Tennessee House Passes Watered Down Switchblade Bill

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) – The state House has passed a watered down version of a bill that originally would have lifted a ban on switchblades and knives with blades longer than 4 inches.

As amended under a bill passed 77-18 on Tuesday, the measure does away with those two provisions, but it still removes the power of local governments to make their own knife regulations.

Currently, local governments can pass their own ordinances restricting knives, although the maximum penalty they can impose is a fine of up to $50. The bill gives the state legislators the sole power to decide rules for the possession, transfer and transportation of knives.

Some representatives on Tuesday expressed concern that the bill removes local control of the issue.

"We need to just put this to bed about local control," said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin. "We argue for it on one and then against it on the next one. Let's get a little consistency."

Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, said he is usually "all for local control," but this case is an exception.

"Any law that allows you to travel from one county to the next without breaking the law is good," he said.

Rep. Vance Dennis is the House sponsor. The Savannah Republican said he expects the Senate to conform to the House version.

Speaking in favor of the original bill in March, sponsoring Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said that citizens should have a right to carry switchblades and long knives.

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