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Juneau, AK 99801

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Juneau Police Department

Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"

Q. Hello,
I am in the market for a device for personal protection, and I was wondering what the laws are regarding switchblades. If they are illegal to carry, and possess, or are they allowed if you store one in a car. If they are, my next question is why guns are legal, and switchblades are not. Also, what does JPD recommend for somebody looking for a personal protection device?

Dear Juneau Resident,

You might want to review Alaska Statute 11.61.220, which prohibits the possession or transport of a switchblade knife. That law, misconduct involving weapons in the 5th degree, seems to speak to most of your question.

As far as why guns are legal and switchblades are not, that was the decision of our elected officials. There are sources where you can read more about the discussion when the law was passed and it can help with understanding the spirit and motivation behind a certain piece of legislation. Also, remember that guns are illegal in many circumstances, when someone is impaired, a felon with a concealable gun, someone committing other crimes and having a gun on them, the gun is used recklessly or to illegally threaten someone, etc...

The most important personal protection device for officers, civilians, anyone...is something that will never be in a picture with someone wearing dark sunglasses and posing. It's the human mind.

You can proactively protect yourself by locking your house. Don't show your money, jewelry, debit card to people who might take advantage of that. Don't be involved with drugs, because that puts you in contact with criminals who might hurt you. Avoid excessive alcohol use and any person who might take advantage of that situation.

If all of those common sense preventative measures are overcome, then you need to know your legal rights when it comes to protecting yourself. Then you can use any item for personal protection. When an airplane was taken over on 911, one of the devices used against the bad guys was hot water. That item is very effective when used to compromise someone's ability to see, breathe, or think. It is always worth remembering that any device you use can be used against you if you don't keep control of the item. This is one of the factors, along with training, ability, and comfort level, to keep in mind when you select the legal personal protection device that is best for you and your circumstances.

The fact is, there is nothing you can buy that in and of itself provides for personal protection. The most important factor is always going to be prospective victim involved and his or her decision making, defensive measures (locking doors, low-risk behavior and associations), and ability to recognize when something very bad has happened and committ 100% to using any available tool to survive.

Recommendation-Train your mind for events where your personal safety is threatened. You can't purchase anything that will replace that process.


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