New Knife Bills Introduced in Michigan and Virginia

Two more pieces of knife-centric legislation are working their way through the political system this month. Michigan sees its first possible advance in knife law since the repeal of the automatic ban last July, and Virginia may lift the ban on knife carry in places of worship.

Michigan House Bill 5512 seeks to remove all language of knives from section 227 of the Michigan Penal Code. If it is signed into law the following text will be eliminated:

“A person shall not carry a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged nonfolding stabbing instrument of any length, or any other dangerous weapon, except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such, concealed on or about his or her person, or whether concealed or otherwise in any vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business or on other land possessed by the person.”

Fixed blades in particular labor under harsh restrictions in Michigan. Unless your fixed blade falls under the narrow (and vague) definition of “hunting knife,” you can face a fine of up to $2,500 and a felony charge for carrying one. Removing this section of the statute, all currently prohibited fixed blade knives for concealed carry in Michigan will be legal to carry again as long as they conform to the rest of Michigan’s knife laws. “It’s a good start on the rest of Michigan’s knife law problems after the [auto ban] repeal we helped enact,” says Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter.

The targeted portion of Michigan law needs to go for another reason – it’s outdated. Ritter tells us that old, out-of-touch laws that have remained untouched for years are often the source of knife-related woes in Michigan and elsewhere. “Essentially, if you look at what we do, the key element of it is getting rid of archaic laws,” he says.

Michigan’s judiciary session days continue all the way through December, and the bill could be passed any time throughout the year. “The vast majority of bills get passed in the last few days of a legislature’s session.” Ritter explains. He also tells us the fight in Michigan will continue in the form of combating pre-emption and targeting other instances of legal vagaries throughout the Penal Code. “There are some states where we can get everything done in one effort and one bill, but that’s the exception, not the rule.”

Meanwhile in Virginia, HB 1180 aims to allow carry of weapons into places of worship, specifically for purposes of self-defense. Although not specifically a knife-centric bill, blades will benefit alongside firearms in this case. Ritter notes that places of worship are like any other location where people gather, and those who patronize them should be able to defend themselves. “We know in many cases people do [carry their knives there] anyway, but it’s always better to do it within the law.”

Knife featured in image: SOG Mini Pentagon