Michigan 2012 Bill Would Remove Knife Prohibitions

UPDATE – (December 12, 2012) HB 5544 passed out of the House on December 6th and is now in the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism. It is not likely that this legislation will be acted on in the Senate yet this year.

(November 8, 2012) – HB 5544 – Now that the elections are over and our elected officials are back to work, we’re pleased to report that AKTI’s Michigan bill has moved from the committee to the House with a few revisions. We’ll keep you posted if action is required.

Lansing, MI (April 20, 2012) – Michigan residents ask your legislators to support HB 5544. This important piece of legislation will repeal the switchblade prohibition in the State of Michigan and reduce the current prohibition on fixed blade knives. This will be a HUGE win for knife owners because it means the utility of one-handed knives will never be in jeopardy of being targeted as switchblades.

Passage of HB 5544 will add the Wolverine State to the growing number of states that do not outlaw switchblades and keep its over 10 million residents plus visitors from potential criminal charges. It will also add Michigan to the states where AKTI has successfully eliminated or clarified terms that are not defined or are too confusing for consistent enforcement.

“We’ve heard from a lot of Michigan residents concerned about the restrictions to their knife rights over the years and now Rep. Frank Foster has offered to sponsor this key piece of knife legislation,” announced CJ Buck, Buck Knives, AKTI Legislative Chair. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of AKTI’s Legal Contributing Counsel, Dan Lawson, working with Michigan Attorney Peter O’Rourke, along with Rep. Foster and his aide Michael Krombeen, HB 5544 was introduced yesterday and we look forward to working to see that this legislation becomes law.”

127Rep. Frank Foster explained, “HB 5544 provides clarity and simplicity for citizens of this State, visitors, especially those involved in the outdoor pursuits, as well as law enforcement, with respect to knives. It eliminates archaic terms, such as dirk and stiletto, and makes clear that a violation of the law occurs if a person with criminal intent carries any knife.

At the same time, for those without criminal intent, it eliminates the 1950’s era of
prohibitions on automatic knives and prevents the misapplication of that law to various designs which have emerged in the decades since then.

It also very greatly restricts the existing prohibition on fixed blade knives, which should be especially welcomed by hunters, fishermen, hikers and others who enjoy the outdoors here in Michigan. We appreciate the input from the American Knife & Tool Institute for its technical assistance in putting together HB 5544, which has resulted in wording that will be clearly recognized and understood by everyone,” Rep. Foster added.

In addition to the repeal of Section 750.226a of the Michigan Penal Code, Michigan’s “switchblade prohibition,” HB 5544 will change Section 750.227 regarding illegal fixed blade knives. The terms “dirk” and “stiletto” will be removed. Double-edged, non-folding instruments will be illegal if carried concealed except if a person is in their own home, place of business or on property they own or in transit between any of those locations. There is also an exemption if the double-edged, non-folding knife is carried for hunting, fishing, trapping or if used as a tool in the course of the person’s trade, occupation, or hobby. All other fixed blade prohibitions are removed.

“This proposed legislation has been thoughtfully drafted and redrafted to meet the needs of Michigan and its residents and visitors. We appreciated the input of Attorney Peter O’Rourke and the NRA-ILA in this process,” explained Dan Lawson, AKTI Legal Contributing Counsel.

“I carry a knife with me each day. Under the current law, I, and, I believe most of the men who work and spend much time outdoors in northern lower Michigan, are potential felons – just for possessing a knife! As a citizen of Michigan, I thank AKTI for following through on this issue, and Frank Foster and staff for addressing a seriously flawed law.” Michigan Attorney Peter O’Rourke