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since the 2nd Amendment very specifically protects firearms ownership

I've seen folks use that rationale, but the 2A doesn't say "firearms" it says "arms" - presumably "knives, nunchucks, brass knuckles, etc" would fall under that, although that's clearly not how it's been interpreted.

FWIW, I just found this article / paper discussing the very issue of knives and the 2nd Amendment.


The author(s) appear to take the position that knives are protected under the 2A and that many existing laws regulating knives are probably unconstitutional. At least from the bit I've had time to read so far...

If we're going to take a literalist reading of the 2A, shouldn't any armament that can be carried by a single person ("bear arms") be protected?

I have seen a few knife groups using this exact same reasoning - I think it just gets heard less because the firearm part of the "arms" is the hot national topic, and Congress has made very few laws that limit knives/other arms - most of those are state laws.

That's a fair point, but - for whatever reason - the way it's interpreted in practice seems to be mainly (if not exclusively) about firearms.

Come to think of it, I don't know why that is, and I'm not arguing that it's correct.

Anyway, the real point is that there seems to be a lot more variation in laws concerning the legality of owning knives, nunchucks, brass-knuckles, etc., than there is about guns. Guns may be more highly regulated in general, but I don't know of a single state where private ownership of, say, a pistol, is illegal. But I'm pretty sure there are states where switch-blade knives are. But I'm working off memory here, so maybe I'm wrong.

Before the recent set of court rulings, private ownership of a pistol was indeed completely illegal with no exceptions in Chicago and Washington, DC. Several other jurisdictions are almost as strict - as of the last time I read up on it, in NYC, it is illegal to even touch a pistol which is not registered to you, which is a lengthy and complex process.

Yes, but neither of those is a State, and as you pointed out, those restrictions have been modified by recent court rulings.

But not to quibble over details... all I was originally saying is that, for whatever reason, laws on owning certain non-firearm weapons (switchblades, nunchuka, brass knuckles, saps, etc.) seem to vary wildly, whereas in general firearms ownership is legal in the entire United States.

It is an interesting situation, to be able to own, say, an AR15 or a 1911 pistol, while simultaneously not being able to own brass knuckles.

The Georgia legislature recently rewrote our concealed carry laws to allow license holders to carry knives as well.

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