A Nebraska knife law that has been on the books since 2009 has proven to need revisiting by the state legislature.
If you live in Nebraska and you have a knife longer than 3 1/2 inches, it could send you to jail.
The Nebraska Supreme Court recently upheld a lower court’s decision that classifies any concealed knife with a blade longer than 3 1/2 inches as a concealed deadly weapon.
This laws lumps together knives of all kinds, no matter their purpose. Nebraska laws does not concern itself with the “intent” of the knife, only the length. According to the law, a knife confiscated from an individual arrested during an armed robbery will be treated the same as the fillet knife in your tackle box. Really?
In their decision, the Supreme Court seemed to acknowledge the poor wording of the law. They wrote, “We decline to comment on the rationale for the legislative amendment that defines all knives with blades longer than 31⁄2 inches as a deadly weapon per se for purposes of the offense of carrying a concealed weapon under § 28-1202. That is the province of the Legislature.”
That translates to the idea of ‘we don’t make the rules, we just enforce them.’ This law only impacts concealed knives. According to law any knife may be openly carried in the state.
The real trouble with this law is the predicament it puts law enforcement officers, particularly conservation officers.
You’ve got to believe conservation officers at your local fishing hole will continue to be level headed in the same manner they have been since the law was passed in 2009. My guess is few, if any, want to start locking up old fishermen.
At the end of the day though, you could potentially wind up with a felony conviction for that knife in your hunting pack or glove box.
Whatever the case may be, until the state legislature has a chance to reconvene and discuss this poorly planned Nebraska knife law it is the law. Nebraskans may have to learn how to balance following the law, and common sense that seems to have been omitted.