This week, the Tennessee General Assembly repealed the state’s long-standing ban on switchblades, or, as their purveyors like to call them “automatic knives.” It was one more victory for the nascent knife-rights movement, a push to legalize deadly blades that’s occurring mostly out of the mainstream eye.
The bill also does away with a limit on the length of a knife—as well as preempts any city or town ordinance that regulates knives. It passed both houses overwhelmingly and likely will be signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam. (So watch yourself the next time you anger someone in a Nashville honky-tonk.)
If you didn’t know that Tennessee, or any state for that matter, banned switchblades, or that they’re now dubbed “automatic” weapons because they can be triggered with one hand by a single button on the handle, that suits the knife-rights movement just fine. They’ve operated a largely under-the-radar campaign in friendly red states to open up the landscape to more exotic bladed instruments.