5.15.2011

Why Are Switchblades Illegal?

Intro:
    Switchblades have been made illegal for all the wrong reasons in the United States. Some States tried to find a reason to arrest criminals that they had trouble prosecuting. The Federal Government based their fear of switchblades off of movies that were mainstream at the time. The Difference in danger potential between a switchblade and regular knife of same length are of no difference.
Where's the Logic?:
     An automatic knife and a regular pocket knife of the same length contain the same potential harm. The sharpness and size does not differentiate between a switch blade and a regular one. The one thing that is different is the speed of opening (in most cases).

    This fact makes you wonder, why would the speed of opening matter in a crime, when the only user that would benefit is the victim attempting to protect their selves. Perhaps the switch blade law would make more sense if all pocket knives were outlawed but still the defender (or typically law abiding citizen) would be at a disadvantage.
Source
    Ballistics knives are projectable knives and are considered Illegal knives. At first glance you may think these should be illegal, as you could kill someone from a distance in a stealthy fashion. But this is not the reason for their ban, as for example: Texas allows silencers on guns but prohibits ballistics knives altogether.(As of 2013, Texas revoked the law) Youde think these knives should be legal (but hard to get) as silencers are in that state.


History:
   State Laws: The Rise of Anarchist/ Socialist groups in the 1890's made some state governments worry. This period was also famous for yellow journalism which raises many questions. Terrorism in 1886 was written in newspapers as by anarchists,but this would be most often be unknowable. These new groups spread crime and ideas that had threatened the whole government. Around the 1890's switchblades were beginning to be an industry due to increased technology.


   Because the State Government couldn't get rid of these people (as they couldn't find them of any crimes), they noticed they commonly had (and used) switchblades. Those effected states then made laws to be able to take down the individuals. This method of tackling people when unable to prosecute included many early gangsters.


   Federal Laws: In the 1950s, a series of movies featuring switchblades came to view. These movies depicted criminals and gangsters with switchblades. The fear based off these movies appeared in Newspapers as well.


    This was the time color TV was first being broadcasted. The impact of color made things seem more interesting and certainly more realistic. People were naive about television broadcasts, similar to how people were naive about H.G. Well's The War of the Worlds radio broadcast. Within a year of these (4 or so) mainstream movies hitting TV, the federal government passed the USA Switchblade Act of 1958.




World Wide:
    An increasing number of countries have been making similar laws against switchblades. Besides the UK, which outlawed switchblades a year after the US did due to the "TV Scare" , other countries have also outlawed them recently. This is most likely due to the influence American has over most countries, as no strong motive to outlaw them exist in other countries.
Bladeplay
Crimes Stunted by Weapon Possession:
   Not only does the illegality of protective weapons not lower crime rates, many types of crimes are increased as the victims are unable to protect their self. This can be accounted for by the fear one may have of someone fighting back and potentially killing them. If Still in doubt, remember that in the United States, banks (tend to be secure with firearms) had 1,183 robbery's while the total overall robberies added up to 408,217. That makes it 345 times more likely to be robbed some where else besides a bank. [1] [2]


Links:
[1](Banks)http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/bank-crime-statistics-2010/bank-crime-statistics-2010-q1

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