|Biker with a Badge|
Last month I wrote about Florida’s Concealed Firearm Law. This month I will touch on the Concealed Weapon Law, which is different. The weapons law covers things other than a firearm. What always tends to freak people out is when that “Daniel Boone” type that shows up wearing a huge Bowie knife strapped to his leg. [You never know when a bear could show up at a bike show] Remember, we are discussing concealed weapons.
Under Florida State Law, 790.001 “Definitions; “Weapon” means any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slingshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife.” Therefore, a common pocket knife is not considered a weapon. [By the way, a “dirk” is basically a cut down sword.]
Pulling a knife on a person could get you charged with a felony. In addition, 790.10 reads: Improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms.—If any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Last month I gave the example of someone displaying a gun in their car during a road rage incident to let the another guy know your armed. Like I said, you now may have crossed over from being the victim of that road rage to being the aggressor. With that said, don’t be showing off your weapon in some macho, made for TV manner. “Oh yeah, well if that dude talked to me like that, (whipping your Bowie Knife out and waving it around) I’d stick’em in his gut!” That could very well qualify as a rude, careless or threatening manner and a trip to the grey-bar hotel. In addition, law enforcement treats the knife with great concern. If fact, it can fall into the “Deadly Force” area. Statistical information and training has shown that a knife welding assailant can lunge from 21 feet and stab or slice a victim. Law enforcement can consider you threat and will draw weapons. If you’re lucky you may get tazed. If you charge the officer you can expect a far more painful response.
So, can you legally carry a pocket knife in your pocket? The answer is, yes, as long as you must manually open it and it is not used to do harm. A knife that can actually propel a blade from its case, also known as a ballistic knife, is illegal in the State of Florida, fs790.225. The often asked question is “what about a switchblade” or similar type of mechanical opening knife. Well, they are legal and that’s why you see them for sale at every bike show you go to. If you’re working on something with one hand and you need to cut a wire, it sure does help to have a mechanical opening blade. Again, it all boils down to the intent of the usage of the said “knife”. Carrying it in a case on your belt at work is a different situation from you having it in your boot. I have carried a pocket knife for most of my life and never did I have it for the idea of it being a weapon. When I was a kid, I did get a hold of a switchblade, and I could say then I had a knife for a weapon…or more likely to be cool. (I was living overseas at the time) Mind you I never used it as a weapon, but it was running through my feeble-pointed-head that I was a bad-ass with a switchblade. Somewhere I’m sure that is on someone’s tombstone. Arming yourself can give you a false sense of power, and without the proper education, mental and physical training, it can be opening a Pandora’s Box of trouble. For the majority of you, carrying a simple pocket knife is a no-brainer. You have it for all the right reasons; to cut a wire…to open a package…to cut something, not someone.
As it should be.