We Finally Get a Look at Freddie Gray’s Knife

It is clearly not a knife "... commonly known as a switch-blade knife." However, the charging document described it as an illegal switchblade.
It is clearly not a knife “… commonly known as a switchblade knife.” However, the charging document described it as an illegal switchblade.
Knife Rights

Baltimore-(Ammoland.com)- The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, as a result of a Public Information Act request from WBAL TV-11 in Baltimore, finally released the evidence photos of the knife for which Freddie Gray was arrested, leading to his subsequent death while in custody.

This knife was repeatedly mentioned at the trials of the officers charged and then acquitted in Gray’s death, but until Monday, the public had never seen the knife in question.

Click here to read the WBAL report and view the video.

We post about this not to re-hash the Freddie Gray case, per se, but because the arrest was illustrative of the problems that can occur without knife law preemption. Baltimore not only outlaws knives that the state of Maryland does not, but its restriction is oddly worded in a way that some might argue makes an assisted-opening knife into an illegal switchblade. We would argue it plainly does not.

In any case, now that we have the knife photo, a bit of online research shows the knife to, indeed, be an assisted-opening knife as originally described and written up by the arresting officer. It is clearly not a knife “… commonly known as a switchblade knife.” However, the charging document described it as an illegal switchblade.

In most of Maryland, it’s a distinction without a difference if carried openly, legally speaking, because a switchblade is legal to openly carry. Clipped to a pocket and readily visible to the officers, as it was in the case of Freddy Gray, that is open carry in Maryland.

This incident highlights everything that is bad about not having Knife Law Preemption in Maryland and 40 other states for that matter. We discussed this in depth at the time. Knife Law Preemption prevents a patchwork of local ordinances which can entrap honest citizens traveling within or through a state.

Despite the timeliness of our legislative effort with that arrest and death fresh in everyone’s minds, Knife Rights’ Knife Law Preemption bill, SB 653, didn’t get far this year. We certainly plan to be back in Maryland next year to see this irrational and unfair situation fixed. Without preemption, it’s certain that more folks are going to be arrested and prosecuted for no good reason, for simply carrying a common tool in their pocket.

You can read this previous article for an explanation of the difference between an assisted opening knife and a switchblade – both of which are perfectly legal to own and carry openly under Maryland state law.

Knife Law Preemption is Knife Rights’ signature legislative initiative and is the essential foundation for improving knife laws and protecting knife owners. Beginning with the nation’s first Knife Law Preemption bill passed in 2010 in Arizona, Knife Rights has passed Knife Law Preemption in 10 states to date.

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 19 states. Knife Rights also leads 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™.

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It’s not a gun, it’s a mini gun… What kinda lunacy is this. They can both kill, can’t they?


Wasn’t little freddie a convicted felon out on probation and prohibited from carrying ANY type of weapon and NOT JUST firearms?

A.X. Perez

This isn’t a weapon, it’s a tool that can be used as a weapon. In any case, felons are only banned from carrying guns not knives.


He was arrested under Baltimore code 59 22 that does not allow and spring assisted on opening .
Switchblade as commonly known is a moot point as it was considered switchblade by code.
The legal definition is what counts , not what it is commonly known as .


Seriously? The words “commonly known” is exactly what counts, otherwise the words should have ever been written into the legislation. BTW, the title of the law is 59-22 Switch-blade knives, that’s a pretty clear indication that the law is intended to cover switch-blades. As the article points out the knife is pretty common. Also, this type of knife is sold in many stores within the Baltimore City limits. BTW, the spring in a spring assisted knife is not an automatic spring, if it was then the knife would be consider a switch-blade. Here’s the exact wording of the law: It… Read more »


Didn’t Freddie’s failure to comply with the orders of a police officer actually cause his arrest?


Not according to the police report.


No he had completely surrender to the police after running all the way back to his house. The police had no real reason to stop Freddie other than the fact that he is black and “made” eye contact with one of the officers. In other words it was a stop based purely on the fact that Freddie was black with a prior record. Other than the knife nothing else was found on Freddie Gray’s person. Not to mention but they had already thrown the knife away from them and Freddie. Never once did he pull the knife out on the… Read more »

Witold Pilecki

I carry a version of that same knife, with the exact same features. Mine has “Firefighter” laser etched on the blade and a Maltese Cross on the handle. My blade is also serrated in the same way, has a seat-belt cutter and glass breaker. The protrusion at the bottom is the “flipper” that allows the knife to be opened while wearing gloves. It locks open with a liner lock mechanism, and is only held closed with spring tension, not a lock. THAT IS NOT A SWITCHBLADE! Only by twisting and contorting the law can a lawyer type turn that into… Read more »