ELKHART – Indiana’s upcoming end to its decades-old ban on switchblades has spurred some of the state’s gun stores to start taking pre-orders for the spring-loaded knives.
State lawmakers passed a bill this year legalizing the sale and possession of the automatic knives beginning July 1. The state’s ban had been in place for 30 years.
Midwest Gun and Range retail manager Rocco Rigsby said residents interested in the knives have been flocking to the Elkhart store asking about switchblades. He told The Elkhart Truth that the store has been taking pre-orders for switchblades ever since Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law in early May.
Some of our customers actually tipped us off that the law had passed, Rigsby said.
The Elkhart store and its partner store in Mishawaka, Midwest Gun Exchange, have produced fliers telling customers they can pre-order now and pick up the knives July 1.
A 1958 federal ban that remains in place forbids the manufacture, importation, distribution, transportation and sale of switchblades across state lines. Indiana’s ban against possessing and carrying switchblades was established by law in 1983.
Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers said there’s actually been no need for such a ban since knives similar to switchblades are on the market anyway.
He said many assisted opening knives, which snap open quickly by pressing on the blade or flipping a lever, are already sold in Indiana. Rogers said those knives aren’t classified as switchblades because they don’t open at the press of a button.
He doesn’t believe legalizing the switchblade in Indiana will increase crime.
Time will tell, but I don’t see this as a huge issue, the sheriff said. It’s not the possession of the knife, it’s what you do with it.
Rigsby said the main difference between a switchblade and other fast-opening knives is that a switchblade opens with a button press.
There’s no tactical advantage, he said. Switchblades get sensationalized in movies a lot, but they are no more dangerous than any other knife. I can open most assisted-opening knives faster than a switchblade.