Sunday, May 20, 2018

Repeal of Louisiana Switchblade Knife Ban goes ot Governor Edwards

On April 13th, 2018, the Louisiana repeal of the switchblade ban (HB892) unanimously passed the House.  From
The manufacture, ownership, possession, custody or use intentional concealment on one's person of any switchblade knife, spring knife, or other knife or similar instrument having a blade which may be automatically unfolded or extended from a handle by the manipulation of a button, switch, latch, or similar contrivance located on the handle. Section 2. R.S. 14:95(J) is hereby repealed in its entirety.

Words in struck through type are deletions from existing law; words underscored are additions.
 On May 10th, 2018 the repeal of the switchblade ban (HB892) passed the Senate. The vote was 21-yes, 11-no, and 7- absent.

Now the bill is going to Governor Edwards' desk.

The bill is part of the ongoing trend to restore the legal ownership and carry of knives in American society. The bans never made much sense. Why would a switchblade be more deadly than a fixed blade knife?  The bans were pushed as yellow journalism as part of the Progressive agenda. There was no serious data or study behind the bans - just prejudice and a push for publicity.  The federal ban on interstate sales of switchblade knives and the importation of them, was passed in 1958.

 It was fictional portrayals of youth gang violence that took the switchblade ban over the top, politically. "West Side Story" seems to have had a pivotal role. Consider the implications. It was not fact that drove the politics. It was fiction, promoted by the progressive media. It was a version of the "big lie" technique. The pro-genitive nature of the media coverage in promoting and eventually creating the ban on switchblades cannot be over emphasized.  From wikipedia:

During the 1950s, established U.S. newspapers as well as the sensationalist tabloid press joined forces in promoting the image of a young delinquent with a stiletto switchblade or flick knife. While the press focused on the switchblade as a symbol of youthful evil intent, the American public's attention was attracted by lurid stories of urban youth gang warfare and the fact that many gangs were composed of lower class youth and/or racial minorities.[4] The purported offensive nature of the stiletto switchblade combined with reports of knife fights, robberies, and stabbings by youth gangs and other criminal elements in urban areas of the United States generated continuing demands from newspaper editorial rooms and the public for new laws restricting the lawful possession and/or use of switchblade knives.[4] In 1954, the state of New York passed the first law banning the sale or distribution of switchblade knives in hopes of reducing gang violence. That same year, Democratic Rep. James J. Delaney of New York authored the first bill submitted to the U.S. Congress banning the manufacture and sale of switchblades.
West Side Story emphasized the role of the switchblade in juvenile delinquency.  It was nominated for six Tony awards in 1957 and ran for 732 performances in NYC before going on tour.  The switchblade ban, which did not make it out of committee in 1954, was passed in 1958.

The switchblade ban was a demonstration of the power of mass media to get laws passed with little or no facts behind them.

Much the same technique is being used to attempt to ban certain kinds of firearms. Reporters have little or no knowledge of the firearms in question. Facts about their uses in crime are ignored. The push is always for action, action, action, without serious debate.

Governor Edwards is likely to sign the knife law reform that has been passed unanimously in the House and by a two thirds margin in the Senate.

The ban on carrying the knives concealed is entangled in Louisiana's overall concealed carry law, so it was not addressed by this reform.

New Hampshire repealed their switchblade ban in 2010,  The Missouri switchblade ban was repealed in 2012, The Alaskan, Indiana, Kansas, and Texas switchblade bans were repealed in 2013. The Tennessee switchblade ban was relealed in 2014. Maine and Nevada switchblade bans were repealed in 2015.  Wisconsin repealed their switchblade ban in 2016. Colorado, Michigan, and Illinois switchblade bans were repealed in 2017.

If Governor Edwards signs the reform bill, 14 states will have repealed their switchblade bans. There were seven states that never passed a switchblade ban.

Laws among the states vary widely. If Governor Edwards signs the reform, it will still be illegal to intentionally carry a switchblade concealed on your person in Louisiana.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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