Federal Knife Law Pre-Emption Bill Introduced

Image courtesy Knife RightsRepresentative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced the first nationwide knife law pre-emption bill in history on November 13th, 2013. His Knife Owner’s Protection Act would essentially mirror the protections of the federal Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986. It wouldn’t force states to change their knife laws, and it doesn’t address where or how you can carry knives, but at least it would let you fly through a New  York City airport without facing arrest for possession of a Buck 110 or a Spyderco Manix.

It’s about damned time.

H.R. 3478 would allow knife owners to transport their lawfully-owned knives through states and jurisdictions that would otherwise prohibit their possession, as long as the knives were legal at their origin and their destination and as long as they were properly secured in transit.

From the Sacramento Bee:

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.

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “we’ve fought successfully to defend the right to carry a knife, an essential tool, in the individual states, cities and towns, but the Knife Owners’ Protection Act represents a key step to protect law-abiding knife owners simply passing through areas like New York City where possessing the most commonly owned pocket knife in America, the one-hand opening folding knife, may result in arrest and prosecution.”

Rep. Salmon 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.”

Today, “merely transiting through Kennedy Airport in New York and changing planes en route  can mean confiscation of knives in checked baggage and jail,” Ritter said, “honest, law-abiding citizens have been prosecuted in similar situations in Michigan, New Mexico, Texas and New Jersey, to name but a few.”

“KOPA’s only aim is to provide safe harbor to someone traveling with knives where they can legally be possessed at the points of origin and ultimate destination,” Ritter emphasized, “the bill requires they be locked up during travel in states where they would be illegal. It eliminates the constant jeopardy of criminal prosecution for simply passing through an area. It offers no protection to anyone engaged in criminal activity.”

The measure now goes to the House Judiciary Committee; you can track its progress at govtrack.us. and you can maximize its chances of passage by writing your representative and donating here to Knife Right


  1. PKMH says:

    Would this affect the shipping of automatic knives across state lines? Could I, for instance, order an automatic knife from benchmade and have it shipped to NH?

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      It wouldn’t affect shipping, as far as I can tell. It just allows lawful owners to transport knives with them while traveling through jurisdictions that currently prohibit possession of those types of knives.

  2. Mike L says:

    “Mirror the protections of FOPA…”

    Gotta be kidding right? FOPA has been total failure with countless folks arrested tried and doing time in prison. FOPA provided zero defense. Warning …DO NOT TRAVEL THRU NORTHEAST AIRPORTS AND EXPECT TO BE PROTECTED.

    1. travis m. says:

      Nice gesture, though.

  3. tbhride says:

    I wholeheartedly support this bill, but it is not a Pre-Emption bill as the title of this post suggests.

  4. Gimlet says:

    Knife Owners Protection Act = KOPA? If this actually passes (which I hope it does), I think Spyderco should revive their Kopa line of sprint runs with a Knife Rights commemorative.

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Federal Knife Law Pre-Emption Bill Introduced

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