A local lawmaker has proposed a bill to allow one-armed people to have and carry switchblade knives.
State Rep. Sheryl Briggs, D-Mexico, said Friday that she's asking Maine to comply with a federal law that allows individuals with one arm to own or carry any switchblade knife with a blade of 3 inches or less.
“Obviously, people with just one arm cannot open anything but that type of a blade, that type of a knife,” she said. “So all we're asking is for the people with one arm to be exempt.”
A switchblade knife has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure or opens, falls or is ejected into position.
Briggs said one-armed Mexico lawyer Paul Dumas Jr. asked her to propose the legislation.
“It's a spinoff currently of federal law,” Dumas said on Friday afternoon. “If I had a spring-assisted knife and I was in federal jurisdiction, I wouldn't be breaking the law, but under Maine law I would be.”
Maine's law states that anyone caught with a switchblade knife or who makes, displays, offers, sells, lends, gives away or buys such knives, is guilty of trafficking in dangerous knives. It is a misdemeanor crime.
In a March 2010 letter to Briggs, Dumas wrote, “This statute utterly fails to accommodate persons who cannot use two hands to open a knife.”
He also stated that such a bill “would be a plainly common-sense amendment to Maine's knife law.”
“It gets tough to open up a knife one-handed,” Dumas said Friday. “I use my teeth sometimes and that isn't very safe.” ....
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