California's SB274 - Anything being done about it?

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May 1, 2000
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We are well-aware that the banning of switchblades is plain stupid, but they really feel there is a threat multiplied by a spring. It'd be real good to get some stats on what kind of knives are used by criminals, and specifically what kind have been used against LEO's. That way we can show that switchblades aren't the problem, criminals are.

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Jason aka medusaoblongata
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"Is not giving a need? Is not receiving mercy?" - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about." - Lazarus Long
"Knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting." - Michel Foucault
 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Jason (Medusaoblongbrainpart
smile.gif
) just sent me private mail to the effect of "a flood of cheap switchblades at flea markets may not be such a good idea". He worries that kids will abuse 'em, scare people, possibly even see them as weapons of choice.

I don't *think* the actual number of street attacks with edged weapons would rise...but we might see a flood of bad press regardless. California's media is quite capable of inventing a crime wave where none exists.

So OK, let's do like this: let's leave PC653k in there in it's entirety, as currently phrased and interpreted legalizing stuff like the Sifu, and graft the above bill in on top of it. That way, honest folk keep all their current carry rights, nothing changes, but crooks get nailed good.

Does that work?

The only wording change would be to part #1 - instead of "replacing PC653k entirely", it would be grafted onto the end of 653k.

It also leaves the relationship with 12020 (legalizing concealed carry of megafolders) obviously intact. In theory, if a prohibited person carried concealed a knife they legally couldn't carry, it would invoke the felony "dirk or dagger" provision in 12020, REALLY nailing 'em.

Ya, that works.

Jim
 
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P.C. 653k is a misdemeanor, 12020 is a wobbler, BUT usually charged as a felony...Personally, a few weeks back, I grabbed a guy for 12020, for have a locked- open lockback concealed inside his jacket. My sgt. wanted to go with 653k, but I felt this particular knife did not fill the requirements/definitions. BUT what if this knife was closed, but concealed inside a front pocket? Would I bother to sit in the street at 2AM, trying to flick the knife open, in order to see if it fits with this new proposed 653k definition, because it does not fit the 12020 section...All this sounds like another stupid attempt to legislate away a problem that does not exist; and it makes the laws already on the books nearly impossible to enforce (i.e. the assault weapons stuff, which takes a whole shift to sift through in order to come up with the correct section)...

--dan

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pint1.gif

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
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Co-Moderator of the General Flashlight, Lantern, & Headlamp Discussion Board at www.candlepowerforums.com

Bladeforums oldtimer...Oct./'98...

1*
 
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Being a long-time California gun owner, I've seen the effect of 'sensible' gun laws.

Our current Handgun design safety law, intented to eliminate 'junk guns', has only proven to be a sham. The inexpensive Lorcin is on the certified list, while the legitimate hobbiest handgun market is dying. Choice is limited, prices are high, most of my favorite gun shops are struggling or shutdown.

SB 274 does not have independant lab certification testing -- not yet, at least.
(Could you imagine a 55 page 'flick test' protocal procedeure?)

Mr. March and Jason have some good ideas. However, the premise that knife laws could follow some aspects of handgun laws, might create a legislative preception that knives should be regulated the same as handguns.

More importantly, here's my dilema: I want to participate in the effort to prevent criminalization of knife ownership, but I already detect fractures in our fledgling political front.

ATKI or Jim March's grass roots appoarch?

I want to pitch effort were it has the best chance to stave off draconian laws, and not fall into NRA-like dissention.

I've heard Jim March, he's a proven do'er

I'd like to hear AKTI's viewpoints.

For now, I'll write to my representives with my personal views regarding SB274.

Seth

[This message has been edited by Seth Thomas (edited 06-02-2001).]
 
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Ok, I'm not from or living in California, but, the laws there are bearing great resemblance to Canadian laws, so here are my thoughts ...

Option A:
Step 1: Pass proposed legislation "as is."

Step 2: Change all "Welcome to California" road signs to read: "Welcome to CANA-forni-DA"

Step 3: Weep uncontrollably.

OR (and I was thinking to suggest this, before reading the thread through)

Option B:
Change the proposed legislation. Kick, scream, jump up and down, whatever it takes. Since it seems that California's the place where gun & knife grabbing in the U.S. bleeds from, it seems that California is the place where something along the lines of JM's "Knife Violence Reduction Act" should start. If left-wing-insanity inspired law can inspire new law in the other 49, perhaps sensible legislation can do the same?

