatives).

What complicates matters most is that in countries where there is no Common Law (pretty much anywhere outside of the UK/US and former colonies) there is no "previous similar cases" concept: each case must be examined and negotiated from the ground up, which of course means uneven and prolonged legal proceedings.

As to those who view self-administered justice and vigilantism as "fascist": Mussolini's actual fascist state punished self-administered justice equally if not as hard as the crime which provoked it. The concept behind this was that the citizen must NOT have any sort of autonomy and self-management, and that EVERYTHING was exclusively the state's business.

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Maes said:

I was surprised by Belial statements (if true), but maybe former communist bloc countries have a quite different legislation or just are full of grey areas on the matter.

I can quote legislation if you wish.

Without going into specifics, stuff that is under govt. control that is forbidden or requires a permit:

a) firearms
b) air guns
c) gas, mace, pepper spray
d) melee and other weapons: hidden blades, brass knuckles, nunchucks, heavy clubs, baseball bats, crossbows, various weapons based on electric shocks.

That is all.

No regulations whatsoever concerning knives and other blades.

I also found examples of specific court decisions listing what can't be considered a weapon in any case:

a) telescopic batons
b) glass bottles which are intact
c) walking sticks
d) wrenches
e) hammers
f) heavy, steel-tipped boots

There are some other examples where various sharp, heavy or otherwise dangerous objects are mentioned, but they are clearly described as weapons only if they were used as one. As long as you're not waving that machete in front of someone's face, you're clean.

Blade length was limited to 15 cm up until 1992.

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Belial said:

d) melee and other weapons: hidden blades, brass knuckles, nunchucks, heavy clubs, baseball bats, crossbows, various weapons based on electric shocks.

...

No regulations whatsoever concerning knives and other blades.


Sounds weird. Again without the specific in hands, the way you phrased it sounds like either:

  1. Concealed carry of all these items is restricted (that "hidden" at the beginning), but not open carry.
  2. Only concealed carry of blades is restricted, and all the other items are restricted anyway.
So what, this means that you need a license to have a baseball bat? Do you need to prove you're a baseball player for that? Does it mean that as long as you're not hiding a blade (well...better yet not having one at all on you during a police check), you are OK? What if you openly flaunt it instead? (well you answered that last bit in your post, so it's more of a rhethoric question)

Probably it's all much simpler than that, and I don't believe that any policeman in any western or westernized country would turn a blind eye to someone going around with a big kitchen knife, concealed on his person, sheathed in a visible sheath or even indirectly accessible, in a bag. Unless we're talking about Gurkhas going around with their traditional knives or something.

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Maes said:

Are you sure? You could be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

It seems to define a switchblade as something with a spring-activated blade. All the ones I've seen were manual open (you can still get them open pretty fast, though).

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Maes said:

Sounds weird. Again without the specific in hands, the way you phrased it sounds like either:

  1. Concealed carry of all these items is restricted (that "hidden" at the beginning), but not open carry.
  2. Only concealed carry of blades is restricted, and all the other items are restricted anyway.

I thought I already explained what the term 'hidden blade' means. Would 'blade concealed in/disguised as another item' finally be clear enough?

How you carry them is irrelevant, there are no terms or concepts such as concealed or open carry in our system. Not on the list => legal to possess and use in all ways that don't constitute a crime.

Permits are needed for a, b, c. D is a mixed bag.

So what, this means that you need a license to have a baseball bat? Do you need to prove you're a baseball player for that?

Baseball bats are illegal unless you can prove you use them for sports, all because of their popularity among muggers in the early 90s.

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Belial said:

I thought I already explained what the term 'hidden blade' means. Would 'blade concealed in/disguised as another item' finally be clear enough?

How you carry them is irrelevant, there are no terms or concepts such as concealed or open carry in our system.


That's really a first, I must admit :-S

I know from the Italian and Greek laws (I had to get acquainted with the Italian one because I has a membership in a shooting range, and with the Greek one because I was interested in a special Police position) that certain kinds of bladed weapons like e.g. umbrella "swords" are considered "concealed deadly weapons" and are subject to regulation (it's possible, though unpractical to obtain a license for them). These legislations however go out of their way to class as "concealed blades" even a switchblade (classed as a "weapon of aggression" in your pocket as such.

In the USA there's a distinction between open and concealed carry (varies within states, with the tendency being that concealed is more tolerated), while in Europe practically only Policemen ever display open carry.

In any case, the bottom line is that most legislations are not weapon-friendly for the average citizen (even in the USA) and many policemen would just cum in their pants just for getting the chance to nail down someone -anyone- for weapon possession. Especially if he/she is NOT a thug who may make threats/retaliate in cold blood some other day.

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Bank said:

This discussion is hardly about the matter at hand.


Yup...splitting would be appropriate as I feel others would like to chime in this interesting but OT branch.

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Ahh, forums: where for some reason people give a shit about whether stuff is OT.

One strange thing I noticed about weapons was the customs form when I entered Japan. It asked whether I was bringing swords! Why do they get all bent out of shape about swords? It also asked about porn, which I thought was hilarious.

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Aliotroph? said:

Ahh, forums: where for some reason people give a shit about whether stuff is OT.


Well, 25 posts after even I give a shit :-p And that's saying a lot.

Aliotroph? said:

It asked whether I was bringing swords! Why do they get all bent out of shape about swords?


Actually, they were worried about your gaijin swords being bent out of shape, you dirty gaijin. How very dare you insult their very honorable anchestors' swords with your straight, crude, western contratption you dare call a "sword"? Go back to gaijinland!!!

Aliotroph? said:

It also asked about porn, which I thought was hilarious.


You wouldn't find it as hilarious after they saw the pubic hair. You better have 100% epilated pr0n in there, mayte.

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