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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By Lauren Etter, Bloomberg News (TNS)

AUSTIN, Texas — State lawmakers are bringing knives to the gunfight.

Expanding the battle over the right to bear arms, U.S. legislatures that relaxed laws after the gun lobby’s decades-long push are now loosening restrictions on switchblades, dirks, daggers, and poignards.

The charge is being led by a group whose leadership includes a wilderness survival entrepreneur, a National Rifle Association board member and a “Joy of Cooking” co-author who travels with a seven-inch Santoku knife for slicing thyme-stuffed pork loin roasted on a spit over a campfire.

Called Knife Rights, the group claims support not only from Republicans, but also from urban Democrats concerned that the laws are used to target blacks and Latinos. Since 2010, it has helped roll back bans in nine states and is lobbying legislatures in a dozen more.

“We call it the second front in defense of the Second Amendment,” said Todd Rathner, director of legislative affairs and sole paid lobbyist for the Gilbert, Arizona-based group.

On April 29, a Texas legislative committee heard testimony on a bill that would repeal a ban on daggers, swords, spears, and the Bowie knife, a blade inspired by a defender of the Alamo.

“I don’t see knives posing that big of a danger to the public,” state Representative Harold Dutton Jr. (D-TX), who sponsored the bill, said in an interview. “Now that we’re going to let everybody have a gun, I think we ought to set knives free.”

Dutton, a black Democrat from Houston, sees knife laws as a threat to civil rights.

“It is another one of those things that helps establish probable cause for a policeman to stop you,” he said.

Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man whose April death in police custody ignited riots, was arrested after police said they noticed a knife inside his pants.

Law enforcement officers are less enthusiastic about ending restrictions.

“There’s a time and a place for knives,” said Sean Mannix, police chief in Cedar Park, Texas, and chairman of the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s legislative committee. “When you start talking about weapons with 12-inch blades like bayonets and things like that, there’s just no good reason for people to carry that in public — and it’s alarming to folks.”

The bill remains in a House of Representatives committee.

Almost half of U.S. states regulate switchblade knives, whether by a limit on blade length or an outright ban, according to Knife Rights. Many of those also regulate other types of knives deemed dangerous. Cities have their own regulations, leaving a patchwork of rules that critics say confuses knife owners.

Knife Rights argues that Americans have a right to slice.

The group began in 2006 after Doug Ritter, a manufacturer of survival kits, and Ethan Becker, who oversees the cookbook his grandmother wrote in 1931, found common ground over a belief that bans were anachronistic.

Becker, a Paris-trained chef, has had a lifelong fascination with knives, designing and manufacturing them. He agreed to fund the group.

Four years later, Ritter met Rathner at an NRA board meeting. Rathner, a board member for the gun-rights group, had recently pushed Arizona’s “constitutional carry” law, which let citizens tote firearms openly without a permit. A decade earlier, he had encouraged the state to enact a so-called pre-emption law that prohibited cities from enacting their own restrictions.

“I said, ‘Let’s try to enact knife pre-emption in Arizona and see if we can make it stick,'” Rathner said.

It stuck: In 2010, then-Governor Jan Brewer signed the nation’s first such measure.

That same year, they persuaded New Hampshire to lift its ban on switchblades and other knives. In 2011, they got Utah to enact a pre-emption law.

“From there, we put together a strategy to start hitting as many states as possible,” Rathner said.

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9 responses to “Knives Are The New Guns In Lawmakers’ Second Amendment Expansion”

  1. Insinnergy says:

    Sounds like another solid plan brought to you by the same second amendment freaks who have now allowed guns into churches, movie theatres, bars, and to be carried by blind people in some states.
    Nothing can go wrong, I’m sure.

  2. Ron conner says:

    Cop stop two people walking down the street. One has a concealed handgun with enough ammo to kill 100 people. The other has a knife that’s a quarter inch to long. Who gets arrested?

  3. 13observer says:

    Here is the issue; guns and knives are deadly but fun and serve several purposes much like automobiles and other toys that keep the American public “FREE” to choose however liberals want to keep us all in “chains” because a handful of “candy asses” are too afraid to come out of the basement where it seems so safe to them. Because we are blessed with the “FREEDOMS” provided by our Constitution, certain political persuasions like to USE these objects as a means to divide the population for their personal agendas. We now know that certain people tend to be more violent than others or at least irresponsible regarding human life or property. Be that as it may, restricting the rights of some to address the shortcomings of others only diminishes the “FREEDOMS” we have come to know that makes us the GREATEST NATION ON EARTH… PERIOD!!!! regardless of what communists inside and outside of our country have to say about it.

  4. Dominick Vila says:

    It may not be long before our beloved Congress passes a “Right to Kill” law.

    • 13observer says:

      Did you mean Obama’s “DEATH PANELS” because “ABORTION” already exists. Maybe you meant something else or were you just trying to be funny?

      • Dominick Vila says:

        My post was meant to be humorous. I guess I did not succeed. In any case, the only reference to “death panels” that I recall was made by a Republican woman, in reference to the effects of making affordable healthcare available to all Americans. The way things are going, her statement may have been a slip of the tongue…

        • Carolyn1520 says:

          Your comment was funny but the right only laughs if it’s at someone else’s expense. Real humor eludes them.

  5. Julieann Wozniak says:

    I always clean my trout at the stream before I stick it in the cooler. My grandfather’s fishing knife has always been legal. I have a mini box knife on my keyring: legal. A Leatherman in my big bag of computer tools: legal. The operative word here is tool. Guns have one single purpose, and mine only comes out during posted deer season if the freezer is empty.

    • DEFENDER88 says:

      The fact that “your” gun/s have only “one single purpose” is “your” self imposed – limitation.
      But that is ok and your “right”, if that is all you want and get from them.
      I don’t fault you for it.

      But Mine have several “purposes”(All “Legal”):
      – Plinking
      – Target Practice
      – Competitions
      – Combat Pistol
      – 3 Gun
      – Hunting
      – Varmint Control
      – Self Defense – Home
      – Self Defense – In public(Permit Holder)
      – A Deterrence to home invasion criminals
      – Teaching others how to safely and properly use them.

      “To me” all of mine are “Tools”. Most have several uses.

      While I am highly trained and capable in “Self Defense”,
      Actually “shooting” someone with one, is NOT something I ever want to have to do.

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