Montana’s New “Switchblade” Laws
I don't have a huge knife collection, but I've been a fan since I was about 11 years old. That's when I traded my Eddie Murphy stand up comedy cassette to a kid for his survival knife complete with a waterproof container for matches and a built in compass. Being a relatively sane person, my fascination with knives doesn't mean I have any desire to harm anyone...I just like them. They've been a handy tool since...I don't know..shortly after the wheel was invented?
Anyway, I've always thought a good switchblade would be a great "everyday cary" (EDC) knife given it's easy, single handed manipulation. Of course, that's a no go in most states, including Montana. Montana weapon laws are pretty lax compared to most states, but for some reason it stands its ground when it comes to switchblades, or automatic knives. However, there was a pretty big change last month (if you consider 1.5 inches big):
45-8-331. Switchblade knives. (1) A person who carries or bears upon the individual's person, who carries or bears within or on any motor vehicle or other means of conveyance owned or operated by the person, or who owns, possesses, uses, stores, gives away, sells, or offers for sale a switchblade knife shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.
(2) A bona fide collector whose collection is registered with the sheriff of the county in which the collection is located is exempted from the provisions of this section.
(3) For the purpose of this section, a switchblade knife is defined as any knife that has a blade 1 1/2 inches long or longer that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife.
We can now have automatic knives in Montana provided the blade is less than 1.5 inches. It's a step up, but the whole reason I'm asking this question is because of the reason they were banned in the first place. That is, reputation. Back in the "Greaser" (or whatever they were called...the people who looked like the bad guys Fonzie would rumble with) days, some lawmakers decided they needed to put an end to that image and they pretty much did. According to an article on Wikipedia, a Democratic Representative from New York authored the first bill to put an end to these inherently evil knives. Even in the 50's, the media (mostly newspapers at that point) used sensationalized headlines to market fear and sell papers, ultimately changing the law of the land.
Long story short: We can now have smurf sized switchblades in Montana.