Knife rights is having a good year. In Wisconsin, a reform bill to de-criminalize switchblades for concealed carry permit holders and police was determined to be an insufficient by the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. A strengthened reform bill, to include knife preemption and decriminalization for the State, was written and passed as a substitute amendment, by a bi-partisan vote of 8-2. The bill was passed by the full House on 27 October.
The bill number is AB 142. Yesterday, 20 January, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous voice vote. It is likely that Governor Walker will sign the bill. It brings Wisconsin knife law in line with the Wisconsin Constitution. Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution reads:
It is hard to see that a restriction on the carry of knives could withstand scrutiny under such a clear statement of an enumerated right. Here are the major provisions of the bill, From the Wisconsin Legislative Council summary:
- Repeals the switchblade prohibition. Includes knives under the law that currently generally prohibits political subdivisions from enacting ordinances or adopting resolutions that regulate firearms and are more stringent than state law.
- Provides that a person may not be in violation of, or charged with a violation of, the disorderly conduct statute or an ordinance relating to disorderly conduct for carryin or going armed with a knife, without regard to whether the knife is concealed or openly carried, unless other facts and circumstances apply that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person.
- Allows a person to carry any concealed knife unless the person is prohibited under state law from possessing a firearm.
If the carry of knives may be banned, the carry of anything may be banned.
The political successes of Knife Rights has been phenomenal. They have passed knife preemption statutes in 10 states, removed switchblade bans in nine, and reformed federal law to protect knife rights. Wisconsin will be another major success when Governor Walker signs AB142 into law.
I have no financial ties to Knife Rights. Knife Rights delivers tremendous value for the tiny budget that they run on. Their legislative achievement is all out of proportion to their size.
I grew up in Wisconsin, and gradually learned how silly and ill conceived the knife laws in the state were. Enforcement was highly selective; concentrated in the urban centers of Milwaukee and Racine. Minorities were often targeted. If Governor Walker signs AB142, all of the bad law will be eliminated in one well thought out reform. Congratulations will be in order for Assemblywoman Bernier, who introduced the bill, Knife rights for lobbying for it, the entire legislature and Governor Walker for passing it.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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