Knife Rights

Knife Rights Update: January “News Slice”

While the above video may be a bit of a bizarre medium for listing their accomplishments, I found it strangely compelling and watched the whole thing. This was due in part because I wanted to see the listing of the bills leading to Tennessee Knife Freedom Day. And the music was pretty good. I have a feeling the composer will be a success some day.

Knife Rights is not going to give the hoplophobes a chance to breathe, they are keeping up the pressure. Below the jump you can see some of the bills that Knife Rights has helped introduce nationwide for this year’s legislative session. These include another crack at the Knife Owner Protection Act at the federal level, as well as efforts in Texas, Maine and other states.

From KnifeRights.org:

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Knife Rights’ Knife Owners’ Protection Act Re-Introduced 

Protects Knife Owners From Vagaries of Restrictive State Laws

Knife Rights’ Knife Owners’ Protection Act, H.R.419 (KOPA), has been re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by sponsor Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ). Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter explained, “KOPA will protect law-abiding knife owners traveling throughout the U.S. from the vagaries of restrictive state and local laws. As long as possession of the particular knife is legal in the state where the journey starts and ends, and provided the knife is secured in accordance with KOPA, a knife owner would no longer be threatened with arrest simply for traveling from one place to another.” KOPA is the first proactive pro-knife federal legislation introduced in the nation’s history.

Additional co-sponsors are: Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) and Rep. Thomas Massie (KY) (more co-sponsors are expected to sign on shortly)

“Those who travel across the country with knives for work, recreation and self defense are presently subject to arrest and prosecution under a confusing patchwork of inconsistent state and local laws and regulations, said Ritter, “what is perfectly legal in one place may be a serious crime in another, resulting in forfeiture of property and carrying significant penalties including jail time. Enforcement is not uniform even within jurisdictions and is subject to the vagaries of political expediency at times. Sportsmen and workmen who travel are particularly vulnerable.”

“Originally authored by Knife Rights and first introduced by Representative Salmon in the last session of Congress, Knife Rights developed the Knife Owners’ Protection Act to address this absurd situation in a commonsense manner that is fair and equitable and is based on established legislative and legal precedent,” Ritter noted, “we’ve fought hard to defend the right to carry a knife in the individual states, cities and towns, but KOPA represents a key initiative to protect law-abiding knife owners simply passing through areas like New York City where possessing the most commonly owned pocket knife in America today, the one-hand opening folding knife, may result in arrest and prosecution.”

Sponsor Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05), who introduced the original KOPA legislation last session, said, “This legislation is long overdue. The Knife Owners’ Protection Act is a responsible and reasonable means of ensuring that knife owners throughout America can travel with assurance that their rights will be protected with equal respect for states with overly restrictive knife laws.”

The current situation with knives is similar to the circumstances with guns that existed prior to the passage of the Firearms Owner Protection Act (FOPA -18 USC 926A) in 1986, when Congress acted to protect law-abiding gun owners from a similar inconsistent patchwork of laws by insulating their travels if firearms possession was lawful at both the origination and destination points of travel.

Ritter noted “unfortunately, FOPA provides no protections whatsoever to knife owners, so they are completely unprotected from the same perils. It is entirely likely that a sportsman travelling with both firearms and knives who follows FOPA’s requirements to the letter and also locks up his knives in an abundance of caution, could be insulated against prosecution for firearms possession, yet be arrested and prosecuted for knife possession. That is a ridiculous situation. KOPA simply aims to protect knife owners in the same manner as KOPA protects firearm owners.”

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 USC 1983 to those whose civil rights are violated, a falsely arrested citizen can be compensated for the expense of defending themselves from an unwarranted violation of the rights Congress has protected in KOPA.

Ritter closed by saying, “Knife Rights continues to lead the way with aggressive proactive legislative action to defend and protect knife owners’ rights. KOPA is just another example of our groundbreaking efforts to create a Sharper Future for all Americans.”

Click here to read H.R. 419.

A FAQ on KOPA with additional details and background can be found at: http://bit.ly/1arZIa0

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Knife Rights’ Texas Preemption Bill Introduced

On Friday last week, Texas state Representative John Frullo introduced Knife Rights’ Knife Law Preemption bill, HB 905, that would rid Texas of its patchwork of local knife laws more strict than state law. 

 

Two Texas cities made Knife Rights’ 10 Worst Anti-Knife Cities in America list for 2014, San Antonio at number four and Corpus Christi at number nine. San Antonio prohibits carry of all locking-blade folding knives except on the job. There’s no local restriction on fixed blade knives.In Corpus Christi it is illegal to carry any fixed blade knife or a folder with a blade longer than 3-inches except when actually in use on the job.

In 2013 Knife Rights’ Switchblade Ban Repeal bill was enacted, legalizing automatic and gravity knives in Texas (Click for details on what switchblades are legal today in Texas).

Knife Rights will let you know as soon as it is appropriate to contact your legislators about this bill.

Preemption repeals and prevents local ordinances more restrictive than state law which only serve to confuse or entrap law-abiding citizens traveling within or through the state. Preemption ensures citizens can expect consistent enforcement of state knife laws everywhere in a state. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first Knife Law Preemption bill in Arizona in 2010 and has since passed preemption bills in Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Utah.