In a slightly more relaxed vein ... In Canada, most one-handers are already illegal, by the letter of the law, for the same reasons - if it can be flicked open, detent/bias etc. aside, it's a gravity knife - knives here pretty much have to be tightened beyond usability to be 100% legal (but then they're not so much knives as they are expensive kubotan). And there's no room for concealment (even a SAK in your pocket is a legal no-no).

Yet this doesn't prevent sporting goods/knife retailers from carrying and selling them, and doesn't stop folks from buying them and carrying them. The reason for this is that unless you're doing something "stupid," the constabulary has no reason to be bugging you about it, and even if you are questioned about your "pocket knife," demonstrating the opening method (not "flicking"!) rather than handing it over can get you out of significant troubles. Also refraining from using the word "knife" when talking with inquisitive LEO's is helpful. "Do you wish to see how my pocket tool is opened? Why, certainly officer, allow me to demonstrate!"

That said ... kick, scream, and jump up and down!!

Jon

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What's that - bag of tricks?
... Bag of knives!
 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Two things:

You bet we need ATKI's input here. To that effect, I've posted messages pointing to this thread in the Buck and Spydie forums, and Jason EMailed Buck and others within ATKI, again pointing 'em to this thread.

Second, there's three possible variants on the proposed legislative code above:

1) "Total replacement" - by stripping out the existing PC653k text and replacing it with that, we legalize honest people's carry of switchblades, BaliSongs, etc. So this is the "most radical".

2)"Keep a specific switchblade ban" - Jason is in favor of stripping out the existing PC653k, putting the new code in, and then adding to it a section that says "by the way, it's still illegal for anybody to carry a switchblade, defined as a true springloaded blade that opens/extends under pure spring pressure, triggered by a button or switch and having a blade longer than 2".

Net result: BaliSongs just got legalized, and there's no possible way of mistaking a Sifu/Axis/etc as a "gravity knife".

3) "Graft option" - take PC653k as is, in it's entirety as currently written, and add on the "no convict carry" provisions as above. It leaves us honest folk in exactly the same boat we're in now, which is acceptable if that's all we can get.

Conclusion: it appears I'm going to have to make an appointment with the staff members of the bill's author next week. What I'm thinking right now is, I'll start with proposing option #1 or #2 and if that's falling on deaf ears, hold option #3 as a fallback position?

Comments/questions/suggestions welcome! Also, if anybody else wants in on what's going on in SF, cool, no problem!

Jim
 
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Good God. This is starting to get ridiculous. We need a quick reality check before more people pour in here convinced that the evil AKTI has just made folding knives illegal in California.

Almost every state has a switch-blade law identical to California's without any exemption whatsoever for one-hand openers. If an overzealous DA wants to prosecute any folding knives as switch-blades (or more likely "gravity knives") in these states, there's nothing stopping him from doing so. Even in the worst case scenario - the one-hander exemption is completely removed, which is what the CDAA wanted - then California's law would be no different than the rest of the country's.

Even with the new language in the proposed CA law, there is still a clear exemption for normal one-handers; there is a lot to stop a DA from prosecuting. The law says that a knife is exempt if it "has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade." It doesn't matter if you can flick open the blade; as long as there's some type of resistance, the knife is exempt. Plus, the knife is also exempt if it has a mechanism that "that biases the blade back toward its closed position." Again, it doesn't matter if you can manually manipulate that mechanism to make it ineffective; as long as the mechanism is there, the knife is exempt.

The sky isn't falling, folks. I don't like the new language, but I really don't see how it outlaws any knife that can be flicked open. Yes, the law can be misinterpreted (as can any law), but I think the chances of of a DA trying to prosecute someone for carrying any normal folding knife are incredibly small.

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Cerulean

"The hairy-armed person who figured out how to put an edge on a suitable rock made it possible for us to be recognizably human in the first place." - J.K.M.

[This message has been edited by cerulean (edited 06-02-2001).]
 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Cerulean, first thing, you have no idea just how bad California's state judiciary and law enforcement agencies are. They range from mediocre to nightmarish.

