Michigan Governor signs repeal of automatic knife ban

 Gov. Rick Snyder agreed to rollback a prohibition on knives “which can be opened by the flick of a button, pressure on a handle or other mechanical contrivance.” (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Gov. Rick Snyder agreed to rollback a prohibition on knives “which can be opened by the flick of a button, pressure on a handle or other mechanical contrivance.” (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

A popular bipartisan Senate bill to scrap Michigan’s 1950s-era ban on “switchblades” was signed into law last week by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The measure, SB 245, only picked up a single “nay” vote in each chamber of the Legislature and repeals a law backers describe as dangerously antique. Snyder, a Republican, signed it without comment.

“This reform is not about double-edged stiletto knives commonly portrayed in old Hollywood movies,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, in a statement. “This is about updating the law concerning spring-assisted knives, such as utility knives commonly carried by police officers and members of the National Guard.”

The language in Jones’ bill strikes the classification on knives that can be opened with a button, handle pressure or other “mechanical contrivance” which currently carry a misdemeanor punishment of up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

In May, the Michigan State Police testified in support of the bill.

The American Knife and Tool Institute, a trade organization for knife rights, says the longstanding ban makes “law-abiding, well-intentioned Michiganders such as tradesmen, hunters, hikers, farmers, ranchers, and campers risk arrest simply by possessing an automatic knife.”

The measure takes effect Oct. 10.