2nd Amendment advocates push to repeal switchblade, other …

Posted: May 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Shown here is a spring-assisted knife.(AP)

Once overshadowed by the hot-button gun rights debate, laws restricting knife sales and possession are the new "second front" in the battle to preserve Second Amendment rights.

The issue has gained more attention in recent years -- most recently in Baltimore, where obscure knife laws have surfaced at the center of the Freddie Gray death case.Well before that case, though, the nonprofit advocacy group Knife Rights has been steadily working in state capitals across the country to roll back or repeal longstanding knife bans and restrictions.

And they've seen a string of successes.

Weve introduced the Second Amendment to a significant number of people who never considered it their amendment, said Doug Ritter, who founded Knife Rights in Arizona in 2009.

The group argues that possessing and carrying any kind of blade is, as with guns, a right enshrined in the Constitution.They've deployed that argument to, so far, help 10 states wipe most -- if not all -- knife restrictions from the books. It also has successfully advocated for so-called preemption laws in eight states, blocking local jurisdictions from circumventing state law with their own, stricter regulations.

Not all repeals are the same -- some leave laws against switchblades like stilettos on the books. But others are comprehensive, like in Oklahoma and Maine, which just legalized switchblades, in March and April respectively.

Knife Rights first victory was in 2010, when it worked to get all switchblades, dirks and daggers legalized in New Hampshire. Bills in several other states are currently pending.

Theres no blood running in the streets, no state has come back and said we shouldnt have done this and tried to reinstate [laws], Ritter said.

Contrary to the image of gang members carrying butterfly knives to the local rumble, people carry knives for a multitude of reasons, and it is not to maim or kill, Ritter said. The reality is, millions of Americans use and own knives at home, work, and recreation. But every once in a while someone uses a knife as an arm, to protect the family.

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