Manasquan, NJ -(Ammoland.com)- Freddie Gray's knife and the legality of it is in much dispute in the press as the controversy surrounding his death while in police custody, continues to make headlines.
A photo of Freddie Gray's Knife has not been released. But we do know it was not a fixed blade knife.
We can only speculate as to what it actually is but the basic style of knife can be generally assumed to fall into three broad categories based on what knife styles are commonly available today.
Basic Folding Pocket Knife: We all know what this one is. They are commonly found almost anywhere knives are for sale and they have been in constant use by millions upon millions of people all over the world. It has a basic knife blade that folds or breaks at the knife mid point, after pressing a release in the blade handle. With the Buck Folding Hunter Pocket Knife being a classic example of a folding knife but you can find thousands of different variations on the basic folding pocket knife for sale all over the USA, if not the world.
Button Style Switchblade: The much maligned switchblade style knife has been the boogie man of politicians since the 1961 film, West Side Story made the spring and button assisted knife the Assault Weapon of its day.
But the reality is that switch blades are just plain old knives with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is pushed. There is no tactical advantage to a switchblade knife, in fact the “switch” may be a disadvantage, as the spring assists often fail, making the tool useless.
When working they cut just the same as any folding or fixed blade knife.
Switch blade knives are fairly uncommon today as the were restricted (read outlawed) for a period of time and are only recently making a comeback as common sense repeals of unfounded knife bans have begun to take hold in parts of free America. So it is unlikely that Freddie Gray's knife was a true switchblade.
Assisted Folding/Opening Pocket Knife: Also called assisted-openers and one-hand openers, these knives are no longer considered unlawful under the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958. A timely Senate Amendment, # 1447 signed by President Obama, found attached to H.R. 2892 (10/28/09), the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for year 2010, clarified that these style of knives were not “Switchblades“.
This is highly likely the style of knife that got Freddie Gray stopped and killed.
The assisted folding knife are still targets of many police, as they do not fully understand the difference and “automatically” assume that the ease at which these simple knives open, must make them switch blades
Note: The New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s office has made a profitable business by shaking down NYC store owners for cash settlements under threats of prosecution for having common assisted opening knives for sale in their shops. The organization Knife Rights has them in court over this very suspicious tactic designed to take advantage of confusion within the law regarding assisted opening knives vs switchblades.
We don't yet know the facts behind Freddie Gray's Knife or the true circumstance under which he was detained, injured and later died from his injuries. The laws surrounding his arrest in the state Maryland seem to be confusing even for the Prosecutor and police.
Stay tuned and we will update this page as soon as photo of Freddie Gray's Knife is release to the public.
For more on Maryland Knife laws see Knife Rights Update on the Freddie Gray Knife Arrest.