If you’re one of the roughly 13 million people who live in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we have some good news for you: the switchblade ban in Pennsylvania has been repealed and is now in effect.
Thanks to the hardworking lobbyists at American Knife & Tool Institute and Knife Rights, a repeal of the switchblade ban in the state was passed and signed by the governor in November. The repeal officially took effect January 2, 2023.
Here’s a quote from Penn. state representative Martin Causer, who sponsored the bill that repealed the ban:
“I am pleased we were able to work together to finally get rid of this antiquated law that needlessly infringed on citizens’ rights and put knife manufacturers here at a competitive disadvantage. Thank you so much to American Knife & Tool Institute for your strong advocacy in getting this bill across the finish line.”
This means Pennsylvania is now the 45th state to allow the manufacturing and carrying of automatic knives.
If you’re curious about the contents of the bill, you can find more here.
The Knife Rights’ Ohio Knife Law Preemption bill officially went into effect on September 13, 2022. This means vague and complicated local laws across the state have been eliminated.
Originally, Ohio had a firearm preemption law that prevented local municipalities from regulating firearms. Knife advocacy groups like Knife Rights worked to change the term from firearm to arms. This expanded the law to include knives as well as firearms.
According to Doug Ritter of Knife Rights, “knife law preemption is a criminal justice reform that repeals and prevents local ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere within a state.”
In fact, the knife advocacy organization held a signing ceremony for the bill, which was attended by Ethan Becker, Governor Steve Bullock, activist Joe Paschal, ACLU of Montana Director of Advocacy and Policy S.K. Rossi, and more.
Even cooler, all involved received an inscribed Pro-Tech SBR (Short Bladed Rockeye) automatic knife.
Texas Knife Bill Moves Forward
While all of this was happening, a bill in Texas that would remove location-based restrictions on knives in the state moved forward after it was passed out of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee. This bill — along with its companion House bill — are still in the early stages of passage, so it would still need to pass a committee and both chambers.
The arrests of knife owners in New York continues.
More than four years after the Village Voice published an exposé on how vague wording in the statutes have led to thousands of arrests against mostly minority knife owners in New York City, the arrests are still going on.
Even after lobbying from Knife Rights and the passage of two bills by the state’s legislature clarifying the law (which were ultimately vetoed), police are still using gravity knives as an excuse to arrest law-abiding citizens.
But, “tenacious dems” — as Knife Rights puts it — have continued to work on stopping the arrests in New York City. The state assembly just passed a bill that would completely remove “gravity knives” from New York criminal statutes. It passed unanimously. The state senate will soon vote on a companion bill, and I expect it to be passed near unanimously as well.
Knife Rights secured yet another victory — this time for the people of Montana.
A switchblade ban repeal and knife preemption bill was officially signed into law by Montana Governor Steve Bullock this week.
This means that switchblades (also known as automatic knives) are now legal to own and carry in the Treasure State. The knife preemption part of the bill ensures that the law is clear throughout the state. Local knife ordinances no longer apply if they are stricter than the state-wide knife law.
Unlike some bills, HB 155 takes effect immediately, so if you’re in Montana and want to buy an automatic knife, there’s no need to wait.
Despite bipartisan support from the Virginia General Assembly, the bill to allow switchblades to be made in Virginia and sold to other states was vetoed by Governor Ralph Northam.
The switchblade commerce bill — known as SB1251 — had passed the Virginia House of Delegates 57 to 42 (with one no vote) and passed the Senate of Virginia 25 to 15. It was sent to the governor’s desk for a signature, but Northam announced that he would veto the bill Thursday.
Knife Rights has announced it is appealing a case related to the abusive enforcement of New York’s gravity knife ban to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, a panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr in the suit brought by Knife Rights. Knife Rights alleges that the city’s policy of treating pretty much any locking folder as an illegal gravity is unjust.
We’ve written about this case for a few years now (read my 2011 article on the initial lawsuit) and have covered all the twists and turns of the story — including efforts by the state legislators to remedy the issue only to be twice thwarted by the governor.
With the appeals court ruling in favor of the city, Knife Rights only has one more option: the Supreme Court. The lobbying organization is submitting a petition for a writ of certiorari, which asks the highest court in the land to hear the appeal.
The Supreme Court is asked to hear roughly 7,000 to 8,000 cases each year but only picks a small handful. So, the odds of the court accepting the case is slim.
Commonly called KOPA, the act would remove restrictions on the interstate trade of automatic knives while also giving additional protections to knife owners traveling through states without worrying about the local laws. There are currently 44 states who allow some carrying or ownership of switchblades.
Bill Introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker
“I am pleased to introduce the Knife Owners Protection Act,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who introduced the bill. “This legislation would provide law-abiding knife owners the appropriate protection when transporting knives across state lines. It would also repeal the antiquated Federal Switchblade Act. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to advance this sensible policy for knife owners.”
KOPA is the baby of Knife Rights, an advocacy organization for knife owners. Knife Rights and its chairman Doug Ritter have been working on KOPA for more than eight years. The organization wrote it in 2010 and first introduced it in 2013.
I lived in New York for a few years — first upstate and then down in the city. During this time, I resigned myself to the fact that I should never carry a knife outside a slipjoint concealed deep in my pocket. This is why:
On a ruling of 6-1, the state’s highest court upheld the conviction of a man who had an assisted-opening knife under the theory that it was an illegal switchblade.
How did not just one but several courts agree that a spring-assisted knife was a switchblade? Let’s try to follow the logic.
Facts About the Case
Let’s start with some details about the case.
Defendant Steven Berrezueta was on his way to work at the mailroom of an investment company when he was stopped and arrested in the subway after an officer noticed a knife protruding from his rear pants’ pocket.
It doesn’t say the type of knife except that it was a “United States Army-themed knife” that he bought off the internet for use in his job in the mailroom. I imagine it was a dirt cheap knife like this one. There is talk of a button, but I think they might mean flipper tab. Not too sure about that one.
So, Berrezueta was charged with carrying a switchblade among other things.
If you live in Louisiana — the same great state Knife Depot is based in — then we have good news for you.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill that repeals the state’s antiquated ban on switchblade knives. Although the bill was signed by the governor on May 25, it doesn’t officially take effect until August 1.
The repeal was another victory for the knife community spearheaded by Knife Rights. The knife advocacy organization lobbied to get members of the state’s congress to draft and pass the bill.
The bill — titled HB892 — legalized the buying and carrying of switchblades as long as there is no “intentional concealment on one’s person.” The wording is a bit vague, but Knife Rights said it was necessary to add so sheriffs and state police wouldn’t oppose the bill.