Is a Steak Knife Considered a Concealed Weapon ?

Our legislature has not provided its own definition of the terms "dirk" or "dagger." Nevada court has stated, however, that "a dagger is a short weapon used for thrusting and stabbing and that stabbing is using a pointed weapon to wound or kill." Huebner v. State, 103 Nev. 29, 30 n.1, 731 P.2d 1330, 1331-32 n.1 (1987) (citing the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (1983)). Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1976) defines a dirk as "a long straight-bladed dagger." Alternately, a dirk is described as "a short sword formerly worn by British junior naval officers." Id. Thus, in most cases a dirk appears to be simply a type of dagger. "Relevant factors to consider" when determining whether a knife is a dirk or dagger include whether the knife has handguards and a blade that locks in place. Bradvica v. State, 104 Nev. 475, 477, 760 P.2d 139, 141 (1988). Thus, this court held that a small pocket knife with a 2 5/16 inch spring-loaded blade with less than 2 inches along the sharpened edge was not a dirk or dagger for purposes of NRS 202.350(1)(b)(2). Id. at 476-77, 760 P.2d at 140-41. A steak knife is a "pointed" implement that may be employed as a weapon "for thrusting and stabbing." Nevertheless, a steak knife is not primarily designed or fitted for use as a weapon. A steak knife does not have handguards to prevent the hand from slipping onto the blade if it is used as a stabbing implement. Further, we doubt that the legislature sought to bar the concealment of common household items when it enacted the statutory provisions prohibiting concealment of a dirk or dagger. Penal statutes should be strictly construed and any reasonable doubts resolved in favor of the accused. See Sheriff v. Hanks, 91 Nev. 57, 60, 530 P.2d 1191, 1193 (1975). For these reasons, we conclude that a steak is not a dirk or dagger as a matter of law. This does not end our inquiry. NRS 202.350(1)(b)(3) also prohibits carrying a concealed "pistol, revolver or other firearm, or other dangerous or deadly weapon".