The California Supremes just ruled that any juror who even ponders (during deliberation) questions about whether or not the law is fair, can be thrown off the jury.

Now, what the state Supreme Court has also ruled is that people can be convicted for crimes even though they're not breaking the letter of the law, if it was the INTENT of the legislature to criminalize their action. That's the case Johnny, a lawyer, cited earlier in this thread.

Under that binding precedent, a court can pull up the official legislative intent records and determine that there was an attempt to ban snapopen-capable knives, BASED ON WHAT ATKI HAS ALREADY PUT IN THE RECORD!

Put another way, the courts can recognize that the legislature was trying to do something and run with that, even if the legislature did so incompetently.

Madness.

This bill in it's current form appears to be an unmitigated disaster.

Jim
 
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Cerulean - You make interesting points regarding SB274. Frankly, I'm still unclear if the proposed bill is good, bad or neutral.

But, I'm a jaded Californian, who's seen many obsfucated laws. I hold little faith that the intent of lawmakers and the real world effects of their bills, are truly predicatable.

(I doubt that our California power crisis was intented by any policy maker, yet somehow here we sit in the dark, with rising energy costs.)

BTW, I know one Deputy DA conducting research on the Onion/Kershaw Speed Safe mechcanism. Not because a BG used a $100+ knife in a crime. But, a complaint was filed over the possession of a cheap $10 knock-offs being sold to minors. Like she says, It may not be a defined 'switch-blade', but laws are made for interpretation.

-Seth
 
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Yes, Laws are made for interpretation...

This makes me SICK.

We are talking about POCKETknives...

A damned pocketknife.

Can you believe it?

I wish every Politician in California could read this.

Do you know how STUPID you look right now?

Legislating damned POCKETknives?

Interpreting laws regarding POCKETknives?

Who cares if a POCKETknife has a spring in it, you can flick it, pop it, drop pop, latch drop, flip, twirl or fart it open...?

These people act as if a POCKETknife is a HAND GRENADE.

Hey, there's an idea...give the G-Bangers Frags...by the dumptruck load.

Maybe when faced with a real CRISIS, MORONS in Government won't be so quick to create them.

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Usual Suspect Some of my Knives and other neat things
 
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Heh. I know... it's increadibly silly that we're forced to even debate the legalities of little pocket knives. Things are already pretty pathetic.
frown.gif


I agree that the Supreme Court decision that Johnny cited was very interesting and disturbing, and I thank him for pointing it out. (It's People v. Rubalcava by the way, rather than "Rubelcava" if anyone's having trouble finding it) I'm still sceptical though that a DA would defer to Senate committe analysis rather than the actual wording of the law when deciding whether or not to prosecute.

I don't want to try and debate what the Supreme Court case says, as frankly I'd be in way over my head, but the court does write:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">When interpreting a statute, "we turn first to the language of the statute, giving the words their ordinary meaning." ( People v. Birkett (1999) 21 Cal. 4th 226, 231 [87 Cal. Rptr. 2d 205, 980 P.2d 912].)</font>
And the proposed language of this statute contains what appears to be, at least to me, a clear exemption.

To be honest, my greatest fear right now is not that one-handers will become illegal under this law, but that a backlash against ATKI will be started by this thread. We could then lose the only organization that currently protects knife owners rights (in, you have to admit, at least some form) and there won't be anything to replace it.

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Cerulean

"The hairy-armed person who figured out how to put an edge on a suitable rock made it possible for us to be recognizably human in the first place." - J.K.M.
 
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cerulean,

I think it is incompetence, not malice.

And holding on to the only thing in town when it is THIS bad is like trusting the wolves to guard the flock, you know?

The other thread in this forum started today, he has some points and anyone that would deny those points that Member made, simply does not want to rock the boat.

I think History has proven his opinion to be correct.

I'm sorry to say, I think there is a conflict of interest here. With all due respect to all parties involved, would Gun Owners feel comfortable if the President of The National Rifle Association Owned a Firearms Manufacturing Firm and then through the NRA, sought "Band-Aid" (AT BEST) Legislation to stem the flow of "Imported, cheap firearms" that just happened to rip his Company off?

Again, with all due respect, I love some of Benchmade's Products and Mr. deAsis is the King when it comes to one of the types of knives that I love, the Balisong.

