Knife Rights

More on Tuesday’s Connecticut Supreme Court Ruling – Volokh’s Take

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Eugene Volokh points out that the CT Supreme Court effectively codified tools like collapsible batons and double-edged dirks under the umbrella of the 2a.

For those of you unfamiliar with Prof. Eugene Volokh, he is a UCLA law professor, former purveyor of the blog Volokh Conspiracy, and now a regular columnist for the Washington Post. He writes and teaches from a right-libertarian perspective, focusing mainly on legal issues. The Blogfather frequently links to Volokh for interpretation of Supreme Court and other cases of Constitutional concern due to the clear and concise way he breaks down the legalese into understandable chunks.

I was secretly hoping that Instapundit would link to my post yesterday but I can hardly complain when an expert like Professor Volokh writes the piece that I wish I were capable of writing. I know that I did a pretty decent job of hitting the highlights, for a lay-person anyway. However, Volokh has excerpted a couple of relevant sections of the ruling which support the two issues that have the greatest relevance to knives and the Second Amendment. I will break down his piece below the jump, or you can read the whole thing.

 

The issue of transport, on which Mr. DeCiccio’s conviction was overturned is the point I made last night. Namely, that logic dictates that if an item is permissible then reasonable accommodation must be made for transporting said item between places of purchase and residence or between legal residences. In fact, the ruling highlights the State’s inability to deal with this connundrum:

Moreover, under § 29-38, it is unlawful for an ordinary citizen, like the defendant, to transport those weapons from the place of purchase to the purchaser’s home. As a consequence, the statute’s complete proscription against using a vehicle to transport the two protected weapons deprives their owner of any realistic opportunity either to bring them home after they have been purchased or to move them from one home to another. In fact, at oral argument before this court, the state acknowledged that, in light of that statutory prohibition, there may be no lawful means of doing either….

They also noted that the transport issue is addressed in firearms law when public carry is prohibited:

“The safe transportation of weapons protected by the second amendment is an essential corollary of the right to possess them in the home for self-defense when such transportation is necessary to effectuate that right. Conversely, in rejecting second amendment challenges to measures prohibiting the possession of handguns outside the home, courts have deemed it significant that those regulatory schemes contained provisions including, in addition to the right to possess handguns in the home, limited exceptions permitting the transportation of handguns between homes, or between home and dealer or repairer.”

There was another issue that Prof. Volokh highlighted from the decision that has wide ranging consequences for knives, in both CT and nationwide as State Supreme Court precedent is factored in the SCOTUS and in other states. Yesterday’s ruling effectively codified batons, knives, and potentially other items as falling under the umbrella of the Second Amendment:

“This widespread acceptance of batons within the law enforcement community also supports the conclusion that they are not so dangerous or unusual as to fall outside the purview of the second amendment. To this end, the fact that police batons are inherently less lethal, and therefore less dangerous and less intrinsically harmful, than handguns, which clearly constitute “arms” within the meaning of the second amendment, provides further reason to conclude that they are entitled to constitutional protection. Cf. People v. Yanna, supra, 297 Mich. App. 145 (“[T]he prosecution also argues that Tasers and stun guns are so dangerous that they are not protected by the [s]econd [a]mendment. However, it is difficult to see how this is so since Heller concluded that handguns are not sufficiently dangerous to be banned. Tasers and stun guns, while plainly dangerous, are substantially less dangerous than handguns. Therefore, [T]asers and stun guns do not constitute dangerous weapons for purposes of [s]econd [a]mendment inquiries.”); D. Kopel et al., supra, 47 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 184 (“[K]nives are far less dangerous than guns. Any public safety justification for knife regulation is necessarily less persuasive than the public safety justification for firearms regulation.”).

Indeed, expandable batons are intermediate force devices that, when used as intended, are unlikely to cause death or permanent bodily injury. For these reasons, we are persuaded that the police baton that the defendant had in his vehicle is the kind of weapon traditionally used by the state for public safety purposes and is neither so dangerous nor so unusual as to fall outside the purview of the second amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.”

That last sentence is tremendous for those living in the state of Connecticut. David Kopel would be proud.

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