Knife on a plane: Criminal?
February 8, 2010 1:23 PM   Subscribe

This weekend I brought a knife on a plane twice (and made a video of it). Can I be charged for this?

I am in Canada by the way, and the flights took place inside Canada, although I did have to pass through international security. The knife was zytel (plasic), which is why it didn't set off the alarms, but not particularly dangerous -- more of a letter opener, which is the main thing I use it for. I did not hide it from security, but I didn't go out of my way to show it to them either. I blogged it as well, which may or may not be relevant. I had no intention of committing any criminal act of course. I've read that others who've brought knives on a plane accidentally have been hassled, but I haven't seen anyone who's been charged...
posted by glider to Law & Government (6 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: this seems a little too stunty and not enough question-y to get around the deep amount of hatred it has inspired. -- jessamyn

I accidentally brought a knife in my suitcase on a recent trip. The knife made it through outbound security but was confiscated on the return end. Nothing happened. The guy looked at me like I was a moron and I gave up the knife and that was that.

You're looking for more publicity though, right? So your name might end up on a list, and you might enjoy more frequent/thorough security screenings. But this smells stunty.
posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

You're asking a specific question about your potentially serious criminal legal liability for an act for which there is ample proof, should you be charged. You should ask the mods to delete this question and contact a competent criminal defense lawyer in your jurisdiction.
posted by jedicus at 1:36 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Look, everyone knows that security measures at the airport are just beautiful security theater. It is people like you who are trying to prove a point no one actually needs proved that makes getting through the airport such a goddamn hassle. Seriously - leave it alone.
posted by meerkatty at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2010 [10 favorites]

I did not hide it from security, but I didn't go out of my way to show it to them either.

I had no intention of committing any criminal act of course.

So you were aware you had this with you and then ignored signs and regulations saying you'd have to remove or declare it? If there are applicable laws, then yes, you did just admit to breaking them. You realize this, correct?
posted by mikeh at 1:45 PM on February 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

I had no intention of committing any criminal act of course.

You brought a knife on a plane, which you know damn well is against the rules of getting on a plane pretty much anywhere (check out item #1 at that link, concealed knives of any length, which are an illegal item in Canada), which is why you thought it would be cute to film it. You already committed a criminal act.
posted by so_gracefully at 1:48 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Meet Nathaniel Heatwole.

Or there's Haisong Jian, who snuck in through the airport exit as a romantic stunt to see of his girlfriend and is awaiting his sentence—and he's lucky to be only looking at 30 days/$500, after a US Senator called for his visa to be revoked as an example.

I don't have time to Google now, but I'm certain I've heard dozens of other anecdotes where people get actual criminal charges for things as light as making an offhand joke. I don't know the outcome of all these cases, but I'd bet a lot of the charges were dropped—but still.

Airport security might be stupid and insane. But unless you're willing to be charged with a crime for proving your point, you need to be very extra careful around it. If I were you, I'd delete the online content and stop gloating about it.

(This is in the US, so YKMV.)
posted by rafter at 2:14 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

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