Knife Rights Starts 2019 with Montana Switchblade Ban Repeal Bill

Knife Rights’ Montana Switchblade Ban Repeal and Knife Law Preemption Bill (HB 115) has been overwhelmingly passed in the state House of Representatives. 99 out of the 100 Representatives voted yea, and the bill is on its way to the Montana Senate for its second round of voting.

HB 115 makes simple but key changes to state law, taking switchblades off of the prohibited weapons list and instituting preemption. For many Montanans, the immediate benefit will be that ownership and possession of automatics will be significantly less fraught. In Knife Rights’s words the preemption addition prevents further complications from arising when state and local ordinances clash: “Preemption prevents enforcement of existing local knife ordinances and prohibits new ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere in a state.”

This is Knife Rights’ second big legislative push in Montana. In 2017 they brought HB 251 into law. This allowed for the carry of knife with a blade length greater than 4” to be carried without need of a CCW. Furthermore, a boatload of bladed objects were taken off the prohibited list for concealed carry.

As another year begins we imagine that Knife Rights has a full year of legislative activity ahead. The organization chose not to give specific details but a Virginia Senate Bill (SB 1251), which allows for the possession and sale of switchblade and switchblade parts within the state (so long as they are to customers outside of Virginia), recently passed out of a Senate Committee for a full vote. The organization says their legal blitz shows no signs of slowing down this year. “We’ve got lots ahead of us and plan to maintain the aggressive pace we’ve kept up in years past,” Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter tells us.

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