Despite bipartisan support, Michigan residents will not be enjoying new knife-rights protections.
That’s because Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D.) vetoed House Bill 4066 Friday. The bill would have standardized the state’s knife laws by preventing localities from imposing stricter laws than those set by the state government.
It’s unlikely that the Governor’s veto will be overridden. Though the bill passed the Michigan Senate with a veto-proof majority, the same could not be said for the state House of Representatives.
The Governor’s veto deals a serious blow to the efforts of Michigan knife-rights activists who spearheaded the movement to get the bill through the state legislature. It is another indicator of how controversial preemption laws have become over the past several decades. With increased opposition from gun-control activists and Democrats, the policies have become more difficult to implement or retain in blue and purple states.
Knife-rights groups expressed frustration and disappointment at the veto.
“We are disappointed by Governor Whitmer’s veto of this important criminal justice reform bill,” Doug Ritter, chairman of Knife Rights Foundation, Inc., said in a press release. “The headlines we read daily just scream for exactly this type of rational, commonsense criminal justice reform, yet she is apparently tone-deaf to the pleas.”
Ritter’s group said the Governor’s decision to veto the bill could have real consequences for many people in the state.
“HB 4066 would have assured that cities and towns could not criminalize the simple possession of the tools millions of Michigan residents use every day,” the group said. “Factory workers, farmers, food service workers, hunters, fishermen and others will remain in danger of arrest simply for crossing a line on a map to enter a city or town whose law may differ from the law in their own town or the state’s knife laws.”
State Representative Andrew Fink (R.), the primary sponsor of the bill, said he plans to continue to push for its passage.
“I am disappointed that the governor has left law abiding citizens vulnerable to unnecessary interference from local ordinances,” he said, “but I’ll keep advocating for freedom for all Michiganians as long as I’m in office.”
Ritter’s group suggested it would try again in future legislative sessions to get knife preemption across the finish line.
“Knife Rights and Remington will be back next session with a similar bill,” the group said. “As we have proven in numerous other states, our persistent doggedness eventually pays off. Stay tuned.”
Governor Whitmer’s office did not put out a statement or respond to a request for a comment on her decision to veto the bill.