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Law Girl
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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  I have practiced criminal law.
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I live in CA. Can I go to jail for ordering a switchblade ...

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I live in CA. Can I go to jail for ordering a switchblade over the internet? I know that in CA it is legal to own one as long as you do not carry it.


Thank you for your question.

The mere fact that you purchased one does not break the law. However, switchblade laws are quite strange. With respect to switchblades with blades two or more inches long, it is illegally to them in the passenger or driver's area of a vehicle in a public place or place open to the public. It is also illegal to carry one upon your person, seemingly anywhere. In addition, it is illegal to give a switchblade to anyone. However, that does not mean that you could not have a switchblade shipped to you. However, at some point the switchblade will need to change hands and even UPS driver will need "give the switchblade to you". So ,although ordering to switchblade is not illegal, it appears that there is no way you can own a switchblade without somebody breaking the law at some point.

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Good Luck!


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Law Girl's Post: I will absolutly be accepting your answer as it was very helpful but wanted to clarify something.

Is there a specific penalty for the violation. In order to complete the purchase online you have to accept the policy (Federal
Regulations: 18 USC 1716 (g/2/1-4), and 15 USC 1244.)

I merely want to collect the item and keep in my home. It is not for carring at all. I just want to make sure it is UPS that shows up at my door and not the authorities.


18 USC 1716 prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from carrying the knife.

You start to run into issues with 15 USC 1244. This provision prohibits the introduction of a knife into interstate commerce to anyone who is not part of the Armed Forces, or licensed to carry an automatic knife. So, if the knife is being sent from outside of California, you could find yourself subject to investigation (even if you do not face charges). Chances are they will care more about the seller; however, this regulation has the ability to complicate your life if your knife is currently located outside of California.

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