The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Legal Issues (page 1 of 6)

Knife Rights Gives Updates on WA & TX Knife Bills

Knife Rights is hot off the heels of helping get a switchblade ban repeal and knife law preemption bill passed in the state of Montana.

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.

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Legislation on ‘Gravity Knives’ in NY Moves Forward… Again

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.

What happens after that remains a question.

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Montana Repeals Switchblade Ban

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.

The legislation was really pushed by bill sponsor Rep. Casey Knudsen who argued that the initial ban was unnecessary. Here’s more from a January story in the Great Falls Tribune:

“There is no good reason they were banned in first place other than 1950s Hollywood movies depicting them as a weapon for delinquents and such,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen described switchblades as one “of the safest knives on the market,” adding they can be opened and closed with one hand. He said they are convenient for people with disabilities.

Like most knife bills that get passed, this was also supposed by libertarians and defenders of civil rights, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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Virginia Governor Vetoes Switchblade Commerce Bill

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.

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Knife Rights Appeals NYC Gravity Knife Case to Supreme Court

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.

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Knife Owners’ Protection Act Introduced to Senate

In a small but important step in getting the Federal Switchblade Act repealed and providing greater protection to knife owners, the Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2018 was officially introduced to the Senate. This is a companion to the same bill introduced to the House in 2017.

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.

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Spring-Assist Knives Might Now Be Illegal in New York State

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.

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Louisiana Switchblade Ban Repealed

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.

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Mother of Student Killed in Stabbing Wants to Reinstate TX Knife Ban

University of Texas at Austin

On the morning of May 1, 2017, a 21-year-old man walked onto the campus of the University of Texas at Austin carrying a Bowie knife described as having a 15-inch blade by some outlets and started indiscriminately stabbing students.

In the attack, three students were injured and a fourth student named Harrison Brown was killed.

Now the Texas Tribune is reporting that the mother of the student killed on that fateful day is working to get the repeal of a knife ban on nearly all knives in Texas reinstated.

“I would love to see that bill completely repealed,” Lori Brown told reporter Emma Platoff. “Let’s come up with a license, a timeframe, a background check. Mental health issues are also a big problem.”

Texas Knife Ban Repeal Passed Easily

A full repeal of all knife laws was going up for vote around the time of the attack last year, which put the legislation in doubt at the time. It was later brought back with an amendment that restricted some locations on large Bowie knives in direct response to the incident at UT. It passed almost unanimously and was signed by the governor.

As a father and human being, I can barely imagine the grief and pain she must face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a license and background checks for knives is simply not the answer.

As you can expect, Doug Ritter of Knife Rights does not agree either.

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Watch ‘Vice News’ Report on Knife Rights & NYC Gravity Laws

The issue of gun rights and laws is becoming an increasingly hot topic with people on both sides of the aisle digging in for a long and contentious fight.

But what similar issue can get both sides of the political spectrum fighting together for a common cause? Knife rights and laws.

I’ve written about this dozens of times, but an old law banning “gravity knives” in New York City has been abused by law enforcement to apprehend and arrest thousands of New Yorkers.

This topic is intriguing and caught the interest of Vice, which shot a short video detailing the background of Doug Ritter of Knife Rights and the NYC knife laws.

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