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Old January 2, 2011, 01:19 AM   #1
DougNew
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What's your read on this WA state statute for batons?

Once again, TFL offers helpful thoughts on hard questions, as in this thread on collapsible batons. In it, SirSpork posts the best information I've seen on WA state's limits, RCW (Revised Code of Washington) 9.41.270:

Quote:
Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
The trooper he spoke with apparently interpreted that to prohibit the carrying of collapsible batons, which clearly are "capable of producing bodily harm."

But is that what the statute says?

There's an awful lot of commas in that awful sentence, enough to make it hard to read. But the independent clauses say, "It shall be unlawful for any person to carry.. [the aforementioned type of] weapon... at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons."

It doesn't say you can't carry that type of weapon. It says you can't do that in a way or place that intimidates. That's consistent with the WA law prohibiting intimidating show of a firearm.

In no way am I advocating breaking the law; I just want to understand it. Reading the first half of the sentence alone makes no sense: clearly, it is legal to carry (some) knives under (some) circumstances. When can you not? When it is intimidating to do so.

There are other, specific laws prohibiting certain kinds of knives (in WA state, we can't have switchblades), so if collapsible batons themselves were the issue, you'd think there would be a statute about them. If the above general law on intimidating weapons is all, does it really say what the trooper thinks it does?

Last edited by DougNew; January 2, 2011 at 01:33 AM. Reason: er... "statue" and "statute" are not the same
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:44 AM   #2
Powderman
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Here is the important part of the citation:

"Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons. "

This is known as the "brandishing" statute.
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Old January 2, 2011, 08:34 AM   #3
B.N.Real
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"club"-covers the baton.

That's actually a very broad-very common statute in all fifty states I would guess.

It allows the police to confiscate the device and arrest anyone carrying something that can be used for self defense or offensive attack should they deem it necessary.

In such a situation,your behavior is the most important determining factor as to whether the police go forward with a confiscation or arrest or not.

I've been pulled over for speeding with a sharpened German World War 1 bayonet in a steel sheath in the back floor board of my car that was examined by the police and let go simply because I showed that I was'nt looking to kill anyone.

Also,if the item on your person makes sense for where you are at the time-it's less likely anything will happen.

For example,if you are playing softball and have a softball bat in the car as you go from or to your game that makes sense.

If you are walking down the street in a major city at twelve o'clock in the afternoon with a softball bat over your shoulder,challenging every passersby with a glare on your face as you go by-well,then there could be a problem there.
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Old January 2, 2011, 12:34 PM   #4
DougNew
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Quote:
Here is the important part of the citation...
This is known as the "brandishing" statute.
I read it the same way, and agree that is the important part of the citation. But it prohibits brandishing, not concealed carrying, yes?


Quote:
"club"-covers the baton.
Sure, as does any "weapon capable of producing bodily harm." But the question here is whether the law prohibits carrying one in a non-intimidating manner, such as when concealed.


Quote:
If you are walking down the street in a major city at twelve o'clock in the afternoon with a softball bat over your shoulder,challenging every passersby with a glare on your face as you go by-well,then there could be a problem there.
"Brandishing" is clearly looking for legal trouble, as the above statute says. But does it address concealed carry?

If not - and I find it harder and harder to read it as addressing anything other than "intimidating" carry - perhaps there's another section of WA state law prohibiting carry of "clubs" or "batons." I just haven't found one, and it seems odd that a state trooper would cite the above.
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