Starting today, switchblades are legal to own in Louisiana. The devices have been banned for decades. If it comes as a surprise to you, then you’re not alone, it was a surprise to bill sponsor Covington Representative Mark Wright. Wright says he looked into the ban’s background and found it was rooted in a funny bit of hysteria.

“Back in the 50’s and 60’s, it was outlawed in Louisiana and other states because of this sort of idea that came about from gang movies that they were dangerous weapons.”

He says after some further digging, he found the ban was “helped” along by lobbying efforts and support from a manufacturer of a rival knife type.

The Covington lawmaker says before passing the legislation, they worked with law enforcement to make sure it met the same legal criteria as other bladed weapons. He says like other devices, you can’t conceal it from officers during traffic stops.

“If for some reason you’ve been pulled over or are being addressed by an officer, I think that was part of their concern, and we put that into the policy and they were fine with that.”

Wright says he knows legalizing switchblade knives is not a pressing issue, but he says that shouldn’t stop lawmakers from pursuing common-sense legislation, even if it’s small in scale.

“The law doesn’t really seem to have been thought through, but more importantly there are people out there who own switchblades, who sell switchblades, and they would like to be able to own these.”

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