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‘Knife Rights’ Bill Clears Senate, 27-3

The Senate has approved and sent to the House a bill rewriting Tennessee’s knife laws to eliminate a prohibition against switchblades and to assure that knives with blades longer than four inches can be carried for self-protection.
Current law makes possession of a switchblade a misdemeanor crime. Carrying a knife with a blade over four inches in length can be a felony if “for the purpose of going armed.”
Sen. Mike Bell, sponsor of SB1015, says that carrying a knife for self-defense meets that definition, though current law also says a longer knife can be legally used while hunting, fishing, camping and for “other lawful activity,” a phrase not legally defined. The bill repeals that provision and basically says all knives are legal in Tennessee.
The bill also prohibits city and county governments from enacting knife ordinances that would conflict with the new state knife statute. There are many local knife laws now and they widely from place to place, Bell said.
The overall result, Bell said, is confusion that has led national retailers to refuse to send knives with blades longer than four inches through the mail to Tennesseans, concerned that “a UPS deliveryman could be charged with carrying a knife for the purpose of going armed.”

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