Washington State—On January 25, Knife Rights' Director of Legislative Affairs, Todd Rathner, gave testimony at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington, in support of two similar pro-knife bills. Senate Bill 6179 and House Bill 2347 would clarify the definition of a switchblade so as to not include assisted-opening knives that are currently adversely interpreted as being illegal in the state. These bills also make it legal to manufacture spring-assisted and switchblade knives in the state of Washington. In addition, they would expand the existing law enforcement exemption for possession of “spring blade knives” (switchblades) to members of the military and full-time first responders.
Knife Rights worked with Washington knife manufacturers Fox USA, Blade-Tech and SOG to make necessary changes to ensure the bills would accomplish their aims. Although testimony was cut short because there was no opposition and a packed agenda, Todd was also able to get on the record in both houses stating Knife Rights' strong support for these measures.
Initially, HB 2347 was drafted with a provision that would allow Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders to carry switchblades, while the Senate bill did not include this provision. We are disappointed that this provision did not survive the hearing. Unfortunately, it was made clear that if it was retained, the bill would not pass out of committee. Ultimately, HB 2347 was amended in executive session to strike the provision allowing CPL holders to possess automatic knives.
On Monday, January 30th, the amended version of HB 2347 passed the Washington State House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote. Now it moves to the Rules Committee. Meanwhile SB 6179 has been scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Session for today, where it is expected to be amended in like manner and likely pass out of the committee.
While Knife Rights does not believe there should be any distinction between citizens and government employees when it comes to possessing life-saving tools, we also understand political reality. We will be working with Washington state residents and officials to change this in the future when the political landscape is more favorable to such a rational move forward.
Meanwhile, the current bills are a huge step forward for Washington knife owners who might be subject to prosecution for assisted-opening knives and for knife manufacturers located in the state. Passage of either of these bills would create skilled, well-paid jobs, generate tax revenue for the state and increase the number of knives that say “Made in America.”
If you live, work or travel in Washington state, please contact BOTH your Senator and Representative in Olympia and ask them to support SB 1234 and HB 2347, respectively.
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