Hearing Scheduled for CA Switchblade Ban Lawsuit – DATE CHANGE: 5/8

The very first hearing on one of our post-Bruen lawsuits challenging a knife ban on Second Amendment grounds has been scheduled. The hearing on Knife Rights’ lawsuit challenging California’s ban on switchblade (automatic) knives with a blade 2-inches and greater will be on DATE CHANGE: May 8th at 2:00 PM before District Court Judge James E. Simmons, Jr., in Courtroom 4B of the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse in San Diego (Click for directions).

Spectators are welcome; it could either be somewhat boring or quite interesting, depending on how the judge responds with questions of the attorneys. Note that it is not expected that the judge will issue a decision at the hearing, that could take months.

If attending, please dress appropriately (business casual at a minimum), and note that you will have to go through security, so leave your knives in your car or at home and your cell phone, if you want to bring it, will need to be checked with security as they are not permitted. Allow a little extra time for getting through security.

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

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “Under Supreme Court precedent, California’s ban on these common and constitutionally protected automatically opening (switchblade) knives cannot pass muster and must be enjoined. Automatically opening knives that are banned in California are widely legally possessed in at least 43 of 50 states. There is no question that these knives are ‘commonly owned for lawful purposes, including self-defense’ and therefore cannot be banned.”

Knife Rights last year won a similar Second Amendment lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia.


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.