The Second Amendment and control of weapons that aren't firearms

The Second Amendment is much discussed hereabouts, but I’d like to understand how it and other laws relate to weapons that aren’t firearms. For example, is wearing a shortsword or carrying a spear regulated differently to wearing a gun? And how come we never hear of sword control in America? (Particularly relevant to me in the U.K. as one of our MPs got attacked with a sword a while back.)

You are asking about 50 different states, plus territories. I can’t think of any federal laws. Federal law highly restricts firearms that look like something else (“Pen-gun, mightier than the sword. Sword-gun, mightier than the pen-gun”). Some might have knife blade restrictions, some ban certain folding knifes (switchblades/“butterfly knives”). Some ban sticks that are no different than a walking stick except painted black. Whether they are concealed or not makes a difference. Speaking for my state, nightsticks are illegal (ask me how I know), as are the above mentioned knifes. I have no idea if a spear is illegal to carry, but I imagine I would be chatting with he cops regardless if I walked downtown with it. AFAIK swords and spears are legal (people occasionally hunt boars with the latter), but it is unlikely you can carry them publicly.

You never hear of sword control for the same reason that you don’t hear of gun control in 1102. An MP+sword is probably an isolated incident, made more salient by it’s bizarreness, and is legislation really necessary (also, what party was s/he :dubious:). Although I do hear about many “samurai sword” attacks in the UK, which in my mind means $50 blunt POS that will shatter with the first swing.

In PRESSER v. STATE OF ILLINOIS(1886) I believe the Supreme Court ruled that swords were considered to be included under the catagory “arms”.

I think swords are banned from federal buildings. There was some religious sect that required their males to carry around a dagger and neither freedom of religion nor the right to bear arms was enough to overturn the ban on daggers (I think they were more like shortswords).

The Sikhs and their kirpan? Those seem to be allowed though.

They make plastic ones that fulfill the customary requirement without breaking weapons/security regulations. I’ve seen them, and I gather you could look them up online, they must sell thousands of them.

The kirpan’s stirred some controversy in Canada, too, namely whether Sikh children could carry them to school.

Since the small ceremonial versions are about as dangerous as popsicle sticks, I’m okay with it.

The 8th largest religion is “some religious sect”?

Some may be plastic, they also make some kirpan with metal blades (blunt I imagine) that are permanently sewn in to the sheath. Banning any type is stupid. They shouldn’t be brought on airplanes, but the legal right for a Sikh to carry one is not in itself dangerous.

This really isn’t a 2nd Amendment-based answer, but at least in one U.S. state (Montana) a concealed carry permit is required to carry large knives hidden on your person. I frequently carry dirks, daggers, sgian dubhs, and swords for parades and Scottish events, but I carry them openly (except the sgian dubh) and I’ve never been questioned on it. This includes, by the way, giving presentations in schools on Scottish history.

As far as I’m concerned a Sikh in this country ought to be able to carry his Kirpan by virtue of our Second amendment permitting the keeping and bearing of arms. What disturbs me is that
the right applied to the issue of the Kirpan is:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
rather than:
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

If a Sikh can arguably go armed with a dagger because of a “free exercise” argument, I should be able to do the same due to the clear wording of the Second Amendment.

In Texas you’re not allowed to carry a dagger, even openly. I haven’t researched the way the “knife laws” of Texas are applied to Sikhs here.

I don’t think the sikh are allowed to carry whatever they want whereever they want.

In the 2nd circuit court of appeals, there was Maloney vs. Rice, a federal constitutional challenge to the statutes that criminalize simple in-home possession of nunchaku for peaceful use in martial-arts practice or legal home defense. The case was dismissed prior to McDonald vs. Chicago as the 2nd amendment wasn’t yet incorporated against the states. After McDonald, the dismissal was vacated by SCOTUS and sent back to the 2nd circuit for further consideration. I think that case may eventually decide whether the protection of “arms” extends to certain non-firearms.

Apparently there was also a CA trial court that ruled the 2nd amendment protects nunchakus - I don’t know of any further information on that case.

It seems as if the OP assumes that “arms” must ONLY mean guns. Am I mistaken? Surely swords and other personal arms that are not firearms can be covered under the 2nd amendment.

Yeah, I doubt they are, but that’s not my point … my point is that the 2nd Amendment should carry as much weight as the 1st, simply by virtue of being one of the Constitutional Amendments, and I don’t think it presently does. Bones post re: nunchucks reinforces that suspicion.

Because our sword industry doesn’t have as good lobbyists, and there’s no anti-sword movement because few people know of anyone who was hacked to death. And, quite related to that, while there people here who care about fencing, there isn’t a keep-it-ever-ready sword culture here the way there is a gun culture.

As for the second amendment, the US Bill of Rights and related constitutional provisions tend to be vague enough that they mean whatever our Supreme Court wants them to.

There’s no right to bear swords for the same reason there’s no right to bear guns in the US Supreme Court’s courthouse. There’s no big politicized push for it, and it’s highly unlikely the current court would go for it if there was.

The Supreme Court judges are political appointees. 'Nough said.

It happened several times in Japan.

We have not seen how the supreme court analyzes the second amendment but I expect that they willsubject laws restricting the right to bear arms with the same scrutiny they use for the first amendment.

There is a clear right to lobby congress in the first amendment and yet I am required to register as a lobbyist when I exercise that right in a professional capacity. Why cant I impose a registration requirement on the exercise of the second amendment right?

The only right that stands above other rights is the right to vote.

I absolutely agree: A person should be required to register arms when they exercise the right to keep and bear arms in a professional capacity. The rest of us amateurs, however …

Federal law prohibits commercial sale of switchblades across state lines. You can go and buy them in a legal state privately, but makers and shops can’t offer them for sale to out-of-staters.

This was done to prevent the misery caused by teen gangs with knives, and to force the latter to buy guns like regular Americans.
Oddly enough, although many countries dutifully followed America in controlling or banning switchblades, despite not having themselves hordes of 1950s’ teenagers destroying their cities and corrupting young good girls with their hair gel and jukebox music; others did not, and appear to have no problem caused by the Devil’s Blades.
Some U.S states forbid concealed carry, which as with guns appears to me adequately demented.

I know Texas is usually held up as a haven for gun nuts, but it’s not true. There are significant restrictions to concealed carry, and open carry is prohibited.

At the same time, they explicitly ban the carrying of swords, clubs, brass knuckles, and a number of other medieval implements.