ASK THE SHERIFF: Sheriff reveals reason behind patrol car colors

DEAR SHERIFF: What are the knife laws in Indiana? Do I need to be concerned about my knife blade being too long? What about carrying my knife concealed or in the open?

ANSWER: With the 2013 legislative changes in the Indiana law that provides for the legal selling and possession of switch blades (knives that open with spring action via the push of a button), knife rights have taken a solid step forward in rational thinking and support for the Second Amendment for another type of “arms.” Indiana is one of four states in the nation to abolish laws banning switchblades in 2013 along with Alaska, Texas and Kansas, according to the American Knife and Tool Institute. Indiana’s switchblade ban began in 1957.

Some states require knives to be concealed and other states have blade length laws and may even limit the ability to carry a sword or a machete. Indiana has no such limits. There is no blade or overall length law in Indiana. Wearing your knife on your belt or clipped to your pocket, whether totally or partially visible, or concealed, will not generally get you into trouble in Indiana, except on school property or where locally prohibited, such as in an airport or courthouse.

Keep in mind that laws against reckless behavior that endanger others are still in effect. Using any edged weapon in the commission of a crime will boost the crime to a felony.

One edged weapon that continues to be a Class C misdemeanor in Indiana is the sale, manufacture or possession of a Chinese throwing star. A Chinese throwing star means a throwing-knife, throwing-iron, or other knife-like weapon with blades set at different angles, according to Indiana Code 35-47-5-12.

Additionally, the possession, display, sale, manufacture of a knife with detachable blade, according to Indiana Code 35-47-5-2, is a Class B misdemeanor. A knife with a detachable blade that may be ejected from the handle as a projectile by means of gas, a spring, or any other device contained in the handle of the knife is still illegal in Indiana.

Indiana Code 35-47-5-2.5 states that a person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally possesses any type or style of knife on school property or a school bus (or any bus used for school purposes) commits a Class B Misdemeanor unless the person is authorized, and the use of the knife is authorized, by the school corporation, or the knife is secured in a motor vehicle on the premises.

With the school restriction law, the absence of common sense seems to come into play with some school districts and police agencies in our nation. The zero tolerance can border on the ridiculous and any violation should be considered on a case by case basis. Just because a law has technically been broken, does not mean charges need to be filed or a student needs to be expelled.

If a Boy Scout forgets and accidentally carries his pocket knife into the school, he can be charged with a crime and/or expelled by the school administration. A quick search of the Internet will show you countless examples of expulsion for students “forgetting” about a small pocket knife.

Whether its firearms or knives, know your rights as a citizen and defend those rights zealously or they may soon disappear.

Ask-the-Sheriff a question by emailing Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers at brogers@elkhartcountysheriff.com.

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