ARE YOU A FELON?
On December 6, 2000, the Michigan Flintknapper's ammendment to Michigan's concealed weapons law was passed removing the threat of felony prosecution for Michigan's experimental archeologists, hobbiests, flintknappers, arrowhead collectors, and traditional hunters. Our law now exempts double edged, conchoidally fractured stone tools.
I would like to thank all of those from across the country who helped us pass this legislation. Your letters to our representatives and senators helped us obtain this victory and to set a precedent here in Michigan that will help you in your states if something like what we faced ever came up.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!
History Of Our Amendment
Whether you are a resident of the state of Michigan or not, the following could be of great consequence to you now, or in the near future, if you are someone who enjoys the outdoors and primitive skills. The work currently being undertaken in Michigan could help you to prevent the loss of stone tool making in your state. Please read on and see if you can help to protect our craft and to set a precedent that could help you in the future. Then read how you can help.
Under the current concealed weapons statute in Michigan you are subject to a felony arrest and a five year prison sentence if you carry, or even have accessible in your vehicle, a stone knife. Because stone or "flint" knives are double-edged they fall into the category of illegal felonious weapons. That needs to be changed!
Senate Bill 1181 (fromerly 415) and House bill 5546 are brief pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Joanne Emmons and Representative Larry DeVuyst, which will decriminalize the carrying and transport of double-edged stone knives or artifacts. Unfortunately this won't happen without your help.
Please take a few moments to write a letter, card, or brief e-mail politely voicing your support of this bill. Key points to make are that stone knives do not present any significant danger to the public because they are relatively fragile and can easily break if used in any violent fashion. In fact, there is no evidence that they have ever been used in any kind of criminal activity. Also, many traditionally minded hunters enjoy using stone knives to field dress their game and would like this matter resolved before the upcoming 1999 hunting season.
Furthermore, flintknapped stone knives are not only a form of American Indian art, but also an art form pertaining to every race of ancient man. They are not only collectibles, but also used to study and re-create the past by professionals and non-professionals alike. No matter where your ancestors originated throughout the world, stone knives were a part of your heritage. Many people who make, collect or use stone knives are involved in educating the public and understanding our past. Let's reform this law so that they, and anyone else who chooses to use or collect stone knives, are not subject to criminal prosecution.
Here's what you can do to help.
(Bill passed in December of 2000. Thank you for your help.)
HISTORY: JANUARY 11, 2000
The battle for this bill is still being waged and I wanted to include this update. Here's what's been happening for the last several months.
Since this page was put up last summer a Michigan law enforcement lobby had come come out against the amendment we are seeking. Their objections were most certainly based on emotion and lack of understanding about stone tools, their creation, their durability and function. Last fall we had an opportunity to present our case at a hearing with the committee at the state capital in Lansing, Michigan. We believe were able to finally help them to understand that these are fragile tools that should be regarded more as cutlery than violent stabbing weapons.
Two other promising things happened at this meeting. First, the Michigan State Police signed in as "neutral" in regard to this bill. Secondly, no representatives from the law enforcement lobby bothered to show up, while many representatives from around the state who support our amendment made it there.
Sadly, as part of the agreement by the committee that they would even hear our case, a vote was not to be taken at that time. The issue would instead be taken under advisement for a possible vote at a later time. So while we made great headway--we are still fighting for a vote. It looks like we won't even get a chance for a vote to be scheduled for our amendment until February. We have to do whatever we can to keep the information from our hearing fresh in the minds of the committee until then, or have lost our momentum and the headway we feel we have made.
Our thanks to all of you have helped us so far. Please continue to think of us and to spread the word. As it stands now, the way this law is written, no flintknapper or arrowhead collector can possess an arrowhead without violating the current law. No Native American can come to a Michigan Pow-wow to sell his stone-knapped art, nor can he wear a flint knife as part of his regalia, without violating current Michigan Law.
This amendment is definitely something we can accomplish--as long as we work together. Please write them if you can and politely urge them to pass Senate Bill 415.
Thank you. -Wyatt
History: April 2, 2000
The bill has been reintroduced to the senate and house under the new numbers as described above. It should be scheduled for another committee meeting soon. Your help is needed now more than ever. Please do what you can to help Michigan set a precedent that will help safeguard stone point manufacture for hobbyists, hunters, collectors, American Indians, and researchers.
December 6, 2000- The ammendment passed!.
This page was last updated on 26 March 2012.
Copyright © 1998 & 2012 by Wyatt R. Knapp