I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that all Pagans spend 15 minutes at the local library before buying any Athame, Sword, or Staff... . At any library you can get access to the General Laws of the State... In Mass. these are the M.G.L.A (by West Publishing). One of my instructors gave my some photocopied materilas regarding the CURRENT way to possess a dangereous weapon in the various states in New England. Mass has the strictest, also since I live in Mass, let me relate what I have found (I have also discussed this area with several police officers who dont know that I am a Pagan).
M.G.L.A Chapter 269, Section 10 (Mass. General Law Annotated)
(Quoted) Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carriers on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stilletto (Note: This spike like knife) dagger, dirk, any knife having a double-edged blade.... . (Note: the above para. covers ANY knife or knife like object, including knives, blades, Athames, Swords, etc... I doesn't matter if it has an edge of not... REPEAT EVEN IF IT IS NOT SHARPENED)... Let's continue... .
M.G.L.A Chapter 269, Section 10b (Para 1/2)
(Quoted) ... or whoever when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace (Note: Several Pagan Covens have been arrested in the past while having circles in a public park), is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those in paragraph (a), shall be punished by IMPRISONMENT for not less than TWO and ONE-HALF YEARS nor more than five years in the STATE PRISON, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of corrections, EXCEPT that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifity dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction. (End of Section).
Upon questioning several police officers/deputies etc (Salem PD, Essex SWAT Team, Boston Cops, Cocord MA, etc). I found out that many people have been arrested because they had a sword or staff or baton or bootknife, etc that they had just bought with them... the cop saw it and POOF they got arrested and thrown into jail. Their collective advice was to transport the "dangerous weapons" the way that firearms are transported... LOCKED IN THE TRUNK or TRANSPORTED IN THE BACKSEAT IN A LOCKED CONTAINER (an aluminum case for a cerimonial sword is about 100$, with lock). The "Weapon" must remain locked in the box and away from your immediate control from the time you leave your house, until the time you arrive at you destination (NOT A PUBLIC PARK).
As I spoke to several of these officers I asked "What about religious services", (Circles and such). I was informed that if they take place on private property there is no problem, except that Hotels, Motels, and the like are not considered private property. If the obsevance is on private property AND the "Weapons" are transported properly so as not to be easily accessable in the vehicle, AND kept out of sight... Then there are no problem... But beware if you go walking down the street with a five foot staff, or drive to Rites with your two handed sword and scarrab (sp?) tied across the back of your motorcycle.
This message is only meant to get you to consider you own LEGAL SAFETY when you attend you next circle out in the park, beach. Or like the circles held at the Parks in Salem, Rites and such...
Please for your own safety... Read... Ask QUESTIONS... BE CAREFULL In most of New England you can go to jail for carrying a small Athame for a longer period of time than if you where walking down the street with a machine gun.... BE CAREFUL... and Blessed BE!!
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