Wisconsinites would be able to carry hidden switchblades and other knives, under a bill passed by the state Assembly.
The legislation approved Tuesday on a voice vote ends a long-standing state ban against owning, selling, manufacturing, or carrying a switchblade. It also allows anyone who can legally own a gun to carry a concealed blade of any size.
Supporters said the measure is intended to make sure someone is not prosecuted just for having a knife in their pocket, but some Democrats warned it could open the door to more people carrying deadly weapons, even on college campuses. During debate on the Assembly floor, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) asked “what is next, nunchucks? I mean what weapons are next that you think would be a great idea to bring on to our campuses.”
Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls), the author of the bill, said those concerns are unwarranted though and compared the uproar to what was heard when the state approved concealed carry permit legislation in 2011. “The idea that people were going to be…shooting it out on the streets once concealed carry passed – that didn’t occur. The sky didn’t fall then and the sky’s not going to fall now,” she said.
The bill now heads to the state Senate.