The slow march toward repealing the switchblade ban in every state continues with Michigan being the latest state to make automatic knives legal to carry.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill (SB 245) on Thursday that contains a complete repeal of Section 226a of the Michigan penal code. That section was added in 1952 and made it illegal to sell or possess a knife with a blade “which can be opened by the flick of a button, pressure on a handle or other mechanical contrivance.” The new law becomes effective on October 11, which is 90 days after it was signed.
The language of the switchblade ban was so vague that sometimes people who owned spring-assisted knives were prosecuted under the law. In many places in Michigan, police didn’t enforce the law at all, creating confusion among residents of the state.
“Spring-assisted knives are not defined in the law,” state Sen. Rick Jones, who introduced the bill, said Friday in a statement. “The section refers to a pocket knife opened by the flick of a button, but there are now many different knives that may or may not fall into this category. Knives of this type are sold at major retailers throughout the state and are carried by many citizens.”
Michigan State Police supported the bill because it would clarify the law and help keep people out of jail for carrying knives that could be bought at the store.
“This reform is not about double-edged stiletto knives commonly portrayed in old Hollywood movies,” Jones said. “This is about updating the law concerning spring-assisted knives, such as utility knives commonly carried by police officers and members of the National Guard.
“I sponsored this repeal to help prevent young people from going to jail for carrying a utility knife.”
Knife Rights helped push through the legislation thanks to years of work and forged alliances.
“This is a great day for Michigan knife owners, but there is still plenty of work to be done to rid Michigan of its remaining archaic and vague knife restrictions,” said Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter. “Knife Rights will keep working until Michigan’s law-abiding knife owners are free to carry any blade they want.”
The organization has now helped repeal switchblade bans in Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.