VA: Governor McAuliffe
vetoes Knife Law Reform
By Dean Weingarten. February 27th, 2017
On 20 February, 2017, Governor McAuliffe (D) Virginia vetoed HB 1432. The bill would have reformed Virginia law to remove the blanket prohibition on carrying, possessing, trading or selling switchblade knives.
The law was a holdover from the 1950's when bans on the ownership of switchblade knives swept the nation. The bans were based on groundless hysteria about their supposed use by street gangs. The play "West Side Story" was said to have a role in the passage of these laws. A federal statute banning the interstate sale of switchblade knives was passed. From the excellent article by Bernard Levine, published in 1990, which details how the ban came into existence:
Congressman Delaney's mind was made up, so it probably would have been pointless to confuse him with the facts. Switchblades came into common use in the United States, not around 1950 as he stated, but around 1850. After the turn of the century, thanks to the inventive genius of George Schrade (and the "protection" of the Tariff Acts of 1891 and 1897), American made switchblades of all sizes became popular and commonplace.
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