Even after carefully examining the case of young Freddie Gray`s arrest, officials are not convinced of the fact that him carrying a knife was an illegal act.
The confusion is sparked by the multitude and diversity of knife laws, which change from state to state, and which can even differ inside the state you are in.
For instance, in Maryland there is a specific set of laws regarding the possession of a blade, but in the city of Baltimore, those laws are completely different.
Gray`s knife was purchased legally, but under Baltimore`s laws, it is not allowed to carry one in public. However, one cannot assume that a person checks out every law of the city they are in, so as to verify if they are in conflict with local laws.
Therefore, it is quite easy to believe that Freddie Gray had no idea of the fact that he was violating the law by carrying a knife.
This confusion surrounding knife legislation makes it also very difficult for knife owners to comply with the state`s regulations, if the are not known by the general public.
Between 2012 and 2014, Baltimore has registered 4 homicides and over 180 aggravated assault cases with edged weapons (knives also belong in this category), so it`s easy to understand the point of view of Baltimore authorities, who classify certain types of knives as an illegal weapon.
There is also a statistic that shows that mainly black individuals are victims of the confusion surrounding the difference between a legal knife and an illegal one. Furthermore, Gray is not the only person to die following an encounter with the police because of this confusion.
Currently, six police officers have been charged with the murder of Freddie Gray, who succumbed at the hospital because of the severe spinal cord injury that he had sustained while under police custody.
Although, Gray was accused of carrying an illegal knife, the exact description of the edged weapon has not been released to the public. Many voices, including that of Baltimore`s top prosecutor, say that the knife Gray had in his possession was considered a legal weapon.
Police retorted saying that the weapon might have been considered legal in the state of Maryland, but it was classified as illegal in the city of Baltimore.
Knife right groups are fighting the system and demand that the same regulations regarding knife ownership and carrying rights be implemented across the US.
According to FBI statistics, blades are responsible for 12.2% of all homicides on US soil, whereas fire weapons vouch for 69% of homicides.
Image Source: the guardian