As I was writing this, authorities in Sydney, Australia, were still investigating a pair of bloody mid-April stabbings, including one which left six people — five women and one man — dead and another in which one of the victims was a church bishop.

Only days before, I’d had a conversation with Doug Ritter, founder and top man at Knife Rights, Inc., an activist outfit created to protect the right of the people to keep and bear … blades. After all, when the Second Amendment was adopted back in 1791, the carrying of knives was as common as the carrying of rifles, muskets or even pistols, openly or concealed.

Knives in Colonial America and subsequently in the 13 states were everyday tools. Yet today, in many states, they may be regulated by blade length, design and so forth. Certain types of knives, such as switchblades, are outlawed in many jurisdictions. Still, they are “arms” in every sense of the word, and Ritter’s position is that knives are protected by the Second Amendment, and he gets no argument from me.

Ritter reminded me that more people are killed by slashing or stabbing than are killed with rifles or shotguns of any type. In 2022, according to FBI data (the most recent year for which it is available), 1,216 people were murdered with knives or cutting instruments. That same year, 489 people were murdered with rifles (of any kind), and 161 died from shotgun blasts.

So, what Australia just reminded the world about gun control is that restrictive firearms policies do not prevent murderous mayhem. Writing recently at TheGunMag,com, where I’m trying to retire as editor, I looked at a handful of stabbings in February and March. It seems to be a growing trend, with incidents in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Palm Beach, Palo Alto, Chicago and Beltsville, Maryland.

Outa The Kitchen!

Ritter told me something else I’d never really considered about all of these knife-related homicides. Turns out a lot of them are apparently committed with kitchen knives.

In theory, anyway, the kitchen is apparently a place where a lot of arguments erupt, and knives are within easy reach. Butcher’s knives, paring knives, steak knives and other utility knives one might see in an infomercial any weekend morning; they are right there, ready to be drawn, pulled from a drawer, or grabbed off a kitchen counter.

Ritter had gotten this tidbit from a pathologist at some knife show he was attending. Now, consider this: Anybody can purchase a knife, no questions asked, at any hardware, sporting goods or kitchen store. There are no background checks, no waiting periods, no permits to purchase; none of the encumbrances attached to buying and owning firearms. Whether it is a hunting knife, carving knife, bread knife or folding knife, if you have the cash, you can carry your purchase out the door.

Down in Australia back in 1996, the government imposed sweeping bans on certain types of firearms following the Port Arthur massacre. They took tens of thousands of guns away from people in what was laughingly called a “buyback” (the government never owned them in the first place), but it was actually “compensated confiscation.” A similar situation erupted more recently in nearby New Zealand following an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which left 51 people dead.

Into this debate jumped Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, pointing out the obvious.

“American gun prohibitionists frequently whine about the alleged ‘insanity’ represented by millions of private citizens who are legally armed in public,” he observed in a prepared statement. “True insanity is disarming the public, leaving them defenseless against madmen who attack without warning, and literally face no resistance from their victims.”

What he said does make sense. He referred to research over the years, which has suggested armed citizens use firearms in self-defense anywhere from a half-million to more than 2 million times a year. Most of the time, nobody fires a shot since criminals hoping to live long enough to become recidivists prudently beat feet when suddenly staring into the muzzle of a handgun, rifle or shotgun held by a prospective victim.

Gottlieb also noted that the carrying of firearms openly or concealed for self-defense is a no-no in Australia.

Ever hear the phrase, “he brought a knife to a gunfight?” It has happened, and the decedents provide ample evidence it is a losing proposition to pull a knife when you’re facing a citizen armed with a gun.

Utility Tools

We live in a different time than when I was growing up. One day in 8th-grade shop class, the teacher needed to cut something, reached in his pocket and came up empty. He then looked at me.

“Workman, let me borrow your knife.” There were probably a dozen other kids standing there, and nobody so much as blinked an eye when I handed him the pocketknife everybody knew I carried. This was a very long time ago, and even the principal knew that two-bladed folder was in my pocket.

I lost that knife while hiking up a ridge in Mount Rainier National Park one summer. By then, it had lost one of the handles (scales), and I had cemented a piece of dyed leather as a replacement. It was either a folding Case or Western model, with a clip point blade and stockman’s blade, both honed to razor sharpness. My dad and grandpa taught me at an early age how to properly keep a knife sharp, and I absorbed their wisdom like a human sponge.

Most of us in the shooting world consider a good knife to be part of our daily carry gear. I don’t know a single “gun guy” who doesn’t have a folder clipped to the inside of their trouser pocket.

CCRKBA’s Gottlieb told me with no quip intended to keep an eye on Australia. After last month’s rampages, he would not be surprised to read where the Aussie government was moving to ban knives, or at least regulate them heavily.

Happy Ending

Remember the name Christine Jennejahn, an 85-year-old resident of rural Bingham County, Idaho, located south of Idaho Falls in the Gem State’s southeast corner.

Proving they make ‘em tough in Idaho, this lady survived a brutal attack in her own home and had the wherewithal to grab a handgun and send her assailant on a one-way trip to the infernal regions. The guy she plugged was identified as Derek Ephriam Condon, who lived just long enough to shoot Jennejahn, but she was expected to recover.

According to KTVB News in Boise, this deadly encounter began when the suspect broke into Jennehahn’s home at about 2 a.m. Also in her home was her disabled son. Condon reportedly aimed a gun at the woman, then hit her on the head and handcuffed her while he searched for any valuables. He threatened to kill her. She told him about two safes in the basement.

At some point, according to the KTVB narrative, Jennejahn was able to reach her handgun, a .357 Magnum, and conceal it. When Condon came back into the room, she drew the handgun and shot him twice in the chest. He fired before he fell dead on the kitchen floor.

Now, here’s the most dramatic part of the story. The elderly woman remained handcuffed for about ten hours until her son reportedly woke up, and she called for help. Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolly ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide.

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