Maine Man Lobbies for Spring-Operated Knife Exemption

As most of us well know, gravity knives and spring-operated knives, like the classic switchblade, are illegal in this land of ours. A Maine man wants his state lawmakers to build an exemption into the state law for him so it mirrors the federal law and he can legally carry a spring-operated knife. If anyone has a valid case, it's him. Paul Dumas, Jr. is a horseman with only one arm, having lost the other to an electrical accident as a teenager. From a story on Salon.com:

_Paul Dumas Jr. of the Maine town of Mexico says that with only one arm -- he lost the other to an electrical accident as a teenager -- he can't react quickly enough in emergency situations like at an equestrian event he attended a few years ago.

"This is very selfish," said Dumas, also an attorney, who currently is forced to use folding knives. "I'm tired of opening knives with my teeth."
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_Like federal law, Maine statutes prohibit possession and distribution of spring-loaded blades. The federal law does allow an exemption for possession and transportation on federal property by a person with one arm, provided the blade itself is less than 3 inches long, said Donald Clark, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maine.

State Rep. Sheryl Briggs of Mexico, at Dumas' request, is asking for Maine to build a similar exemption into its law that would apply all over the state, not just on public property. The bill is awaiting a public hearing.

The proposal is rare, if not unique. Neither Clark nor Briggs was aware of any other states that have or are seeking such exemptions. An official with an organization that represents 2 million people with limb loss agreed.

"We have never heard of or been part of anything like that," said Dan Ignescewski, government relations coordinator for the Amputee Coalition of America.

Dumas, who uses a letter opener to tear into envelopes at work, lost his right arm when he suffered an electrical burn as a teenager.

The owner of four horses, he likes to carry a knife when riding -- just in case -- but refuses to use a non-folding sheath knife because it would pose a danger if he fell. So he ends up bringing a folding knife.

"I would not go on a trail ride without a knife," he said._

So how do you all feel about the current federal laws regarding spring-operated knives? If they were legal, would you carry one?

And, later in the story, Dumas added the possibility of another option...

"If they wanted me to register the knife with the chief of police in my town, I wouldn't have a problem with that," Dumas said. "We're not trying to hide anything -- just trying to get Maine in line with federal law."

Who would be on board for that, if it meant you could own switchblades and other automatic knives?