A. Barton Hinkle: The Case for Knife Rights


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A certain fellow — we'll call him Fred — broke the law a while ago. He didn't mean to. He didn't even know he was doing it. Nevertheless, had he been caught he could have gone to jail — for a year. Fred lives in Virginia. Last fall he went on a camping trip. Not knowing what the terrain might be like, he stowed a short machete in his backpack — in case he needed to clear away some stinging nettles. But as A. Barton Hinkle explains, Fred unwittingly committed a Class 1 misdemeanor. Virginia's concealed-weapons law makes it illegal to carry "hidden from common observation" not just firearms but also dirks, bowie knives, switchblades, razors, and a variety of more exotic items usually seen only in poorly dubbed martial-arts movies. The list also includes machetes. Is it time to start talking about knife rights?