The optimist in me wants to believe that the fight to restore Americans’ God-given right to keep and bear knives is reaching critical mass. That isn’t to malign the efforts of the folks at KnifeRights, because they are the lever that started the ball rolling and have the most active hand in rolling it forward. Instead it is to highlight that the dominoes are falling at a rate faster than I can report, and that we couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful to Doug and the crew.
There are 3 legislative updates of note. The most consequential of these is the Mississippi preemption bill which has passed out of state house committee. Knife law preemption affects everyone living and working in a given state, protecting them from running afoul of local knife laws by crossing an arbitrary municipal boundary. KnifeRights is asking people who live or work in Mississippi to please contact your legislators and ask them to vote yes on HB 1294. You can find their contact info here.
The other two bills are more of the cleanup variety as they follow-up on KnifeRights’ victories in Oklahoma and Georgia.
As KnifeRights Chairman Doug Ritter told me in our interview at Blade Show last year, “The secret of KnifeRights is that we don’t take no for an answer”. If a legislative item is defeated or left out of a bill, they will be back the next session to try again.
Oklahoma enacted switchblade repeal and preemption last year. This year’s bill would remove daggers, dirks, bowie knives, and sword canes from the prohibited for carry list. As KnifeRights points out, this case illustrates the importance of preemption laws.
“With Knife Law Preemption already the law in Oklahoma, if we succeed in getting SB 1159 enacted, it will automatically be the law throughout the state.”
Without preemption, every municipality would be free to retain restrictions, imperiling residents.
Georgia is likewise a bit of a cleanup bill. The heaviest lifting was done in 2012, when preemption was passed, with repeal of the switchblade ban shortly thereafter. The new bill will raise the carry length limit from 5 inches to 12 inches. This is due to a peculiarity of Georgia law when it comes to defining weapons.
Efforts to completely eliminate the carry length limit have been stymied due to the manner in which a knife is defined in Georgia Law.
Eliminating the length limit entirely requires significant changes to over 30 pages of laws on the books, which at this time would not be acceptable to the legislature.
In the end, it was determined that the best practical alternative was to significantly increase the blade carry length to 12 inches. This will make life much better for knife owners in Georgia without hampering future efforts to completely eliminate the carry length limit at some future opportunity.
As always, we offer a tip of our hat and a hearty thank you to all who have and continue to move the ball forward.