State lawmakers are bringing knives to the gunfight.
Expanding the battle over the right to bear arms, U.S. legislatures that relaxed laws after the gun lobby’s decades-long push are now loosening restrictions on switchblades, dirks, daggers and poignards.
The charge is being led by a group whose leadership includes a wilderness-survival entrepreneur, a National Rifle Association board member and a “Joy of Cooking” co-author who travels with a 7-inch Santoku knife for slicing thyme-stuffed pork loin roasted on a spit over a campfire.
Called Knife Rights, the group claims support not only from Republicans, but also from urban Democrats concerned that the laws are used to target blacks and Latinos. Since 2010, it has helped roll back bans in nine states and is lobbying legislatures in a dozen more.
“We call it the second front in defense of the Second Amendment,” said Todd Rathner, director of legislative affairs and sole paid lobbyist for the Gilbert, Arizona-based group.
On April 29, a Texas legislative committee heard testimony on a bill that would repeal a ban on daggers, swords, spears and the Bowie knife, a blade inspired by a defender of the Alamo.