POINTS OF IN­TER­EST

FIND­ING IT­SELF IN THE SIGHTS OF KNIFE RIGHTS

Knives Illustrated - - Contents - BY KNIVES IL­LUS­TRATED STAFF

Congress passed it dur­ing a wave of po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, Hol­ly­wood-in­duced hys­te­ria. Movies such as “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Black­board Jun­gle” de­mo­nized the pop­u­lar Ital­ian switch­blades of the era, fea­tur­ing them com­pletely out of pro­por­tion to their ac­tual use by gangs and delin­quents. As too of­ten hap­pens, a few politi­cians seized on out­law­ing them as the cause célèbre du jour. The Fed­eral Switchblade Act, orig­i­nally en­acted back in 1958, is way over­due to be re­pealed.

Leg­is­la­tion Pend­ing

Knife Rights aims to fi­nally set things right with the Knife Own­ers’ Pro­tec­tion Act (KOPA) of 2017 (H.R. 84). KOPA was orig­i­nally con­ceived and authored by Knife Rights in 2010 and ini­tially filed in 2013. It now in­cludes re­peal of the Fed­eral Switchblade Act. H.R. 84 was in­tro­duced the first day of the 2017 ses­sion in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.

If passed, KOPA would re­move the ir­ra­tional re­stric­tions on in­ter­state trade in au­to­matic knives (the de­scrip­tive term by which in­dus­try now refers to th­ese knives), while also pro­tect­ing the right of knife own­ers to travel through­out the U.S. without fear of pros­e­cu­tion un­der the myr­iad patch­work of state and lo­cal knife laws.

“With 40 states now al­low­ing pos­ses­sion of an au­to­matic knife, to one de­gree or an­other, and a Congress and Ad­min­is­tra­tion that may be in­clined to do some­thing about it, this boon­dog­gle of a law that only serves to in­ter­fere with law­ful trade and com­merce, is hope­fully on its way out,” said Doug Rit­ter, Knife Rights founder and chair­man. “The ma­jor­ity of states have al­ways al­lowed switchblade pos­ses­sion, and with Knife Rights’ re­peal of switchblade bans in 11 states in the past seven years, fully four-fifths of the states now al­low switchblade pos­ses­sion. It’s time to end this farce.”

Be­sides le­gal­iz­ing in­ter­state trade in pop­u­lar au­to­matic knives, the mea­sure al­lows for the se­cure and safe trans­porta­tion of knives through ju­ris­dic­tions where the mere own­er­ship of a cer­tain type of knife is enough to bring ar­rest and crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion. As long as a knife is locked up dur­ing travel through th­ese lo­cales, you would not be vul­ner­a­ble to be­ing ar­rested.

Knife Rights’ KOPA has teeth to de­fend those who travel un­der its pro­tec­tion be­cause it also pro­vides penal­ties for law en­force­ment, pros­e­cu­tors and others who ig­nore the protections pro­vided. Sim­i­lar to the protections and penal­ties gen­er­ally pro­vided in U.S.C. 1983, a falsely ar­rested cit­i­zen may re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion for de­fense ex­penses ris­ing from an un­war­ranted vi­o­la­tion of the rights Congress has pro­tected in KOPA. Without such pro­tec­tion, there’s not much to dis­suade abu­sive law en­force­ment or pros­e­cu­tors from ig­nor­ing the law be­cause few folks can af­ford to fight the power of govern­ment.

Fight­ing For Rights

From the start, Knife Rights has fought suc­cess­fully to de­fend the right to carry a knife, an es­sen­tial tool, in the in­di­vid­ual states, cities and towns. The Knife Own­ers’ Pro­tec­tion Act rep­re­sents a key step to pro­tect law-abid­ing knife own­ers just pass­ing through ar­eas like New York City, where pos­sess­ing many com­monly owned knives that are le­gal elsewhere may re­sult in ar­rest and pros­e­cu­tion.

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