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Federal law as it applies to switchblades

When discussing federal weapons crimes, many people may think of assault rifles and explosives ownership. Yet, the law is even more wide-reaching than that. Federal law places limitations on weapon transport, the possession of certain ammunition and even the manufacture, distribution and possession of certain knives. Being convicted of a federal crime is no laughing matter. It could result in several years in prison, excessive fines and irreparable damage to an individual's reputation. For this reason, those who face allegations of criminal wrongdoing should try to fully inform themselves of the law.

Under current law, it is illegal to knowingly manufacture for introduction or introduce a switchblade into interstate commerce. Likewise, it is against the law to transport such a knife in interstate commerce, meaning moving the item across state lines. The penalty for doing this is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. The same penalty holds for those who manufacture, sell or possess a switchblade within Indian country or areas with special U.S. territorial jurisdiction.

There are exceptions to the law, however. For example, if transporting a switchblade falls into a carriers ordinary course of business, then the law does not apply. The same holds true for those who are manufacturing or transporting the weapon pursuant to a contract with the United States military. Also, an individual who only has one arm can legally possess a switchblade so long as the blade is shorter than three inches.

There are always grey areas when it comes to the law. When a case falls into one of these areas, it might be prudent for the accused individual to get more information, as the quality of legal arguments presented could mean the difference between acquittal and conviction.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "15 U.S. Code Chapter 29," accessed on Dec. 18, 2015

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