Knife Law Reform Passes in Wisconsin; on to Governor Walker’s Desk

By Dean Weingarten

Wisconsin State Capitol


Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( 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:

Wisconsin Constitution ArtI Sec 25

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.

The ban on switchblades dates from 1959, when the legislature passed it during the height of the push for banning switchblades spurred by the play “West Side Story”. The ban was an early infringement on the Second Amendment. What could be more protected by the Second Amendment than the personal carry of knives, items that had been used in all military organizations and militias from long before history was recorded?

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.

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.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Switchblades, huh? Walker’s the kind of guy who shouldn’t run with a pairs of scissors in his hands.


I think it’s nice and it’s about time. There was never a knife collectors permit/license, and most stores are selling you 4.5″ knifes with pocket clips anyway.


Did he sign this bill yet if not when? Or will He not sign it?


Are there signs that walker wouldn’t sign the bill into law?