Dueling Opposition Briefs Filed in Cali Switchblade Ban Lawsuit

Opposition Briefs have been filed by both sides in Knife Rights’ federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s complete ban on common automatic knives 2-inches and greater that the State prohibits as illegal “switchblades.”

Plaintiffs’ opposition brief dismantles, point by point, California’s fanciful interpretations of the Bruen decision and the utterly irrelevant history cited by its experts.

Plaintiffs’ Attorney John W. Dillon of the Dillon Law Group, said or the Defendant’s opposition brief, “the State of California continues to attempt to create their own fabricated constitutional standards that do not exist in order to justify their unconstitutional ban. The Supreme Court laid out a clear constitutional standard of review, and California has entirely failed to meet this burden. Quite simply, there is no historical law in this Country’s history that would justify the current prohibition on switchblades.”

California also filed an utterly ridiculous motion opposing our expert David T. Hardy’s Rebuttal Report. Given his extraordinary experience as a renowned scholar who has been relied upon in numerous Second Amendment cases and been accepted by judges in those cases as an expert, it seems rather absurd to claim he has no expertise in this area of the law.

On April 15th, each side’s Reply Brief will be due. Then the hearing before District Court Judge James E. Simmons, Jr., will be held DATE CHANGE: May 8th at 2:00 PM in Courtroom 4B of the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse in San Diego (Click for directions).

Please support Knife Rights’ lawsuits with a tax-deductible donation to the Knife Rights Foundation at: (select Knife Rights Foundation)


Broadly, in NYSRPA v. Bruen the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment includes the right to be armed for self-defense at home and in public. This right can only be limited to the extent that there is a historical tradition of limitation in the period immediately prior to and around the time of the Constitution’s framing in the late 18th century up to the late 19th century. A few restrictions on knives of various sorts that are outliers from that time period do not count. Restrictions imposed later, including on switchblades in the 1950s, don’t count. Possession and carry of knives survives this constitutional test.

Bruen upheld restrictions on weapons such as machine guns that are deemed by the court to be both “dangerous and unusual.” A weapon that is either not “dangerous” or not “unusual” cannot be prohibited. Automatically opening (“switchblade”) knives and other knife designs and opening mechanisms are neither “unusual,” being legal and common in most places today, nor any more “dangerous” than other non-prohibited knives or weapons. Knife bans existent today do not pass constitutional muster after Bruen.

Bruen also emphasized emphatically from the court’s prior Second Amendment McDonald decision that “the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” Second Amendment decisions by courts must be made on the basis of strict scrutiny, just as with other rights. Intermediate scrutiny or “interest balancing” can no longer be used to decide Second Amendment cases. As such, the government can no longer defend knife bans because government doesn’t like a particular type of knife, for whatever irrational basis it comes up with.

Knife Rights ( is America’s grassroots knife owners’ organization; leading the fight to Rewrite Knife Law in America™ and forging a Sharper Future for all Americans™. Knife Rights efforts have resulted in 44 bills enacted repealing knife bans in 27 states and over 175 cities and towns since 2010.