Be that as it may, this is cutting off the nose to spite the face. This is incredibly dangerous legislation to toy with.

AKTI, I said this a long, long time ago, was a great Concept, but they are going to have to learn one thing, they are going to have to learn from the NRA. Anyone can boo-hoo, bitch and moan all they want, the simple fact of the matter is, AKTI and Knife Collectors can scream "TOOLS!" all they want, a Politician and a Bureaucrat see only "WEAPON."

Until AKTI learns to stop compromising, in an attempt to appease the appetite of Politicians, an appetite that history has shown will never be sated, we are going to get nonsense like this.

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Usual Suspect Some of my Knives and other neat things
 
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Messages
668
Quothe JohnnyLightOn:
"It's obvious they (AKTI) have worked hard on this issue, spending a lot of time and money."

And THIS is the result of spending the memberships donations..??!!!

"Without their input, AB274 would undoubtably be a lot worse."

Really? I`d prefer to have this law written WITHOUT endorsement of the AKTI. I believe the AKTI has made this much worse by their involvement.

"No one else would have picked up the reins."

Why do you say that? What I see is Jim March "picking up the reins" on yet ANOTHER political trainwreck. At least someone with a decent grip on reality is involved now. The AKTI made this legislation WORSE by ending up, through utter incompetence, on the wrong side of the issue.

We need more folks like Jim March, and less "Institutes" like the AKTI. I trust a grassroots effort much more than an Institute of businessmen, no matter how well intentioned they may be.
 
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It seems like AKTI will fight if we can convince the Importers of "Saturday Night Assault Knives" to suggest to their overseas Manufacturers to add a ball/detent to their Flea-Market, E-bay trash they peddle...right?

rolleyes.gif


Better wake up AKTI, this is not about the knives or Gang Bangers, all of these things are diversions.

This is all about any POCKETknife that does not rely on a nail-nick to open the blade.

If you think otherwise, you simply don't understand the Anti-Weapons Movement...but you will learn.

They will come back, I don't care what kind of folder you have that is modern and has some sort of thumb stud, hole or disk, you can snap them ALL open.

Cold Steel? You can snap them...anything.

I'm 32 years old, when I was a Teenager, we all used to carry Buck 110 Folders, we would sit and work Gun Oil in the pivot area, they would snap after awhile...that is altering it, but that alteration is also what comes with wear over a few years. We accelerated the inevitable.

It's time for you guys to stand up and instead of starting to help people ban knives, even knives you do not agree with, it is time to stand up and ask the question;

"Why can't we concentrate on the criminal acts of people who will simply break any law you pass regarding weapons?"


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Usual Suspect Some of my Knives and other neat things
 
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SB274 is authored by Karnette who is a rabid gun grabbing Liberal. These Liberals are making Kalifornia a state segregated by the have group & have not group (which is the rest of us). These Liberals are using kids & fear to force their repressive agenda. In addition, the media is controlled by Liberals spewing their venon like when Rosie bushwacked Tom Selleck on her show. It's a up hill battle for the other side that wants to be heard.

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Ed Woo
[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Fire Horse (edited 06-03-2001).]
 
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Sorry for double post.

[This message has been edited by Fire Horse (edited 06-03-2001).]
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Seth Thomas:
Being a long-time California gun owner, I've seen the effect of 'sensible' gun laws.

More importantly, here's my dilema: I want to participate in the effort to prevent criminalization of knife ownership, but I already detect fractures in our fledgling political front.

ATKI or Jim March's grass roots appoarch?

I want to pitch effort were it has the best chance to stave off draconian laws, and not fall into NRA-like dissention.

I've heard Jim March, he's a proven do'er

I'd like to hear AKTI's viewpoints.

For now, I'll write to my representives with my personal views regarding SB274.

Seth
]</font>


Seth: I cannot speak for the AKTI as I am only 1/8 or 1/9 of the Board of Regents, however I can and often do speak for me. By all means jump to join the grassroots movement for sensible knife laws in the state of California. If we at the AKTI had thought they had a snowball's chance we would have saved the $40,000 we paid to the lobbiest (?) who told us that we would have to work with the PA's association to get any thing done. Very few of the Regents live or work in California. C. J. Buck does and has spent vast amounts of both time and money trying to work with the system. I am sure that he will do every thing he can to support this kind of "grassroots" movement. all the best, A. G.
 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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First thing, I am *begging* everybody here to stop with the accusations and bickering pointed at AKTI people such as AG, CJ Buck, etc.