Knife Rights’ Maine Switchblade Ban Repeal Bill Filed

Also on Friday last week, Maine state Representative Joel Stetkis introduced “an act to restore access to certain knives.” This Knife Rights authored bill would repeal Maine’s  irrational and antiquated ban on automatic (switchblade) and gravity knives. We expect to have a bill number later this week 

 

Automatic knives are legal in 38 states (some with restrictions) and 26 states have no restrictions whatsoever on these knives. Seven of those 26 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a switchblade (automatic) knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of switchblade bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. In Washington state knifemakers can now legally manufacture automatic knives.

Knife Rights will let you know as soon as it is appropriate to contact your legislators about this bill.

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Rewriting Knife Law In America™
Knife Rights 2015 Legislative Agenda

Below please find an up-to-date list of Knife Rights’ bills introduced for the 2015 state legislative sessions:

 

Indiana: Knife Law Preemption  

(Switchblade Ban Repeal passed in 2013)

Maine: Switchblade & Gravity Knife Ban Repeal

South Carolina: Knife Law Preemption 

Texas: Knife Law Preemption  

(Switchblade Ban Repeal passed in 2013)  

MORE TO COME!

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Washington State Hearings – Call, Write or Attend

 

Hearings on both House and Senate Ivory Ban bills will be held this week in Washington State. Both House Bill 1131and Senate Bill 5241 are similar to the draconian Ivory bans enacted in New York and New Jersey last year. They also include Mammoth Ivory in the ban. Neither bill would do anything to save a single living elephant, but would do serious harm to honest, law-abiding Americans.   

Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintained the position that virtually all ivory in the U.S. has been legally imported and, most importantly, that its sale in the U.S. did not materially contribute to the illegal ivory trade. Nevertheless, under HB 1131 and SB 5241, the import, sale, purchase, barter, and possession with intent to sell of any ivory (defined to include mammoth ivory) or ivory product would be prohibited.  Virtually any lawful item containing any amount of ivory, with very limited and narrow exceptions, would be rendered valueless as it would be a felony for you to sell it or for another person to buy it.

 

The proposed ban allows for some antiques over 100 years old to be sold or traded, but the onus would be on the owner to prove that the ivory meets this requirement. In most cases, legal, pre-ban ivory pieces are not that old, and most lack the documentation required to meet this exemption. The bills provide no guidance as to what documentation would be considered “sufficient” to establish the age of an item.

 

Like all Americans, we find the out-of-control poaching of African elephants appalling. Unfortunately, instead of going after poachers, smugglers and traders of illicit ivory, this bill only attacks innocent Washingtonians by passing an absurd Ivory Ban that will not save a single living elephant.

 

This ban would irreparably harm owners of ivory-handled and fossil ivory-handled knives, firearms, many antiques, many musical instruments and any items containing ivory legally imported into this country decades ago by stripping their value – a taking of millions of dollars from law-abiding Washingtonians.

 

The ban would criminalize legitimate business owners and cause immediate ruinous financial loss for them. It will cost the state millions of dollars in lost sales tax revenue and not save a single elephant!

 

This bill also includes 10,000-year-old Mammoth Ivory, which just goes to show how absurd it is. Tons of Mammoth Ivory is collected every year by Native Americans in Alaskan along the riverbanks and on the beaches, where the tusks fall out of the banks due to erosion. This Mammoth Ivory is one of their few sources of income. In addition, gold miners find tusks in their pursuit of gold. No archeological sites are disturbed or “robbed.” This natural material becomes exposed by nature and mining and if it is not collected it cracks, deteriorates and crumbles into gravel and soil within a few years and is lost forever.

The only way to preserve this precious prehistoric material is to allow it to be collected, bought and sold. It is easily distinguishable from elephant ivory and is legal to ship all over the world.

 

This outrageous and draconian bill also represents an unconstitutional “taking” of protected private property, violating the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While lawsuits challenging this law, if enacted, wend their way through the courts, untold hundreds or thousands of ivory owners will be

arrested and prosecuted under this absurd law.

 

This bill will not save a single elephant! This is “feel good – do bad” legislation at its worst!
If at all possible, please attend the hearings to support Knife Rights and the other organizations opposing these draconian and irrational bills:

 

House Bill 1131 is scheduled for hearing by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday at 10:00 AM in House Hearing Rm B, John L. O’Brien Building    

 

Senate Bill 5241 is scheduled for hearing by the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee on Wednesday at 2:00 PM in Senate Hearing Room “3”, John A. Cherberg Building

 

Both buildings are adjacent to the Legislative Building in Olympia.


If you live, work or travel in Washington State, please contact members of both committees and politely urge them to oppose House Bill 1131 and Senate Bill 5241. Click here for contact information for members of both committees. 
 

Click here for a model letter opposing HB 1131 and SB 5241.

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

2 responses to ‘Knife Rights Update: January “News Slice”

  1. i bought my mom some mammoth ivory earrings. she likes them alot.
    i was not aware of kopa but i will join the knife rights organization. love to see some knife laws repealed in illinois.
    delighted to have found this site.
    i hope this post registers as i can no longer get through on ttag.

    • Post came through fine. Welcome.

      KnifeRights.org does a terrific job.

      Those of us in Free States stand with our Brothers behind enemy lines. Your day will come Illinois. Keep fighting.

      I too have some mammoth ivory items. One need look no further than the Gibson Guitar raid to see how this legislation adds another club to the Government arsenal with which to beat us into submission. It needs to be stopped.

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