(image above via Knife Rights)
I will include the press release on the signing of the Georgia bill below, but the news out of Texas is much more interesting. With the recent UT Austin attacker wielding a Bowie knife, it was needless to say a difficult time to get Bowie knife-legalization through the legislature. Apparently, it took a Herculean effort by Todd Rathner to salvage the bill. I spoke with Doug Ritter this evening (since the publication of this release), and the bill passed the House today, 131-1. It faces an uncertain future in the Texas Senate.
From Knife Rights:
Knife Rights’ bipartisan Texas Knife Law Reform Bill, HB 1935, to repeal all “illegal knives” in Texas statute, passed a critical milestone in the Texas House of Representatives in an unrecorded “Second Reading” vote yesterday. With the tragic stabbing at the University of Texas, right in the state capital of Austin, still fresh in everyone’s minds, the timing could not have been worse.Knife Rights Director of Legislative Affairs, Todd Rathner, has been in Austin for a week working to salvage the bill and ensure that any bill that emerged would still be an advance for Texas knife owners.
In the end, the bill was amended from its original form that eliminated entirely all the “illegal knives” in state statute. HB 1935, as amended, now eliminates daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears and most notably, Bowie knives, completely from the statute, effectively allowing them to be carried anywhere in the state.
However, in order to get the bill moved, the amendment stipulates that knives with blades over 5 1/2 inches are now defined as “location restricted” knives. These knives may be carried all over the state except in a narrow list of places such as schools, colleges, correctional facilities, houses of worship, and bars that derive more than 51% of their income from alcohol sales. This is an unfortunate amendment, but the alternative would have been to watch the bill die and throw years of work in Texas down the drain. Plus, then we’d have to wait another two years for the next session of the Texas legislature, and who knows what might happen between now and then?
This bill’s passage would still be a huge win for knife owners in Texas and given the tragic circumstances, Todd’s done an incredible job not just saving the legislation, but ending up with 95% of what we wanted. If we get this bill passed, we will be back in two years and again try to finish the job in Texas. The floor vote in the House should take place in the next few days and Todd can finally go home. We like to express our appreciation to our House sponsors, Primary Author, Rep. Frullo, Joint Authors, Reps. Dutton, Kuempel, Moody and Springer and Coauthors, Reps. Canales and Lambert for standing firm in challenging circumstances.
This is a perfect example of why your support is so important. Otherwise, Todd could not have spent the last week in Austin and this bill would have died. It’s that simple. Your support is critical!
Knife Rights’ Georgia Knife Law Reform Signed by Governor
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal yesterday signed HB 292 that includes the language from Knife Rights’ Georgia Knife Law Reform bill, SB 49. This new law increases the legal carry length of a knife blade in the state from 5 inches to 12 inches (see Section 3 of HB 292).
The new 12-inch length limit was effective immediately upon signing. Having enacted Knife Rights’ signature Knife Law Preemption in Georgia in 2012, any lesser length restrictions in cities and towns are now voided and local jurisdictions cannot enact prohibitions more restrictive than the new state law. Georgia CCW holders do not have any restrictions on carry length.
With Blade Show coming up June 2-4, attendees and exhibitors will have more freedom to carry their larger knives without fear of legal entanglements.
We would like thank our sponsor, Senator Bill Heath, for his tenacity in working to get this done this session. Sen. Heath was also the sponsor of our Knife Law Preemption bill in 2012. We’d also like to express our appreciation to our friends at NRA-ILA for their support.
Efforts to completely eliminate the carry length limit have been stymied due to the manner in which a knife is defined in Georgia law. 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.
Knife Rights is Rewriting Knife Law in America™, eliminating knife bans directly or via Knife Law Preemption in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.