State law trumps city ordinance banning knives from bars

Knives, razors & swords permitted in Lawrence bars

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Bar patrons in Lawrence will now be allowed to take knives, razors and even swords into local bars. 

The city currently bans knives longer than four inches from establishments through a city ordinance. However, starting July 1, a new state law bans cities from having such bans.

“I simply can’t support this kind of thing its lunacy is what it is,” Bob Schumm said, a Lawrence city commissioner.

He owned a bar himself until earlier this year and helped enact the city ordinance.

“This is nothing more than a hard core conservative group of people that continues to seek arming people at any and all costs and it’s going to come back to bite us and it’s going to be tragic when it does,” he said.

Representative Richard Carlson sponsored HB 2033 which trumps city regulation on knife ordinances. 

A similar law was passed in 2013; however, it exempted cities with previously established ordinances.

He says knives are a second amendment right and that it’s the state’s responsibility to “protect constitutional rights.”

Knife Rights, the group who pushed for the law, says the law helps avoid confusion among knife bearing Americans as they travel from state to state.

"We want to make sure that people are not unfairly prosecuted from carrying a simply everyday tool,” Todd Rathner said, director of legislative affairs for the group.

Cameron Birdsall worked as a door guy at the Bottleneck in Lawrence and doesn’t agree with the law.  

“I can't see a reason why they should be allowed in bars where there's drinking and people get in fights,” he said.

Commissioners discussed modifying the ordinance to comply with state law, however, after a heated debate, voted to table the issue. 

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