Gilbert, AZ –-(Ammoland.com) – Nearly a year ago, Knife Rights and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in a case that asks the California Supreme Court to rule that common, non-locking Swiss Army Knives and similar pocketknives are not illegal “dirks” or “daggers” when carried concealed with the blade open. This coming Wednesday the attorney who wrote the brief, George M. Lee, a partner at the San Francisco law firm of Seiler Epstein Ziegler & Applegate, will join the Defendant and Appellant’s attorney, Raymond Mark DiGuiseppe, in arguing the case in front of the California Supreme Court.
Attorney DiGuiseppe offered to share some of his limited time in front of the Justices to our attorney in view of the exceptional merit of our arguments included in our amicus brief. We are certainly appreciative of this opportunity to defend the rights of knife owners in California.
The case stems from a dispute over section 16470 of the California Penal Code, which defines a dirk or dagger as “a knife or other instrument…that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death.” But, for everyday pocketknives like the one at issue in Castillolopez, the definition applies only “if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.”
Castillolopez was convicted in 2012 by a San Diego County jury for illegally carrying a concealed dirk or dagger after law enforcement found a Swiss Army Knife with the blade open in his pocket following a traffic stop. The Fourth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal later overturned his conviction, holding that Castillolopez’ pocketknife didn’t meet the statutory definition of an illegally-carried ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ because it didn’t have a locking mechanism. California Attorney General Kamala Harris appealed that decision.
Doug Ritter, founder and Chairman of the Knife Rights Foundation, said, “Ultimately, our important brief is about protecting knife owners from prosecutorial overreach by maintaining the historical definition of a ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ in California. If the State wins this case with their expansive theory on how a ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ is defined, every Boy Scout and slipjoint folding knife owner in California might one day be guilty of a felony. With millions of Californians at risk, and a potential bad state precedent to be set, we were compelled to stand up for their rights as we have elsewhere in this country when the government attempts to overreach in cases against knife owners.”
The oral argument is open to the public. It is scheduled to be held Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at 1:30 PM at the Supreme Court’s courtroom in the Ronald Reagan State Office Building, 300 South Spring Street, Third Floor, North Tower, Los Angeles, California. If you would like to attend, leave your knives in your car or at home, all entering the building have to pass through security screening.
The Calguns Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition contributed assistance to the amicus brief’s preparation.
A copy of the filed Amicus Brief can be viewed at: https://www.kniferights.org/KRF-SAF_Amicus_Brief.pdf
The Opening Brief from California Attorney General Kamala Harris can be viewed at: https://www.kniferights.org/S218861_OBM_People.pdf
The Appellant’s Answer Brief can be viewed at: https://www.kniferights.org/S218861_ABM_Castillolopez.pdf
The State’s Reply Brief can be viewed at: https://www.kniferights.org/S218861_RBM_People.pdf
About Knife Rights:
Knife Rights (www.KnifeRights.org) is America’s grassroots knife owners organization, forging a Sharper Future™ for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice to influence public policy. In the past six years, Knife Rights has passed pro-knife legislation repealing knife bans in 15 states, stopped anti-knife legislation in 7 states and helped defeat ivory and mammoth ivory bans in 18 states. Knife Rights is also the lead plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit against New York City and the New York District Attorney over their persecution of knife owners. Knife Rights is the Second Front in Defense of the Second Amendment™
California is a mess. State law says that you can open carry any knife as long as the pommel is exposed and is not concealable. But then they let municipalities set their own laws, so citizens exist in a quagmire of laws, and that was stupidest thing they ever did.