Governor Signs SB 140 Knife Bill into Law
On Jan. 11, 2021, Governor DeWine signed SB 140 into law. The revised law will go into effect on April 12, 2021.
Sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker and championed by Todd Rathner of Knife Rights, with assistance from Buckeye Firearms Association, this bill makes two important changes to Ohio's knife law:
1. It repeals the ban on the manufacture and sale of "switchblade," "spring blade" and "gravity" knives.
Currently it's legal for an individual to own an automatic (switchblade) knife in Ohio, but irrationally, it's illegal to manufacture or sell that same knife in Ohio. This means potential consumers have to either go online or travel to another state to purchase these popular knives. Likewise, Ohio businesses cannot manufacture these automatic knives, shutting them out of a significant and growing market.
2. It clears up the confusion about carrying knives by defining a knife, razor or cutting instrument as a "deadly weapon" or "weapon" ONLY if it is used as a weapon.
Neither citizens nor law enforcement have been clear on exactly what Ohio law means. Anything carried concealed that is not a handgun could be considered a deadly weapon under current law, whether it's a pocket knife or a sharpened pencil.
Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, "The passage of SB140 is the culmination of six years of work by Knife Rights and our strong legislative partners. It is commonsense criminal justice reform and will create jobs, just what Ohio needs today."
This change to Ohio law will come as welcome relief given that so many people carry knives and have been plagued by the confusion caused by poorly written law.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.