U.S. Customs has proposed revoking earlier rulings that assisted opening knives are not switchblades. The proposal would not only outlaw assisted opening knives, its overly broad new definition of a switchblade would also include all one-handed opening knives and most other pocket knives!
On July 7, 2009 the U.S. Senate voted to pass Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2892) by margin of 84-6. This bill contains Amendment 1447 which was added to clarify the definition of a switchblade.
Amendment 1447 can be explained with these two points:
- First, the language in the amendment clearly covers virtually all non-automatic folding knife mechanisms, regardless of whether they have a spring assist or not, or whether they are designed to be opened with one hand or not. These style folders are biased toward closure as compared to a conventional switchblade in which the spring is constantly applying pressure on the blade when the blade is closed and thus it is biased toward opening, requiring only the release of the blade to open automatically.
- Second is the question of how this applies to Customs and how it will regulate their actions in regard to such knives and eliminating their most recent interpretation of the Federal Switchblade Act.
Amendment 1447 was co-sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R – TX), Pryor (D – AR), Hatch (R – UT), Vitter (R – LA), Risch (R – ID), Chambliss (R – GA), Corker (R – TN), Enzi (R – WY), Barrasso (R-WY), Graham (R – SC), Roberts (R – KS), Wyden (D – OR) and Crapo (R – ID).
This bill has not become a law yet! It needs to go through a House/Senate conference and then signed by President.
The Conference Committee will not meet until after the August Recess, in the mean time Knife Rights and the American Knife & Tool Institute are working with friends in the House and Senate to gather further support.
They’re also working with colleagues in advocacy groups such as the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, to talk with those who will be ensuring the amendment remains in conference.
Knife Rights states that it was your letters, faxes and emails that led to this success. If this amendment gets through the Conference Committee, it will stop Customs’ rulemaking and protect your pocket knives with a permanent solution.