Federal Court Rules Hawaii’s Butterfly Knife Ban Unconstitutional

Federal Court Rules Hawaii’s Butterfly Knife Ban Unconstitutional

Gilbert, Arizona: A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Hawaii’s ban on butterfly knives violates the Second Amendment. Knife Rights filed an important amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of the appellants in the case of Teter v. Lopez.

In its decision, the Court reversed the district court’s judgment in favor of Hawaii and remanded the case back to the district court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” The Court also denied the appellees’ request to remand the case for further factual or historical development in light of New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, determining that only “legislative facts” were relevant and further development of the facts was unnecessary since the case presented only a legal question. Click to read the full opinion.

As Knife Rights has argued in its recently filed Second Amendment lawsuits against the State of California’s ban on switchblades (also in the Ninth Circuit), the City of Philadelphia (recently settled in our favor) and the Federal Switchblade Act, enforced by the federal government, the Court held that possession of butterfly knives is conduct covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment and that bladed weapons are “arms” within the meaning of the Second Amendment. It also held that at the time of the adoption of the Second Amendment, the term “arms” was understood to include bladed weapons and concluded that the Constitution guarantees keeping and bearing of bladed arms for lawful purposes including self-defense.

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “This Ninth Circuit decision validates all our recent efforts to overturn knife bans based on Second Amendment law after the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. This is the second validation after our Philadelphia victory. The Second Amendment protects our right to keep and bear knives.”

Knife Rights’ attorney John Dillon said, “We applaud the Ninth Circuit decision in Teter v. Lopez. Butterfly knives, like any other variation of folding pocket knives, are protected arms under the Second Amendment. This decision supports our recent challenges to city, state and Federal knife bans. Whether they like it or not, governments throughout America will be forced to understand that they cannot ban common arms.”

While this decision is a huge victory, before balisong enthusiasts in Hawaii rush out to buy one, it must be noted that the district court still has to take action and there’s also the possibility of a rehearing en banc or other legal activity. Stay tuned!

Knife Rights congratulates the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh, on this important victory.

Knife Rights is America’s grassroots knife owners’ organization; Rewriting Knife Law in America™ and forging a Sharper Future for all Americans™. Knife Rights efforts have resulted in 44 bills repealing knife bans in 28 states and over 175 cities and towns since 2010.

Knife Rights
Doug Ritter
?Chairman / Executive Director
P.O. Box 657,
Gilbert, AZ 85299