Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City refuses to change local law to comply with state law allowing concealed carry of knives

May 28, 2013


Calling the state’s actions “asinine,” Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday refused to fall in line with a new state law that allows people to bring switchblades, daggers and other knives into bars and public places.

Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously refused to change the city’s code to accommodate a new state law that says residents can carry concealed a variety of knives.

“We have taken an oath that says we’re here to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens, and now we’re being told by the state to allow weapons that really are meant to do just one thing,” said City Commissioner Bob Schumm. “At some point, somebody has to stand up to this because it is dangerous stuff.”

The city’s refusal to change its city code is unlikely to have any practical impact on the ability of people to legally carry concealed knives in Lawrence.

Staff attorney Randy Larkin told commissioners that the new state law — when it takes effect July 1 — will supersede the city’s code. In other words, he said, the city would not find it practical to try to enforce the city code provision outlawing the carrying of concealed knives.

Schumm — who is a downtown restaurant and bar owner — urged commissioners to reject the proposed change to the city’s code anyway in hopes that it would send a message and perhaps encourage other cities to make the same statement.

His fellow commissioners said they were willing to give the tactic a try.

“It is asinine what is happening in Topeka,” City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer said.

The state law allowing the concealed carry of knives is different than the state’s law allowing the concealed carry of firearms. The firearms law requires residents wishing to carry concealed to go through background checks, training and receive a state license. The knife law requires no such background checks, training or licenses.

The new law — HB 2033 — simply strikes from existing state law the provisions that prohibited the concealed carry of a variety of knives, including switchblades, daggers, dirks, straight-edged razors and stilettos. Lawrence had similar language in its local code that outlawed the concealed carry of essentially all knives other than standard pocket knives with a blade four inches or less.

The bill was approved on a 40-0 vote by the Kansas Senate and on a 95-26 vote in the Kansas House.

Schumm, who also has criticized the state’s broadening of the concealed carry firearms law to include public buildings unless they have metal detectors, said he’s surprised the bill didn’t have more opposition.

“It scares the hell out of me,” Schumm said of the prospect of patrons carrying switchblade knives or daggers into bars. “I was awestruck by the complete allowance of these type of lethal weapons. They are built to be lethal weapons.”

Larkin, the staff attorney, said the city could find its local law challenged in court, and could be forced to remove from its code the provisions that conflict with state law.

“I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it,” Mayor Mike Dever said.


elcepillo 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This is dumb. People hear "switchblade" and it conjures fanciful images of 1950's New York street gangs. Assist knives are already legal and just as fast as autos or faster. I have non-assist knives that are faster than autos.

"Built to be lethal weapons..."? This is not even necessarily true. Stilettos, which is the mental image everyone is afraid of lets face it, have always been a novelty. They are cheaply made and not especially dangerous compared to your average pocket knife.

Much more dangerous is a perfectly legal fixed blade knife. Where is the fear and outcry against fixed blade knives? I pull the knife out and the blade is already deployed! And it's much sturdier than a folding knife or a switchblade!

Auto knives are only more dangerous in your mind.


Lathrup 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Well thank goodness!! Now, when I happen upon a perfectly cooked Rump Roast on the sidewalk, as I often do, I can whip out my 4"+ switchblade and carve it up on the spot! No more caveman like ripping it to pieces with my teeth. What a wonderfull world we live in!


scopi_guy 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"I got a knife in my pocketbook and I'm gonna cut you up after class"

Female Trouble 1974


Liberal 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Chad, I think you need to verify that switchblades are legal in the state.

It appears to me, that the State Law trumps the city and renders it obsolete no matter what they do or do not do in the city.


Liberty275 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"weapons that really are meant to do just one thing"

That's not true. I carry various Kershaws that are spring loaded and open with a slight push on the button on the blade - for all intents and purposes switchblades, but without the button on the handle. It's a nice loophole. Sometimes you have stuff in your hand you can't put down and you need a knife.

This "meant to do just one thing" is a false argument and is the hallmark of playing to emotion and utterly disregarding uses the writer doesn't know about or would prefer to ignore for ideology's sake.


Clark Coan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Since it was a 40-0 vote in the Senate, that means that our Senator Marc Francisco voted for it! Why?


consumer1 10 months, 3 weeks ago

“We have taken an oath that says we’re here to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens", Sounds like they are saying they are liable, should anyone be cut by a drunk with a knife in a bar.


