The Ohio Senate passed a bill Oct. 20 that, if signed into law, would preempt cities from prohibiting people from carrying concealed knives like switchblades and butterfly knives. Photo by Jake Zuckerman., OCJ.
After previously approving legislation that allows Ohioans to carry an array of different knives on their persons, Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Tuesday that preemptively blocks cities from intervening.
Senate Bill 156, which passed on party lines with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition, prohibits cities from passing laws blocking citizens from carrying knives.
The legislation effectively locks in a law passed in 2021 that lets Ohioans carry concealed knives. The list of weapons allowed for manufacturing, sale and concealed carry include brass knuckles, cestuses, billy clubs, blackjacks, sandbags, switchblade knives, springblade knives, gravity knives, and similar weapons.
In Ohio, Democrats wield political control of the urban centers, while Republicans control the statehouse and governor’s office. Thus, the legislation preemptively blocks the Democratic cities from enacting any ordinance of their own that might restrict the right to carry knives beyond what statehouse Republicans call for.
A similar pre-emption blocks cities from establishing gun laws stricter than those at the state level. That law has withstood repeated legal challenges since it was passed in 2007.
The knife pre-emption joins a growing list of state legislation expanding the right to carry weapons in Ohio including:
- 2022: Knife pre-emption
- 2022: Authorizing school boards to allow teachers to carry guns
- 2022: Remove training, background check and licensure requirement to carry concealed firearm
- 2021: Allowing for concealed carry of knives
- 2021: Removing the legal duty to retreat before responding to a perceived attack with deadly force, often known as “stand your ground.”
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