A letter-writing campaign promoted by AKTI in response to the introduction of H 5797 by Representatives Smith and Hood in the Michigan legislature effectively discouraged the bill from being considered and it died in committee.
Below are the proposed bill and the sample letter AKTI provided.
Proposed Michigan Bill Opposed by AKTI
2003 MI H 5797
VERSION DATE: 04/22/2004
HOUSE BILL No. 5797
April 22, 2004, Introduced by Reps. Smith and Hood and referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice.
A bill to amend 1931 PA 328, entitled
“The Michigan penal code,”
by amending sections 224 and 227 (MCL 750.224 and 750.227), section 224 as amended by 1991 PA 33 and section 227 as amended by 1986 PA 8.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 224. (1) A person shall not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or possess any of the following:
(a) A machine gun or firearm that shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than 1 shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
(b) A muffler or silencer.
(c) A bomb or bombshell.
(d) A blackjack, slungshot, billy, metallic knuckles, sand club, sand bag, or bludgeon.
(e) A device, weapon, cartridge, container, or contrivance designed to render a person temporarily or permanently disabled by the ejection, release, or emission of a gas or other substance.
(f) Any sharp-edged, multibladed device, capable of being carried on the person, with blades that are, or can be, locked into place for use as a weapon.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or a fine of notmore than $2,500.00, or both.
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A self-defense spray device as defined in section 224d.
(b) A person manufacturing firearms, explosives, or munitions of war by virtue of a contract with a department of the government of the United States.
(c) A person licensed by the secretary of the treasury of the United States or the secretary’s delegate to manufacture, sell, or possess a machine gun, or a device, weapon, cartridge, container, or contrivance described in subsection (1).
(d) A person possessing a weapon described in subsection (1) pursuant to his or her duties with the armed forces of the United States.
(e) A person manufacturing, selling, offering to sell, or possessing a device described in subsection (1)(f) in the course of a lawful trade, profession, or occupation.
(4) As used in this chapter, “muffler” or “silencer” means 1 or more of the following:
(a) A device for muffling, silencing, or deadening the report of a firearm.
(b) A combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a muffler or silencer.
(c) A part, designed or redesigned, and intended only for use in assembling or fabricating a muffler or silencer.
Sec. 227. (1) A person shall not carry a dagger, a dirk, a stiletto, a double-edged nonfolding stabbing instrument of any length, a sharp-edged multibladed device with blades capable of being locked into place for use as a weapon, or any other dangerous weapon, except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such a hunting knife, concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in any vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, or place of business or on other land possessed by the person.
(2) A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, or place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and, if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such the license.
(3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00.
An AKTI model letter …
Representative Virgil Smith
House Office Building No. 686
Lansing, MI 48909
RE: House Bill No. 5797
Senate Bill No. 1296
Dear Rep. Smith:
House Bill No. 5797 / Senate Bill No. 1296, recently introduced, would make it a felony for millions of people in Michigan who carry typical folding knives used everyday for performing our jobs, for routine tasks of daily living and for recreational activities. Your bill would make criminals of auto mechanics, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers, truck drivers and virtually every union and non-union worker in the state, as well as recreational backpackers, bikers, campers, hikers, kayakers and every gardener in Michigan who uses a folding knife to prune the roses.
Many law-abiding people here in Michigan have for years routinely carried “a sharp-edged, multibladed device with blades capable of being locked into place. . . .” This description would include, for example, “Swiss Army knives,” as well as the typical “multi-tool,” which many people here in Michigan find almost indispensable, not to mention millions of tourists. In addition, the locking device on folding knives was designed to keep the blade safely inside the handle when closed and to protect users from having it close on their fingers until they want to close it.
The difference between a tool and a weapon is in the mind of the person who holds it. If there are people in Michigan who are misusing knives for criminal purposes, there are existing laws to deal with the situation.
I strongly urge you to withdraw this bill. I believe it would have a negative impact on responsible, law-abiding people in Michigan and expose many of us to potential criminal prosecution. It would also hinder many businesses. I believe that the legal and governmental resources of the State of Michigan should be more appropriately used to prosecute the few individuals who violate the law rather than attempting to interfere with millions of law-abiding citizens.
Very truly yours,
[AKTI Member Name]
Michigan Legislative Contacts
The Honorable Senator Alan Cropsey
Chairman Senate Judiciary Committee
Farnum Building #1005
Lansing MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-3760
Fax: (517) 373-8661
Email: Jlazet@senate.michigan.gov (Alan’s chief of staff John Lazet)
The Honorable Senator Samuel “Buzz” Thomas
Farnum Building #610
Lansing MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-7918
Fax: (517) 373-5227
The Honorable Representative Virgil Smith
House Office Building #686
Lansing MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-0589
Fax: (517) 373-6404
The Honorable Representative Morris Hood
House Office Building #690
Lansing MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-3185
Fax: (517) 373-5986
The Honorable Representative William Van Regenmorter
Chairman House Committee on Criminal Justice
House Office Building #1093
Lansing MI 48909
Phone: (517) 373-8900
Fax: (517) 373-8697