For those of you who do not get Blade Magazine, or subscribe to the Blade Blog, let me tell you that there was a serious attack on knives (June/July 2009) by the Customs & Border Protection Agency. They were trying to outlaw Assisted Opener knives, or any knife that can be opened with 1 hand... The Customs & Border Protection Agency drafted a law and only provided a 30-day public comment period to fight back.
WE FOUGHT BACK !
I did my part... Now it's your turn.
Click here to discuss this issue on the blademag.com forum.
Assisted opening knives could be reclassified as illegal switchblades if a measure proposed by United States Customs and Border Protection (Customs) becomes law.
On May 21, Customs proposed a revision of what constitutes a switchblade. This new interpretation would deem assisted opening knives, as well as those featuring one-hand operation, illegal per the U.S. Switchblade Act of 1958.
Specifically, Customs seeks "revocation of four ruling letters and revocation of treatment relating to the admissibility of certain knives with spring-assisted opening mechanisms." Those four ruling letters do not classify assisted openers as switchblades.
The current federal definition of a switchblade is any knife that opens automatically using gravity, inertia or hand pressure to a button or device on the handle. Assisted openers and one-hand operation knives rely on studs, grooves or other devices attached to the blade to open. These blades must be manipulated by hand to open.
If enacted, the Customs proposal would effect the 35.6 million people who own one-hand operation knives, according to the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI.org). Furthermore, Knife Rights (KnifeRights.org) indicates roughly 80 percent of all knives sold in the United States use one-hand operation. The knife industry as a whole employs twenty-four thousand people and contributes an estimated $8 billion annually to the economy, according to Knife Rights.
Both knife advocacy groups are voicing opposition to the measure.
"The [Federal Switchblade] Act is very clear that a switchblade must have an activating button on the handle," a post on Knife Rights's Web site states. "Without a button, it is not a switchblade and this has been upheld by numerous cases on many levels over the years. CBP's convoluted reasoning in their proposal to reach back beyond the law and to expand their regulatory purview by rationalizing 'intent' as justification for this new interpretation is a stretch, at best, and illegitimate at worst."
AKTI filed for an extension of the 30-day minimum public comment period required of Customs. That period ended June 21. AKTI also drafted an official response to the proposal.
Everybody who wrote to their congressman deserves a big pat on the back for this. It was your letters, faxes and emails that led to this success. The AKTI representative who went down and hand counted the letters reports that the final count of Comments letters mailed to Customs is 5,200!!! That is incredible; more than two and half times the original Customs estimate.
This new amendment, if it gets through the Conference Committee, will stop Customs' rulemaking and protect your pocket knives with a permanent solution.
Thanks to Senators Cornyn, Pryor, Hatch, Vitter, Risch, Chambliss, Corker, Enzi, Barrasso, Graham, Roberts, Wyden and Crapo for co-sponsoring this amendment. The Conference Committee will not meet until after the August Recess. As such, you probably will not be hearing too much until September '09.