published Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Knife legislation in Nashville will no doubt cut two ways

It's not enough that Tennessee gun laws are being blown away.

Now it may also be a breeze to walk the streets with every crazed cowboy who thinks of himself as a vigilante James Dean, Zorro or Jim Bowie, too.

Last week, the state Senate, led by our own Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, drove a 27-3 vote to allow residents to carry a switchblade and all knives with blades over four inches -- machetes, swords, daggers, etc. -- anywhere and anytime we like, except on a school grounds. That one prohibition was tacked on as a late amendment. The state House of Representatives may take the bill up this week.

Bell told his fellow lawmakers (or in this case law repealers, as it now is against the law to carry any knife other than a pocket knife in most public places other than game-hunting grounds):

"This bill is an attempt to rewrite the knife laws ... to benefit our citizens and also to comply with what I believe to be the correct interpretation of our Second Amendment."

Ah, yes. We're wrapping special interests and fear-mongering into the holy cloth of freedoms we already have and are not losing. The gun and knife makers of the world just want us to think we are. Because if we do, they will sell, sell, sell.

Don't you feel safer already?

If a "citizen wants to carry that type of knife with them for self-defense, they should have that right," Bell said, noting that people "need" knives for self-protection. He even used his 18-year-old daughter as an example. She especially needs a knife because she's too young to obtain a state-issued handgun-carry permit, he said. Handgun permit holders must be at least 21.

This madness -- sliced and diced by groups such as Knife Rights Inc. and the American Knife and Tool Institute -- is not happening just in Tennessee. In the past several years, Arizona, New Hampshire, Utah and Georgia also have relaxed their knife laws.

The knife drive began after the U.S. Congress in 2009 updated the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 which had outlawed the importation and interstate trade of spring-loaded "automatic" knives. The ban came amid a panic about youthful hoodlums like those portrayed in the Broadway play "West Side Story" and the movie "Rebel Without a Cause."

The 2009 bipartisan amendment, signed by President Obama, ensured that knives that can be pushed open with one hand -- an estimated 80 percent of non-kitchen pocket knives sold in America -- are not classified as switchblades. That action was taken after the knife lobby emerged to fight a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency proposal that would have reclassified many pocketknives and pocket tools as switchblades. The congressional action blocked that move.

Meanwhile knives remained regulated by a patchwork -- some admittedly contradictory -- of state and local laws. But soon it will just be the Wild West again.

The National Rifle Association, of course, is gleeful. It has a new partner. The knife fighters, like the gun pushers, say it's "irrational" to believe that if we ban certain types of knives "criminals will somehow stop being criminals."

In December, Mother Jones reported that Knife Rights Inc. was boasting 2,200 members, and its legal arm was funded mostly from the knife industry. Its chief lobbyist sits on the National Rifle Association's board of directors, and its website has endorsements from Ted Nugent and NRA leader Wayne LaPierre.

Perhaps we shouldn't be so uptight about the loss of all these laws intended to protect us.

Perhaps we should just ask Sens. Bell and those from our region voting with him -- Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga; Bo Watson, R-Hixson; Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma (and Marion and Sequatchie counties); Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey (and Bledsoe County); and Ken Yager, R-Harriman (and Rhea County) -- to think about giving us some more freedoms.

Let's just drop the requirement for all drivers to have a driver's license, for example. After all, it's irrational to expect that requiring a license means only licensed drivers will drive. Do we think those people driving with lapsed, revoked or suspended licenses will somehow stop being lawbreakers? And by all means, let's let youngsters drive as soon as they can hold the wheel.

While we're at it, let's drop the prohibition on drinking and driving. After all, we all know that law doesn't keep drunks off the road. And if there are more accidents, car makers will sell more cars.

Let's hear it for car rights!

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BigRidgePatriot said...

Hysteria over knives too? Harry must live in a constant state of terror over all these sharp pointy objects around him. Is there a name for this phobia?

I for one am happy to see some of these silly laws struck down. Only a couple hundred thousand left to go.

March 14, 2013 at 8:50 a.m.
jesse said...

Can they have only 10 blades???

March 14, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
flyfishooltewah said...

I almost feel like I live in San Francisco after reading the Times opinion page today. Afraid of knives now or other peoples personal choices? Just stick to limiting my soda intake.

March 15, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.
Easy123 said...


Personal choices can have a significant effects on everyone else.

March 15, 2013 at 9:54 a.m.
nowfedup said...

It appears that USA is turning into a armed camp, or at least as long as the lobby money rolls in, we can only expect all the weapons being used for personal security are allowed in each and every TN office, building and event, to include the legislators palace. How insane will this whole thing get as pols, nre and right troll bottom for votes? Yep USA run by lobby money, spin less elected who prefer hot button issues then solving real problems to assure dumbed down voters notice them.

March 15, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
timbo said...

slEasy321...Yea, your right. Look at the personal choice you made to vote for that piss ant Obama. Now we have to live with this socialist.

By the way, that knife in my pocket won't affect anyone else as long as you don't try to rob or kill me.

March 15, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.
Easy123 said...


First of all, it's "you're".

Secondly, President Obama isn't a socialist.

Third, you're a moron.

Lastly, you've proven my point with your final statement.

Would you like to keep going?

March 15, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
timbo said...

slEasy321....actually it is you are. Thanks for pointing out I can't type.

Piss ant Obama is a socialist. If the democrats win the house in two years we will just find out how much of a socialist he really is.

As far as, "Would you like to keep going?" Besting a fool is a waste of time.

March 15, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
Easy123 said...


"actually it is you are. Thanks for pointing out I can't type."

"You're" is the contraction for "you are'. You can't spell or type.

"Piss ant Obama is a socialist."*

Verifiably false.

"If the democrats win the house in two years we will just find out how much of a socialist he really is."

Your baseless, incorrect opinion is duly noted.

"Besting a fool is a waste of time."

My sentiments exactly, but I have no problem wasting my time making you look like the fool again and again.

Again, would you like to keep going.

March 15, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
Leaf said...

Excellent. Finally I can wear a samurai sword to Walmart.

March 15, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.
SpookUSNret said...

"Aichmophobia" is the term for an irrational fear of knives and sharp objects.

March 21, 2013 at 12:39 a.m.
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