KSManimal 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I've noticed a trend here: people scared about having this or that sort of knife, etc., around a bunch of drunk folks. Kinda like when people fuss about having this or that gun around drunk folks. Hmmm....maybe the weapons aren't really the problem after all....


usesomesense 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps the city should look at the legality of an ordinance prohibiting the transportation of specifically classified weapons. You can have it in the bar, but only if it was there first....


Brock Masters 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Kinda like the law saying the Feds can't enforce gun laws in KS.


question4u 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, asinine is a good word, but there are many others that fit this Kansas Legislature: ignorant, hypocritical, reckless, arrogant, retrograde, delusional, pompous, extremist, irrational, petty, manipulative, embarrassing, simplistic, self-indulgent, bigoted, obtuse, laughable, sanctimonious, backward, ridiculous...

This is hands down the dumbest Legislature that Kansas has ever had, so you can't expect such words as intelligent, competent, or honorable to come up very often except when these puffed-up buffoons are talking about themselves.

(Apologies to the handful of those legislators in both parties who actually are competent, intelligent, and reasonable people and haven't yet been swept out by the wave of lunacy that has washed over Kansas.)


somebodynew 10 months, 3 weeks ago

""It is asinine what is happening in Topeka,” City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer said."

I think I am beginning to like this guy.


dougbe50 10 months, 3 weeks ago

If you are prone to violence against others then too much alcohol makes it worse . A pool cue or bottle make a dangerous weapon also , my point is the bar owner needs to worry less about sales and more about safety and stop serving the person before they are blind stinking drunk.


mikekt 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, we all know "HOW THE WORLD SHOULD WORK", in an ideal world . RIGHT !?

Thank God that there are still a few people around with common sence who aren't easily sucked into the MAD MAX MADNESS that is coming out of TOPEKA these days .

Drunks do stupid things because their brains are set free to act out stupidly by the booze .

I have seen drunks take a swing on an unsuspecting bar keeps before, for no particularly good reason ( not implying that there is ever a good reason .... to do's rude to hit somebody in the face for no real reason but for being capable to do it while drunk ) and I can not imagine such an idiot as that, with a knife in the pocket, not using it lethally, if they had the chance........ and a drunks reasoning powers...... which aren't much !


Richard Ballard 10 months, 3 weeks ago


Maybe the city commissioners should glance at all the black or chrome pocket clips in the pockets of a large majority of working folks, and people coming back from Clinton lake camping & fishing over the weekend?

You can go to Wal-Mart today and buy one-hand opening 4" knives that are faster, stronger, and sharper then most any cheap switchblades ever made.

Spring assist openers are also sold at Wal-Mart and other stores in town. And a lot of outdoorsmen, farmers, and blue color workers carry them everywhere they go.

A switch-blade is no more dangerous, or lethal then any other folding or fixed blade knife.

The 5" serrated steak knife in your restaurant dinner table napkin roll is just as dangerous, if not more so, then a 4" folding pocket knife. Be it a switch-blade, one-hand opener, or granddads old Barlow pocket knife.

If you want to use it as a lethal weapon, it is a lethal weapon.

If you don't, it is a restaurant provided steak knife.

For that matter, you could stab someone in the eye and kill them with a restaurant table fork or spoon handle, if you were crazy enough to do it.



dougbe50 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Well I think we should do whatever is best for the commissioner's bar. Let's get those drunks safely out on the street where they can kill people. The law was designed to protect people that carry pocket knives from being prosecuted by someone that doesn't know one knife from another.The pocket knives you can buy at Walmart right now open as fast and are just as lethal as a switchblade . They need to pay more attention to what leaves their bars .


toe 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I always pick and choose the laws I obey. It is the essence of being American.


reality_check79 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Criminals did you hear that? City commission said its illegal so you better listen! Give me a break!


Jason Johnson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I can finally carry my switchblade outside my home again! Hurray for the Kansas Legislature!


George_Braziller 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow. The City Commission finally grew some kahunas on an issue and didn't mess around. It's been a while since I've seen it.

"Last Call" patrons used to park on our street and I never knew what I'd find in my front yard in the morning. One time it was a 12 inch butcher knife thrown into the shrubs. Another time it was a serrated bread knife left in the gutter.


akuna 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Republicans have a lot of hypocrisies on their hands. In general they believe that local governments should able to determine what best for their local communities. In this case, I'm sure they'll sue Lawrence for not falling in line with their asinine conceal and carry ambitions. After all, that bunch of well-educated, liberal, elitists have no idea what best for their city. What a bunch of twerps.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.