Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The courts still have no idea what the hell is a "common pocketknife"

Confusion  On What the Hell is a "common pocketknife" -- continues:
copyright 2012 by jon gutmacher

What the hell is a common pocketknife?  Ask any ten people -- and get ten different answers.  Ask any of the judges on the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami -- you'll probably get a blank stare.

That's because . . .  they've managed to screw it up, again!

In F.R. v State,  37 Fla Law Weekly D508 (Fla.  3DCA 2012), they decided another common pocketknife case -- somehow got probably a correct result -- and definitely -- for almost all the wrong reasons.  Why?

Well . . .  the case was about a juvenile who brought a pocketknife to school -- with deliberate purpose to use it as a weapon.  That alone,  could take it out of the common pocketknife category -- if provable.  However,  the things that upset the Third District (with two exceptions) -- are things that are absolutely common -- and display a total lack of understanding (as usual) about anything resembling a weapon.  

First -- they mentioned it had a blade just shy of three inches!  Yeah?  So, what?   That's way below the four inch "presumed" length.  Next -- it had serrations along a portion of one side.   Yeah . . . that's for sawing -- not for defense or offense.  Common for cutting seat belts, rope, etc.  Then -- and this is almost unbelievable -- it "locks" in open position!   Damn!  I should hope so!  This has been a common feature for over twenty years so you don't get your fingers cut off!   Of course -- it also had a "curved grip".  Not sure why that's a big deal -- but the Third District thinks so.   They better not visit Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Wal-Mart, or any of the other major chains -- if they do -- they're gonna be in for one hell of a shock!  It had a "notched grip".  OK -- score one for the Third District!   First feature that might not be all that common.   Also -- there was testimony it could "seriously injure" a person!   Yeah . . . so can a ball point pen.  So what?    And (oh, goodness!) . . . it had a "long screw" that protruded from the handle which served as a makeshift hilt guard.  Since I have zero idea what the hell they're talking about here -- I'll also give this one to them.  So . . . score "two" for the Third District -- out of a possible seven.   . . .  I'm not sure . . . but when I was back in school (yeah . . . a very long time ago -- me and Ben Franklin) . . . that was considered an "F".

Now . . .  I'm not knocking the end result here -- but,  what I'm really trying to say is this:   Most judges don't have a clue about weapons.  They're probably lucky if they know which end of a steak knife to use at dinner, let alone anything about firearms, knives, or other weapons.  (possible exception here for the Second District Court of Appeal -- which is usually pretty damn smart)  So . . . if you wanna take the chance of carrying a "common pocketknife" around without a CWP -- or worse -- in a probable "prohibited area" -- chances are you're gonna have a rude awakening to how screwed up our judicial system can really be.

So -- just a word to the wise.   Be careful what you carry -- where you carry -- and get the damn CWP!