Monday night the state senate is expected to vote on striking down a ban on spring-loaded knives that open with the push of a button. The legislation also drops restrictions on blade length for any kind of knife.
This is part of a national push by an organization called “Knife Rights,” which has been trying to repeal switchblade bans around the country.
Sen. Mike Bell of East Tennessee says it’s about protection for those who don’t – or can’t – carry a gun.
“My 18-year-old daughter – by law – cannot get a carry permit in the state of Tennessee. She can’t get one until she’s 21. And I have already talked to her about carrying a knife.”
The bill would get rid of the state’s 4-inch blade restriction, making it unclear whether swords would also become legal to carry. And local governments could no longer have more restrictive knife laws than the state.
Bell says his proposal would still allow businesses to post a sign and keep knives off their property, and he says it would not change the zero tolerance weapons policies at schools.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s crime statistics from 2011 show more than 7,000 offenses were committed with just a knife. The agency doesn’t keep track of whether the blade was of legal size.