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Bill Would Allow Public To Own Spring Blade Knives



A bill being proposed in the Washington state Senate would allow people to own and carry spring blade knives.

Spring blade knives, the kind that you can open with one hand, popularly known as "switch blades,” were outlawed back in the 1950’s in numerous states across the country.

But in 2012, a bill allowing for their manufacture was approve in Washington, even though they could not be legally owned by anyone except for emergency personnel, such as police or firefighters.


The new bill would allow people to possess spring blade knives.

Testifying before the Senate Law and Justice Committee Monday, Todd Rathner of the organization Knife Rights, Inc. said the original laws banning the knives were put in effect because of fears of gang activity.

“There was never any problem with spring blade knives back in the 1950’s when these crazy laws were passed. There was never a crime issue. These laws were passed in reaction to West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause, and articles in publications all over the country they made the states follow. They said these knives caused crime. It’s absurd,” Rathner said.

Knife manufacturers and dealers testified their businesses would benefit from allowing spring blade knives to be sold in the state.

Currently 10 states ban their sale to the general public.

No one testified against the bill at Monday’s hearing. It will be put to a committee vote on Thursday.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.