Knife Rights helped to bring about another victory yesterday as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill repealing Colorado’s total switchblade and gravity knife ban. Bill 17-008, which is projected to go into effect later this year, removes all bans on automatic and gravity knives, including ownership, carry, and manufacturing in Colorado.
“Colorado had a total prohibition on autos,” explains Doug Ritter, Chairman and Executive Director of Knife Rights. “You couldn’t manufacture them, you couldn’t own them, you couldn’t do anything.” After the repeal, it will be legal to possess and carry automatic and gravity knives, but they will still be subject to Colorado’s blade length limitation of 3.5” when carried in a concealed fashion.
The repeal will also benefit Colorado knife makers and manufacturers including Spyderco. The company will soon be able to develop and manufacture automatic knives out of their Golden facility without breaking the law. Although it’s still unclear how the repeal will affect future plans, the company tells us they were happy to see Governor Hickenlooper sign the bill.
SB 17-008 was introduced by Senator Owen Hill on January 14th. Ritter says he is grateful that the bill was passed ahead of the Colorado Legislative Session’s deadline of May 10. “Legislators tend to focus on major issues,” he explains. “That kind of stuff bogs down how fast you can get niche bills like ours through.”
SB 17-008 was drafted after Senator Hill was petitioned by John Bloodgood, a retired Master Sergeant in the Air Force. Bloodgood was moved to contact Hill after an incident where his dog became entangled in window blind cords, and he was only able to keep her breathing and cut her free using a tool the state would have considered a gravity knife. “It’s not unusual for a bill to be started because a constituent goes to a legislator and says, ‘Hey, this is stupid,’ ” Ritter says.
Knife Rights says their Director of Legislative Affairs, Todd Rathner, was instrumental in bringing SB 17-008 to fruition. Rathner helped overcome legislators’ objections and worked to defeat an amendment that could have been damaging to the bill.
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The repeal isn’t effective until 90 days after the legislative session ends and until then, it is still illegal to own, carry, and manufacture automatic and gravity knives in Colorado. Knife Rights is currently estimating an August enactment, but the precise date is still to be confirmed.
Knife featured in image: Spyderco Autonomy