Flea Market Weapons
The fighters are coming armed for a fight, but they aren't headed to a battleground. They are going to classrooms all over Oklahoma. Many times, we only hear about weapons at school when it involves a firearm. However guns on campus are rather rare when compared to incidents involving knives, brass knuckles and even throwing stars.
The threat is real. In the last three years more than a dozen students were injured in knife-related incidents and schools confiscate hundreds of knives and other non-firearm weapons every year. But where are kids getting the weapons?
Fox 25 spent several weekends observing crowds at local flea markets and found many vendors selling knives, swords another other weapons. We found several instances where kids and teenagers were being allowed to handle and purchase weapons like brass knuckles and throwing knives without parents around.
We sent the son of a Fox 25 employee undercover, with hidden cameras rolling, into the flea markets. Each time the 16-year-old was able to hold, handle and test any item he wanted. The only questions ever asked were for payment. "I thought they would say no or ask me where my parents were or something," Garrett Perez, our undercover teenager said.
Perez is a student in the Putnam City School District, where a student was recently arrested for bringing swords, knives and fireworks into school. The district hasn't said what the student's intentions were, but for other students it was a scary experience.
"They're illegal on school campuses, but they are very easily concealed and it seems everyone's got one," Phil Stewart, the Security Supervisor for Harrah Public Schools told Fox 25, "They're very easily obtained. There are not a lot of scrupulous sellers out there at the places where these kids are buying them."
Stewart says he routinely confiscates weapons from students that even in the hands of adults are questionably legal. Oklahoma law says it's illegal to carry any "dagger, bowie knife, dirk knife, switchblade knife, spring-type knife, sword cane, knife having a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, blackjack, loaded cane, billy, hand chain, metal knuckles"
We checked with Oklahoma City police prior to conducting our undercover operation and officers said it's not illegal for a minor to just hold or walk out of a store with these sorts of knives in hand. You can read that law by clicking here. However, if you click here, you can read the law that spells out the rules regarding selling these weapons to minors.
There are exceptions to the law, such as using knives for appropriate recreational or educational purposes. One vendor explained to a group of adults during one of our visits that the knives are legal to have in your home as collectors, but are not legal to carry around.
We attempted to talk to the vendors who sold to our 16-year-old, but the managers of the flea market stopped our TV camera shortly after we showed up on the property. The managers said all their vendors follow the law and would never sell weapons to kids without their parents present. They refused to allow us to interview the vendors without seeing all our raw undercover video.
It should be noted, that Fox 25 also checked out the Norman Medieval Fair to see if kids were buying weapons at the event. Our hidden cameras saw one underage boy in a tent selling swords and knives, but then the vendor asked him to step back and referenced a sign that said kids under the age of 18 were not allowed to even handle the weapons. When we talked to the vendor he told us they sell in many states and Oklahoma law is very clear on the subject of not selling weapons to minors.