Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Montana recently passed a strong preemption statute for knife law. The law passed the House 99 yes, with 1 abstention, on January 29, 2019. It passed the Senate, 49 yes, with 1 abstention, on 19 March, 2019. On 27 March it was transmitted to Governor Bullock. On 3 April, 2019, it was signed by Governor Bullock. The knife preemption law provides core support for Constitutional Carry for knives in Montana.
In Montana, Constitutional carry for knives was achieved two years ago on 21 April, 2017.
Montana law treated knives with a blade of more than 4 inches the same as firearms in their concealed carry statute.
It is legal to carry concealed weapons in most of Montana, without a permit, except inside city limits. The law only applied to people in incorporated towns and cities.
In 2017, Governor Bullock was term limited, and could not run again. He vetoed the proposed Constitutional Carry bill for the third time in 2017. In that same year, Governor Bullock allowed HB 251 to become law. HB 251 is simple. It removes all weapons from the concealed carry law except firearms.
The votes for the bill were 70-29 in the House and 38 to 11 in the Senate. That was more than enough to override a veto from the Governor.
In Montana, if the governor does not sign or veto a bill, within 10 days after it is delivered to him, it becomes law.
Constitutional Carry for knives became law on April 21, 2017. It went into effect on 1 October, 2017.
The potential for local governments to infringe on the right to bear edged weapons still existed. In 2019, Knife Rights lobbied for, had passed, and was able to have Governor Bullock sign into law a strong knife preemption law, HB 155. From Knife Rights:
With Knife Law Preemption enacted, all existing local knife ordinances more restrictive than state law can no longer be enforced. Montana is the 11th state to enact Knife Law Preemption since Knife Rights’ signature effort started in 2010.
The Second Amendment is not limited to firearms. It protects the right to bear all arms, which, of course, includes edged weapons. Here is the actual wording of the preemption Bill, HB 155, passed this year, 2019. From leg.mt.gov:
AN ACT PROHIBITING LOCAL RESTRICTIONS REGARDING KNIVES; PROVIDING AN EXCEPTION;REPEALING SECTION 45-8-331, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Local governments — limitation on enactments. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2),local governments may not enact or enforce an ordinance, rule, or regulation that restricts or prohibits the ownership, use, possession, or sale of any type of knife that is not specifically prohibited by state law.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a local government ordinance, rule, or regulation prohibiting the possession of a knife on property or in a building owned, leased, or possessed by the local government entity.
Section 2. Repealer. The following section of the Montana Code Annotated is repealed:45-8-331.Switchblade knives.
Knife Rights is often able to obtain significant assistance from leftwing organizations to pass knife law reform. In this case, the ACLU of Montana helped pass the bill. Notice it passed with essentially unanimous votes.
These reforms to restore Second Amendment rights to carry knives and other tools/weapons than firearms, help build a base of precedent for restoring all Second Amendment rights. Knife rights are a second front in the war to restore Second Amendment rights, as the organization Knife Rights has often noted.
I am currently in Australia, in Queensland. In Australia, the ability to carry a knife is heavily restricted by law. Essentially, you may only carry a knife if you have a legitimate reason to carry it. The police make the determination when you are stopped and they ask you the reason to have it. I have been told “food preparation and as a rescue tool” are acceptable reasons to have a simple pocket knife.
If you do not have an “acceptable reason”, a simple box cutter may result in serious legal problems.
Australian law makes me appreciate the Second Amendment all the more.
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.