Michigan residents may soon enjoy less complex knife laws.
That’s because the state’s legislature passed a knife preemption bill on Tuesday. The bill, passed on a bipartisan basis, would prevent localities from passing knife laws stricter than what the state has imposed. It would also invalidate any current local regulations stricter than state law.
The bill now heads to Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D.) for final approval.
The legislation is the result of a campaign by knife-rights activists to simplify edged-weapon regulations across the country. It mirrors the successful grassroots campaign gun-rights activists have taken to implement similar protections across the country over the last several decades. If knife-rights activists can be as successful, the landscape of restrictions on what kinds of knives Americans can legally own and where they can legally take them could change significantly.
Knife Rights Foundation, Inc. celebrated the passage of the bill and said it was part of an ongoing effort to liberalize the state’s knife laws.
“We are excited to get our signature Knife Law Preemption bill through the legislature,” Doug Ritter, chairman of the group, told The Reload. “After we helped repeal Michigan’s switchblade ban in 2017, this is the next step in reforming Michigan’s knife laws.”
The law specifically prevents localities from restricting residents from selling, owning, or carrying knives in a way that is “more restrictive than state law.” It also forbids them from regulating the manufacturing of knives differently than “any other commercial good.”
The bill passed the House by a vote of 66 to 38 and the Senate by a vote of 25-11. Ritter said he is hopeful the governor will sign it into law.
“We are hopeful that Governor Whitmer will sign this bipartisan criminal justice reform bill as she has been supportive of criminal justice reform in general,” Ritter said.
Whitmer’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not she plans to sign or veto the bill.
UPDATE 10/28/2021 10:41 AM: This post has been updated to correct the vote totals in the Michigan legislature.