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Senate considers definition of concealed weapon

Automatic knives on display
John Locher
Automatic knives on display

Every year, members of the General Assembly debate where and when people can legally carry a concealed firearm. But what about other weapons? Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would allow people to carry concealed switchblades.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw says switchblades have a long history. "When we were in school, I didn't know about who didn't have a switchblade knife," Saslaw remembered. "No one got stabbed. No one got stabbed."

Andrew Goddard of the Virginia Center for Public Safety says lawmakers need to be careful about what they are allowing people to carry out of sight in their pockets. "The term switchblade also includes out-the-front Italian stilettos, and they have only the utility as a stabbing knife and a weapon."

Senators are trying to craft language that would crack down on weapons without including tools that are often used in day-to-day work. Those changes will be considered by the Senate later this week.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.