“Why Were Switchblade Knives Banned?”

Someone stopped by searching for “reason switchblades banned.”

The switchblade, so called because you pressed the switch and the spring loaded blade popped open were popular because they allowed one handed use, instead of requiring both hands to open. Originally,, that was mighty handy when you needed one hand to hold up a horses hoof and a skinny one hand blade to dig a stone out of said hoof. Later, farmers and truck drivers, warehouse workers, and many others found the switchblade to be as handy as the pocket they kept one in.

By tje stamdards pf Case. Ca,o;;is. and other quality knife makers, switchblades wee trash, chep and usually gaudy things made to sell. But they filled a need for a knife that could be used until it broke,and then replaced without paying a quarter of a week’s work for another “working tool.”

So why were these eminently practical knives banned? Hollwood.

Back in the 1950’s almost every service station had a drink machine, a peanut dispenser, and a display of switch blade knives. A Broadway musical set around the rivalry between two gangs called “West Side Story” was made into a movie, and the day after i the movie hit the theaters more than half of State legislatures had at least one bill before it banning switchblade knives.

The reason is not hard ot see:

Ssince the movie version was released in October, 1961, the reaction to more than an hour of choreographed violence was very prompt. Inside a week, more than half of State legislatures had a bill before it banning switchblade knives.

And so an eminently practical tool that was seldom misused and that usually was barely sharp enough to cut warm butter was proscribed.


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Extranos Alley is a Collaborate effort to provide up to information on the relationship between restrictive gun laws and violent crime; as well as other related topics. While emphasis is on United States gun laws and crime, we also provide data on crime trends world wide.
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3 Responses to “Why Were Switchblade Knives Banned?”

  1. Bill T says:

    That’s pretty much the story with suppressors (Silencers), “Tommy Guns”, Bayonet lugs,
    Pistol Grips (especially forward mounted), etc. etc. Hollywood put the curse of Infamy on them and made them the “Tools” of “Bad Guys”. Hell, even the flash hiders on M-14 and ARs were not immune.

  2. BobTrent says:

    Alabama’s Wise Ones banned carrying “bowie” knives. In their terms a “bowie” knife is any single edged nonfolding knife. That’s right: any common kitchen knife, hunting knife. Any and all other knives, folding and non, daggers, dirks, folders, are legal for carrying in Alabama.

  3. Stranger says:

    Thanks for the comment, Bob. I was unaware of that rather comical law. I would be in bad shape if they had that law next door, I do not think I could run a business without some sort of foler.


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