Irresponsible Knife Owner Of The Day: William Gurley.

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Are sword canes ‘Steampunk’ or just ‘Victorian?’ Your vote is as good as mine, but either way it’s a no-brainer that you’re not supposed to smuggle them inside a courthouse.


Lots of people forget they’ve left that little SAK in their jacket pocket when they try to enter a courthouse or airport. It happens at my courthouse all the time, and unless you’re dealing with the TSA, it’s no big deal. The smart knife owners apologize, put on their best ‘surprised’ look, and hand over the knife in hopes that they can retrieve it when they’re done. But not William Gurley.

He was arrested earlier this month at the Alleghany County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, after allegedly trying to smuggle a sword cane (probably not the Gil Hibben model shown above) with a twelve-inch blade through courthouse security. When the courthouse deputy discovered the blade, Gurley refused to surrender it and got in an altercation with the deputy.

For his utter stupidity and intransigence, he was arrested and charged with a variety of misdemeanor criminal offenses. Pennsylvania’s knife laws may be frustratingly vague and non-preempted, but the “No Knives In Court” rule is crystal clear. To most of us, anyway.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


  1. David says:

    I like the sword cane concept although I am thinking the execution is always going to be wanting. Also, the way many local & state weapon laws are worded these things will get you arrested on the street let alone at a checkpoint/chokepoint.

  2. Mark N. says:

    sword canes are specifically illegal in California. Along with throwing stars, nunchucks, brass knuckles, belt buckle knives and switch blades. Among other things.

  3. 2hotel9 says:

    It burns, it burns, the stupid is burning me!!!!!!!!

    Want to bet this idiot is STILL insisting he is not wrong?

  4. puppydog35 says:

    All I can say is dumbass. It happens ,it has happened to me at a government building. You don’t argue about it some of them will be nice enough if you are polite and let you take it back to your car.

  5. Veronica Gurley says:

    First of all this article is all wrong. This man happens to be my father! He has had this cane for a very long time. He did not argue or refuse to give it up! He gave it to them to put through the xray machine where the guy did see the knife. He then gave the cane back to my father and allowed him to proceed! Seconds later at the elevator he came running and screaming for him to get back here and give him the cane. My father agreed but was upset because of the way it was handled and was then arrested! Get your facts straight he’s far from dumb! Asswholes!!!

    1. 2hotel9 says:

      So, what you are saying is your “father” knowingly broke the law and tried to sneak a concealed weapon into a courthouse, which is illegal. Yes, he is dumb and you are even dumber for trying to so ineptly lie about it. The law is very clear in PA. I know, I live here.

  6. Veronica Gurley says:

    No idiot! He did not try to sneak in a weapon. He is a 54 yr old man who walks with a cane! This was his everyday cane that was a gift from his wife! He did not try to sneak it in! If that had been the case he would not have given it to the guard to go through the X-ray machine! I’m not saying he’s at not at fault! I’m saying he’s was not trying to be malicious or sneaky he simply forgot! But you asswholes are so quick to judge from one side of a story! That’s DUMB!

    1. 2hotel9 says:

      “He is a 54 yr old man who walks with a cane!” Which had a weapon hidden in it. Illegally. In PA. According to Commonwealth of PA AND Allegheny County laws and regulations. Point, set, match, ******. (play nice)

    2. Roger says:

      Asswholes as in the whole ass?

  7. Veronica Gurley says:

    No point no set no match. Shame on me for entertaining this! He’s home, he’s good! We know the truth everyone else and their opinions are none factors in our lives! Live, love and be happy!

    1. Glad to hear your father is doing well.
      We try to keep things civil here at TTAK, so I have moderated some of the more colorful comments from our readers. I have left yours untouched out of respect for your understandable desire to vent.

      That being said, this post was written by our former editor, Chris Dumm. I have reviewed it, and I don’t find it is not sufficiently valid commentary on the information available from the news report.

      My Great-Grandmother used to say that “there are two sides to a sheet of paper, and the truth usually lies on an edge”.

      I know it is not true of everyone, but I am keenly aware of whatever tool I am carrying especially the one that is the most useful if I need to deploy it in a dangerous situation. This is true whether I am carrying a gun, a 4.5″ fixed blade, or just my EDC folder. I can’t imagine that your father didn’t remember his cane had a blade. My supposition is that he legitimately didn’t think of the issue at all when he left the house, and tried to bluff his way through security by feigning ignorance.

      How things went south and lead to your father’s arrest could probably be subject to interpretation. If you believe that he was mishandled, I would welcome a formal post of the allegations. If you or your father would like to get your side of the story out you are free to submit a letter to me at I will likely post it for all of our readers if it meets basic standards.

      But it is a fact that he was carrying a legally defined weapon in an area where it was prohibited by statute. I will even state I think that laws prohibiting carry of knives in a courthouse are dumb. I am a fan of those States that allow the open carry of AR-15s in the Statehouse. In that case it is a First and Second Amendment affirmation.

      For knife prohibition it is simply laziness on the part of legislators who seek to appear tough on crime by passing laws that do nothing to prevent crimes.

      After reviewing the available information from your comments, the News report, and the Post itself, I see no reason as Editor that I should at this point issue a retraction.

    2. 2hotel9 says:

      Fact remains he tried to bring a weapon, concealed, into a county courthouse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That is against the law. Period. Full stop. I have been in that particular building on many occasions and the signage is quite clearly posted. Game, set, match. The fact I don’t agree with the laws and regs on this issue is irrelevant, they are in place and he violated them. That is a crime. Again, period, full stop.

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Irresponsible Knife Owner Of The Day: William Gurley.

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