City of Seattle v. Evans (Majority and Dissent)Annotate this Case
Seattle Police Officer Michael Conners stopped a vehicle driven by Wayne Evans for speeding in the Central District of Seattle. As Conners approached Evans's vehicle, he observed furtive movements from Evans and his passenger, and smelled marijuana. Conners directed Evans to exit the vehicle and asked him whether he had any weapons. Evans responded that there was a knife in his pocket. Conners instructed Evans not to reach for the knife; Conners then reached into Evans's front right pocket, retrieved a fixed-blade knife with a black handle, and placed Evans under arrest for possession of a fixed-blade knife. The city of Seattle charged Evans with the unlawful use of weapons. The jury returned a general verdict of guilty, and Evans's conviction was affirmed by the superior court and the Court of Appeals. On appeal of that conviction, Evans argued that Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 12A.14.0801 violated his right to bear arms under article I, section 24 of the Washington Constitution and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution because the ordinance does not permit him to carry a small, fixed-blade "paring" knife for the purpose of self-defense. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals but on different grounds: the Court held that Evans' paring knife was not an arm entitled to constitutional protection, and that Evans therefore could not establish that SMC 12A.14.080 was unconstitutionally applied to him.