POINTS OF INTEREST
FINDING ITSELF IN THE SIGHTS OF KNIFE RIGHTS
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 The Federal Switchblade Act, originally enacted back in 1958, is way overdue to be repealed.
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.