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Massachusetts Court Asks How To Apply SCOTUS Standard For Switchblade

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

The Massachusetts Supreme Court is stumped on how to rule on a defendant’s assertion that the state’s ban on carrying switchblades violates the Second Amendment, Courthouse News reports. The court’s quandary is rooted in last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v Bruen, which found that a weapons restriction is unconstitutional if it isn’t “consistent with the nation's historical tradition.'

“I don’t know what national historic tradition means,” complained Justice David Lowy on Monday. The Massachusetts case regarding a defendant who was searched by police after a verbal altercation with his girlfriend. Switchblades were banned in the late 1950s in Massachusetts and other states after knife violence sparked public outrage in the popular Broadway Musical, “West Side Story” and film “12 Angry Men.” As concerns subsided, since 2008 19 states have repealed their laws regarding switchblades. But Massachusetts laws continue to ban a variety of weapons including stilettos, nunchucks, and brass knuckles; possession of the weapons carry a sentence of up to five years in jail.


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