Switchblade switcheroo, blades now legal

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that lifts the state’s ban on switchblades.

Gov. Snyder has signed a law repealing the state's ban on spring-assisted knives.

The governor signed the legislation Thursday, said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Jones introduced the bill in March and it repeals the state law that makes the selling or possession of “spring-assisted knives” a misdemeanor in the state.

“Spring-assisted knives are not defined in the law,” Jones said Friday in a statement. “The section refers to a pocket knife opened by the flick of a button, but there are now many different knives that may or may not fall into this category. Knives of this type are sold at major retailers throughout the state and are carried by many citizens.”

Many Michigan prosecutors and law enforcement officers do not charge individuals with a crime for carrying these common knives, creating a patchwork of enforcement across the state, Jones said.

He also said the Michigan State Police supported the bill.

Jones said in the past the law does not lift state prohibitions on other bladed weapons, such as stilettos and daggers. It is illegal to use any knife with a blade over three inches long against another person with unlawful intent to harm them.

“This reform is not about double-edged stiletto knives commonly portrayed in old Hollywood movies,” Jones said 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.

“I sponsored this repeal to help prevent young people from going to jail for carrying a utility knife.”