Winning the Culture War with Switchblade Knives

By Dean WeingartenSwitchbalde Benchmade Mini-auto Presidio

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( You are winning the culture war when the other side accepts your premises.  In the 1950’s, legislatures across the country succumbed to the latest trendy weapons ban.  Switchblade knives.  The trend went so far as to pass a federal ban on the importation and interstate sale of of switchblades, because, at the time, it was widely understood the Constitution forbade the federal government from actually regulating the sale of an item inside of state boundaries.  Seven states, including Arizona, did not enact a switchblade ban.

The ban never had any facts or logic to back it up.  It was entirely emotion and media driven legislation, based on fear of the “other”, in this case, street gangs armed with switchblade knives.  It was a precursor to the the “assault weapon” ban, another fear and emotion based ban with no data to back it up.  The icon of the switchblade ban was “Westside Story”, of the “Assault Weapons” ban “Miami Vice”.  Both bans were driven by politicians making a name for themselves and a “progressive” media revelling in emotion driven nonsense.  It took the rise of the Internet and 60 years, but Conservatives, Libertarians, and Constitutionalists are winning the culture war on switchblades and weapons in general.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has deep “progressive” roots.  Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has always been a center of “progressive” thought.   A few months ago, Wisconsin passed a repeal of the state ban on switchblades and other knives.  The repeal also placed knives in the state preemption law, so that the laws are uniform throughout the state.

The repeal of a weapons ban is reliably heralded by “progressive” media with a flurry of articles about how there will be “blood in the streets”.

Not this time.  The jsonline article is fact based and lacks emotional content, except for a little expressed by those celebrating this small step toward freedom.  From

To the untrained eye, most switchblades look pretty much like other folding knives. But instead of using two hands, or pulling a blade with a practiced thumb roll, a user need only push a button and the blade either swings out the side or shoots out the front and locks into place.

Better models have safety switches that reduce the chances of the knife opening unintentionally.

Butterfly, or balisong, knives also were considered illegal to carry in many places. They do not have springs but can be opened with one hand, with practice and a little martial arts flourish.

Many state bans — and a federal law that prohibits switchblade sales in interstate commerce, except to law enforcement or military users — go back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. That’s when Hollywood turned switchblades into an icon of malevolence.

The article goes on the quote a Milwaukee police officer as saying that the change in law is no big deal.  The major difference, it is noted, is that the police can no longer confiscate such knives when they are found, except if the person carrying them concealed is a felon.

That is an admission that tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens have been needlessly harassed, had their property confiscated, been fined and or jailed for the last 60 years.  Most of them were minorities.

Governor Walker accepted a fancy switchblade knife, suitably engraved, at the signing ceremony for the bill.  The knife was presented by Knife Rights, which lobbied for the legislation.  From the article:

Wattenberg is proud of the special work it took to engrave the Seal of Wisconsin onto the blade of the knife presented to Walker.

“We’ve never had a public official decline an automatic knife, ever,” Ritter said. “Everyone wants to own a switchblade.”

It is the perfect closing to the victory in the culture war.  From being an icon of evil invented by “progressive” politicians, which went so far as to prompt federal legislation, to “Everyone wants to own a switchblade”.

It illustrates the death of a “progressive” article of faith:  There are “progressive” experts who know more than everyone else.  Those experts should decide for everyone else how they should live their lives.

Over and over again, we find that “experts” were self serving con men who sold their “expertise” for personal gain; and the policies they crafted did more harm than good. Transfats, Cholesterol, “Four Food Groups”, and Ethanol subsidies come to mind.

Today, we see the same snake oil being peddled by “progressives” on everything from “assault weapons” to “climate change” to “Obamacare” to “Universal Background Checks”.  They all claim that “experts” know what is better for us than the people do themselves.  They are all premised on the thought that the “elite” should tell everyone else how to live, that the media should “manufacture consent”. And they are all just as false.
©2016 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.

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Witold Pilecki

All my blades, except for camping or other utility are all spring assisted, one hand opening. This includes my Benchmade Mel Pardue tactical folder (which I only carry on those rare occasions I don’t have a gun) and my firefighter rescue knife. Legal, because they are not locked closed and opened by a button. Switchblades are too Hollywood for me.


GREAT Comment Jim Macklin; You hit it all right on the head. TOO BAD we can’t smack the stupid progressive politicians in the head with a baseball bat—————————-OH WAIT; then they would BAN those too and we would have no Major, Minor, Little League, High School Baseball. There is no explaining the asininity and stupidity of politicians.

Jim Macklin

Bruce Lee made KungFu movies and many states outlawed butterfly knives. Gee, if I was being attacked, a knife that made a lot of noise in warning sounds like a god idea. Switch blade knives likewise were driven by Hollywood. But many people need a true one hand knife, besides law enforcement and military, fishermen, skydivers, underwater divers, wranglers, anybody who needs a one hand knife needs a strong quality knife to cut a parachute shroud or free a horse from a rope that is strangling a scared animal, or a person with severe arthritis who needs a knife for… Read more »


“…the “elite” should tell everyone else how to live,….” Since you used the term “elite,” maybe you could get around to identifying who some of these “elite” media and politicians are and what it is that makes them “elite.” Most of the good ideas you mentioned created/sold based on BS from the “elites” has been just that – BS. An obvious example is obamacare sold by democrats and the left-wing, lying media. Another example of an “elite” is Ms. Clinton who obviously has a) broken federal and likely state laws repeatedly and numerously and b) is still running around loose.… Read more »

Wild Bill

Hillary is enabled to ignore and break the law with impunity (thus far) by the fear that she may someday be the HMWIC. Hillary is desperate to win the presidency just to keep herself out of prison. Hillary can not count on Barry Soetoro giving her a Presidential Pardon for any and all past crimes.
I can’t speak to the “elite” part, but I suspect money has something to do with it.

HMLA-167 Warrior

“So what is it that makes Ms. Clinton an elite that enables her to both ignore and break the law with impunity?”
A long list of dead bodies of people who were in a position to let her cats out of the bag and a longer list of live bodies who are afraid to end up like their predecessors.

Chris. Friedel

Really liked your article