Are these things legal?

Updated: May 23

It’s a strange world and strange business. I see some weird things and run in to legality questions often. There’s antique ivory, taxidermy, firearms, medical devices and other crazy things I have been asked to appraise. Sometimes I must ask myself, “is this thing legal?” Like even to sell, or possess, so would it even have a “value” if you shouldn’t have it? Or, you can legally possess it, but not sell it or “trade” in it. See why the lawyers need to step in.


I recently had come across a website doing some research on a knife collection for a gentleman, and the question came up again. And I tell you, I have spent days and days trying to understand Ivory Laws so I was afraid it would the same wormhole but this site, being as they sell things I didn’t know were legal, figured they’d know. So what am I talking about? Switch Blades, Stilettos and what they call Automatics.

They have a page called “Weapon Laws for Dummies” and I feel like a dummy all the time so it’s perfect for me. And of course has a disclaimer as I do also….see below…almost taken verbatim from their site. Shout out!

Examples of the terms and legal descriptions pertaining to “switchblades”…


Private Ownership – or legality of merely owning something and kept exclusively in a home.

Sale - includes any transfer of ownership, even gifts in most states. Such laws almost always (depends on state of course) only affect the seller, I am unaware of a state law affects the buyer of such a transaction ? Any lawyers, feel free to let me know.

Open Carry - legality of carrying unconcealed and in plain view of others.

Concealed Carry - legality of carrying in a concealed manner on one's person

For Practical Matters...


• If private ownership itself is illegal, then all others become illegal by default.

• If private ownership is legal, but sale is not, it effectively becomes impossible to legally obtain a “switchblade” or automatic from within that state (since federal law prohibits inter-state sale). Therefor one must physically travel to another state to legally purchase, but then the question of transport might come in to play…see, you gotta know and find out the facts.


So for me, my research was pertaining to Arizona Law and it seems that Private Ownership, their sales, open carry and concealed carry (if over 21) are all currently legal at the time of writing this so you can literally buy one online from these guys. I was surprised to be able to answer my question, “Are These Things Legal?” but here they are.

Of course, I had to look up my home state of Pennsylvania to see what their rules were and as I guessed. Illegal to own, sell, carry and conceal then, of course. That’s why it seemed so strange to me. I remember people at auction when I was kid being terrified when they came across them in a box lot from an estate clean out. Now it all makes sense and I was more surprised that it was legal to own and sell in more states then not. I guess Pennsyltuckey is not as progressive as I thought.

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