Colorado Switchblade and Gravity Knife Ban Repealed

Switchblades and gravity knives have been illegal in Colorado since 1963.
Automatic and gravity knives, like this one, have been illegal in Colorado since 1963.

Colorado was one of only nine states where switchblades and gravity knives were outlawed, that is, until Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed SB17-008 repealing the ban. Switchblades had been illegal since 1963.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs). As The Gazette reports, the bill’s House sponsor, Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) wielded a huge kitchen knife during hearings, and told committee members that, “This knife to me, that cuts carrots and potatoes, is much scarier to me than this little knife with a button.”

Todd Rathner, who advocates for the group Knife Rights said this to The Gazette regarding the ban, “It’s an odd law. And it originates from when old codgers in the legislature were concerned about the hoodlums and gangs they saw in movies such as West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause.”

A “switchblade” also known as an automatic folding knife, has an spring-assisted opening mechanism, usually triggered with the push of a button. As the name implies, gravity knives use gravity to quickly deploy a blade.

The bill was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Colorado, and County Sheriffs of Colorado. Knife Rights assisted the bill’s sponsors in moving it through the legislature.

Though the ban is repealed, automatic knives are still subject to Colorado’s concealed carry blade length limitation of 3.5 inches or less, and a significant number of municipalities in Colorado still have bans on “switchblades” on the books. Colorado does not have state knife law preemption. Blackjacks, gas guns and metallic knuckles remain banned statewide.

—By Warren Berg, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® Blog

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