IL: Bill Would Allow Police & Concealed Carry Permit Holders To Possess Switchblades

By Dean Weingarten

IL: Bill Would Allow Police & Concealed Carry Permit Holders To Possess Switchblades
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( Illinois Senator Tim Bivins has introduced an act to allow people with valid concealed carry permits to carry, purchase, and possess switchblade knives, stun guns, or tasers.

It is an incremental reform to the Illinois code.  If the bill can make it out of committee and up for a vote, it seems imminently sensible.

Who would object to someone who is legally allowed to carry a concealed pistol, from being allowed to carry a knife, stun gun, or taser in the same circumstances?


 Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that a person who has been issued a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act may carry a concealed stun gun or taser and may purchase, carry, or possess a switchblade knife. Provides that the exemption applies only if the licensee complies with the restrictions on carrying in specific locations as provided in the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Permits peace officers to purchase, possess, or carry a switchblade knife. Provides that the provisions prohibiting the manufacture or sales of a switchblade knife do not apply to or affect the manufacture or retail sale of a switchblade knife to a retired law enforcement officer who is permitted to carry a concealed firearm under 18 U.S.C. 926C or to any person who has been issued a currently valid license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act at the time of the commission of the offense. Provides that retired law enforcement officers may carry stun guns or tasers in the same manner as provided licensees carrying concealed firearms under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Effective immediately.

The ban on knives that open with the push of a button, or “switchblades” comes from an era when yellow journalists were testing the limits of their new found power.  They were able to push for a ban on common pocket knives by appealing to emotion and prejudice.   Some say that the play “West Side Story” was directly responsible for the ban.

Bernard Levine, in his seminal article on the subject sums up the legislative atmosphere:

The debate in Congress over the bills to ban switchblades from interstate congress (in 1958 there were four versions in the House and one in the Senate) had the surreal quality inevitable when immoral men put on a public show of enforcing morality. As in the present debate over “assault” rifles, Congressmen, media tycoons, and big-city police chiefs indulged in hysterical fits of fabricated sensationalism. Faced with this onslaught in 1958, most reasonable men kept silent and went along, out of fear of being labeled “pro- criminal.” Even the National Rifle Association knuckled under, then still believing in the power of appeasement.

The federal ban had been preceded by local bans based on the same emotional nonsense.   Now, some 50 years later, the silly and irrelevant bans are finally being undone.  It is hard to say how many innocent victims have had their property stolen and their rights violated because of this emotion based legislation.  This is not just ancient history.  The Village Voice reports that 60,000 people have been arrested in New York in the past decade for possessing common pocket knives.  This is what happens when a greedy and unscrupulous New York City DA decides to take advantage of a knife law for his own purposes.

Other jurisdictions have been wiser.  Arizona passed a knife preemption bill in 2010, but then, Arizona had the sense never to pass a switchblade ban in the first place.   New Hampshire passed knife preemption in 2010, Utah in 2011, Georgia in 2012, and Tennessee in 2013.  In 2013, Kansas, Alaska, Indiana, and Texas eliminated their state bans on switchblades.

These reforms have been the result of the efforts of civil rights group Knife Rights, and the numerous individuals who have supported them.  Enough decades have elapsed that most legislatures are willing to see the folly of the 1950’s laws.   There is no doubt that knives are arms covered by the second amendment.   Knives have been arms used by all militaries and militias throughout all history.    We do not know how long it will take to restore the rights that have been infringed on since the 1950’s.  But it is happening, just as the concealed carry movement swept the country in the last 25 years.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.