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Police seized 200 illegal knives from a Charlottetown store this week. (Charlottetown Police)

Charlottetown police seized 200 illegal knives Wednesday and warned members of the public they may be unknowingly carrying banned weapons.

Switchblade-style knives that can be opened with one hand — either by a spring-loaded mechanism or centrifugal force — are prohibited. 

Police said people may have purchased the knives at stores such as Bladez, where the seizure was made, but they should turn them into police.

On Thursday, Deputy Chief Gary MacGuigan said the knives are barred because they open so easily, increasing the danger they pose.

"If somebody was attacking you and they had their hand on you and had one hand [free], they could take this out of their pocket and use it as a weapon," he said, brandishing a spring-loaded knife.

MacGuigan said anyone with one of the knives would not face charges if they bring them to police. He said they are often bought by teenagers.

"It's one thing for them to have them. It's another thing for them to maybe show off and show people how to use them. So it is a concern for us," he said.

Thousands of switchblades sold

Tommy Gallant, the owner of Bladez, said he has sold about 2,000 switchblade-type knives since he opened a few months ago. He did not know they were illegal until the police contacted him.

"They came in and we complied. We took all our knives down from our board, as you can see, and we're in the process of bringing back in other ones that are legal," he said.

The University Avenue shop is offering a 10 per cent discount to anyone who bought an illegal knife at the store and who wants a new one. Gallant said he is out some money because of the seized weapons.

Police said a concerned citizen alerted them to the problem by bringing an illegal knife from Bladez into the station.