1. #1
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    Definition of a "switchblade" knife in WI

    Question about what is considered a "switchblade" in Wisconsin.

    I got rid a true automatic that I used to own, specifically because I found out it was illegal. I replaced it with a Benchmade that has the "Axis" system, which I would describe as a thumb stud that loosens the lock so that I can open the knife with a wrist flick. Has approx. 2.5" blade. I thought this was totally compliant until a few minutes ago I was reading a post in another category which was talking about a "gravity-feed" knife being illegal.

    I checked WI law (online, so not sure if this is current or accurate) and here is what I found:

    Wisconsin - 941.24. Possession of switchblade knife. (1)
    Whoever manufactures, sells or offers to sell, transports,
    purchases, possesses or goes armed with any knife having a
    blade which opens by pressing a button, spring or other
    device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or
    movement is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor...

    So... I would guess that the "wrist flick" I am describing would be tantamount to a "thrust movement" as described above. Is that correct? I'm going to be bummed if I ended up buying a very nice knife that is illegal to possess.

    Here is a link to a description of the Axis system: http://www.benchmade.com/about_knive...mechanisms.asp

    I do have a CCW, and I know that "switchblades" are still not legal, but unsure if that license would extend to cover me with carrying this above described pocket knife. Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    Litz
    Last edited by Litz; 01-05-2012 at 06:49 PM. Reason: typos

  2. #2
    Gang Tactic Mode

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    Butterfly knives are illegal in Wisconsin. Your knife opens in a similar fashion, so I would tend to believe it is illegal. Additionally, your knife would also be illegal because it opens by activating a button in the handle.
    "I assume you all have guns and crack."

  3. #3
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    Thank you Badgerland. I would describe this as a folding knife, not butterfly. Fixed handle and blade pivots out from the side. The opening mechanism is what I am thinking poses a problem, although the knife does not deploy or otherwise activate by a button.

    Here is the photos and description of it: http://www.bladehq.com/item--Benchma...SBK-Mini--1145

    I tend to agree with you that it is illegal, but I hate to sell a $160 knife I just bought unless I am sure. The flip side is that I also do not want to own a useless tool, which is exactly what this will be if I can't carry it.

    I can legally carry a concealed firearm, extra mag, and a flashlight... but that darn knife poses a problem. Such is life, I just follow the rules.

    Thanks again, and have a good night.

  4. #4
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    Have you checked the "Dear Dave" section of WILEnet? There is a question about switchblades and other spring assisted knives.

    ***ETA I didn't see that you're not an officer, not sure if you can get to the dear dave section.

  5. #5
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    Thanks! I am able to access the "Dear Dave" archives, and it looks like a great source that I will enjoy reading! I am not seeing any articles related to switchblades, other than the one asking if LE can carry a switchblade. Do you happen to know any keywords that were in the title of the post... I don't see a way to search the text body, only the titles... and nothing reevant is coming up. Thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by AI_guy View Post
    Have you checked the "Dear Dave" section of WILEnet? There is a question about switchblades and other spring assisted knives.

    ***ETA I didn't see that you're not an officer, not sure if you can get to the dear dave section.

  6. #6
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    At the bottom of the "Dear Dave" stating there is not LE exemption, which you've found, it says, "Also see this Dear Dave." That's the one you're looking for.

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    The Benchmade your talking about is not a "switchblade". The way your opening it was not the designed way to open the knife but it still works because you are disengaging the lock which holds the blade in the handle. The designed way to open the knife is by the thumb stud. It is no different than if you disengage the lock on a lock back knife (this would be harder to do because of the relationship of the locking mechanism to the handle but is still possible). The Mini-Presidio you have is just a folding knife with a locking mechanism it is neither a butterfly knife nor a switchblade.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by imglennr View Post
    At the bottom of the "Dear Dave" stating there is not LE exemption, which you've found, it says, "Also see this Dear Dave." That's the one you're looking for.
    I must have different level of access, perhaps since I am not "logged in" to WILENET... In the article regarding the LE Exception (there is none) there are no links on the bottom of that page. I think I have a definitive enough answer to feel comfortable. Thanks for the post, I appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcat1017 View Post
    The Benchmade your talking about is not a "switchblade". The way your opening it was not the designed way to open the knife but it still works because you are disengaging the lock which holds the blade in the handle. The designed way to open the knife is by the thumb stud. It is no different than if you disengage the lock on a lock back knife (this would be harder to do because of the relationship of the locking mechanism to the handle but is still possible). The Mini-Presidio you have is just a folding knife with a locking mechanism it is neither a butterfly knife nor a switchblade.
    I agree, and this is what had been bothering me... nearly every folding knife available these days has a thumb-stud, designed for single-handed opening. The statute defining a switchblade could be interpreted to cover all such knifes, however I do not see an officer having a problem with the knife I have, and in the off chance that he/she did I would think that a DA would not pursue the charge after seeing the actual opening mechanism. One never really knows though...

    Thanks for the reply, have a great day.

  9. #9
    Live Free or Die Trying..
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    This is the other Dear Dave he's talking about.

    Deleted per request.

    Quoted from google search.
    Last edited by Rblake; 01-18-2012 at 03:24 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Thank you for the post Rblake.

    Thank you everyone for your assistance in clarifying this issue.

    Litz

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