Skip to main content

Brown joins other attorneys general to support ban on butterfly knives

Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown (D). Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) joined 16 other attorneys general in an amicus brief this week to support the state of Hawaii’s effort to ban butterfly knives.

The brief requests that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of Hawaii allow an “en banc” hearing, or reconsideration by a panel of judges, to reassess a decision made in August that invalidated the state’s ban on butterfly knives.

In August, a panel of judges ruled that “Hawaii has not demonstrated that its ban on butterfly knives is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of regulating arms” under the Second Amendment. Hawaii banned butterfly knives in 1993 and made it a misdemeanor to manufacture, sell, transport, or possess them.

The panel connected the plaintiff’s appeal in Hawaii to last year’s Supreme Court decision of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The Bruen case focused on gun regulations, but the panel said the same “framework” applies to butterfly knives, which can be concealed and flipped open, and are also “arms” under the Second Amendment.

According to this week’s complaint, the panel’s “analysis gravely misunderstands Supreme Court precedent.”

The brief sites alleged errors by the panel that are inconsistent with Bruen such as the discussion about the meaning of “arms and misguided approach to the historical analysis.”

“The Bruen decision had a major impact on the way courts consider challenges to weapons safety laws under the Second Amendment, and it should be applied in a manner that leaves room for states to enact common-sense weapons laws,” Brown said in a statement. “Protecting Marylanders from harm is a top priority for this office, and we will continue to defend state laws that enact those protections.”

Judge blocks part of new Md. gun law that was about to take effect

The other attorneys general on the brief are from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, the state of Washington and Washington, D.C.

Back in Maryland, a judge issued a preliminary injunction Sept. 29 to stop part of a new sweeping gun law from taking effect. The judge concluded that the Supreme Court’s Bruen precedent meant the state’s new law was too broad. The judge ruled that provisions banning firearms in businesses that sell alcohol, all private buildings without permission and near public demonstrations would be considered unconstitutional.

The new law, which largely went into effect Oct. 1, still limits those to carry guns at other public places including parks, government buildings, race tracks and amusement parks.

The broader case challenging Maryland’s new gun control law continues.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

To republish, copy the following text and paste it into your HTML editor.


Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
Brown joins other attorneys general to support ban on butterfly knives