OK? It just DOESN'T HELP.

We know that both CJ and AG mean well. Flaming them is ridiculous.

Now, AG, CJ, anybody reading this: I need to know if any sort of "criminal control" version of this bill was ever kicked around. I also need contact info for the CDAA staff that was involved in the negotiations surrounding this bill. Please. It's not too late to suggest "criminal control" as the answer and either leave the existing "honest citizen restrictions" in place or possibly even roll them back.

Everybody else: unless you've got something positive to add, back off. Trust me on this. Alienate AKTI people and there's no chance to fix it.

AG: if you really mean what you say about AKTI supporting "grassroots efforts", please let me know if a "criminal control" version of the bill was talked about, and contact info for the CDAA staff involved in this. Send me that contact info in private EMail, to [email protected] - we don't want them "flooded" just yet, if ever.

Jim
 
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The most important lesson I've learned from this thread is the edged tool political movement is young, yet it struggles against the same challenges the gun lobby has seen for the last eighty years.

Us RKBA types are a distrustful lot, often we've felt betrayed by our advocate groups, lawmakers, gun manufactuers, fellow sportsmen,.... this list goes on.

The fledgling knife lobby bears the burden of these scars. Before it can get on it's feet, the fractures start to open up.

Like Cerulean and Jim March have stated, there is greater harm of knife folk falling out amongest ourselves, than from incremental knife restrictions. Yes, we have to stop the inane laws. But, a consistant voice carries farther, and has more impact.

Don't agree with AKTI? Fine. Express that to the lawmakers as well as the stupidity of the proposed bills. Throw in with a grassroots group. But expending negative energy againest AKTI doesn't foster our cause, it only helps the Anti-RKBA types.

Is AKTI really for the RKBA knife owner? Did AKTI make a mistake with SB274? I don't know. I'm trying to find out.

Right now that's not nearly as important as the potential harm from us hanging ourselves with a rope of dissention.

I'm not willing to let one issue trash my hope in an organized edged tool lobby. One thing is for certain, the Anti-RKBA'ers won't stop until all the guns and public carry knives are removed from the citizens.

Seth


[This message has been edited by Seth Thomas (edited 06-04-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Seth Thomas (edited 06-04-2001).]
 

Jim March

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Messages
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OK, AG just came through. I now have some good contact info, and a probable date on the Assembly Safety Committee hearing, June 12th at 9:00am. I'll be monitoring that! Expect updates here and in new threads posted to the Politics and Main forums.

Cool. We've got enough time to do this, barely.

(Lesson for those taking notes: this is why you don't rip into an allied org, even when you disagree with 'em on a particular issue: that org probably has resources, contact info and information that you're liable to NEED. That's one reason you don't attack allies. There are LOTS of others!)

Next up: I have to make an appointment with the CDAA staff dealing with this. I have a clue who it might be. Getting in to see them this week is critical. The plan is to take some modest mid to high-end folders in, get them to understand that these aren't the problem, and then show why the new rules would ban them. Then offer an alternative.

Last, it's my opinion that we're only going to get one shot at this. We can't offer a less-restrictive alternative (that would legalize switchblades for the honest, fr'instance) and then switch back to "bare minimum acceptable" if that doesn't work. We could do that if we had two months and a pro lobbyist...instead, we've got two weeks and a single half-crazed computer tech
biggrin.gif
.

So that means keeping PC653k in it's CURRENT entirety, plus adding in the carry restrictions based on priors in order to solve this supposed "armed gangbanger" problem without screwing US. Also known as the "graft option" because we graft the new code onto the old.

Now, if somebody else thinks otherwise, cool, sing out
smile.gif
. 'Cuz without question, I ain't no expert at this.

What else...I gotta see if Mike Turber will let me act as a "BF representative"
smile.gif
. Note to self, call him tomorrow. And before the actual committee hearing date, we're going to have to organize a *bombardment* of every committee member with faxes, phone calls and letter. That's borrowed straight out of the California NRA Member's Council playbook...highly effective. Hang tight on that, timing is critical, y'all will get detailed contact method info when the time is right.

Jim
 
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