Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust


I am lucky to be a constituent of a congresscritter (John Duncan Jr.) I actually agree with more often than not.

I live in Knoxville, but I bleed the Scarlet of the Ohio State Buckeyes rather than Tennessee Orange. Big Ten football is often derided as being nothing more than “3 yards and a cloud of dust”. The conservative, methodical approach is not flashy, but if people work together the ball moves forward in a steady fashion.

It has been just over 2 weeks since Tennessee Knife Freedom Day. Through the hard work of and others, the limit on carried blade length and restrictions on automatics are relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead of sit back an celebrate, I challenged our readers to write their elective Federal representatives and ask them to support HR 3478 or if you live in a state without knife law preemption to write your state representatives and ask for their support in bringing that to your home state.

Yesterday I received a response from Congressman John Duncan Jr., the long-time congressional representative from Knoxville and East TN. It is mostly boilerplate, but given that knife laws are not necessarily at the top of the legislative cheat-sheet stack it shows that at least someone in his office is on the ball.

Here is the email I received in response:

 July 14, 2014

Mr. Henry Clay Aalders
xxxx Timberlake Drive
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920

Dear Henry:

Thank you for contacting me about protecting the rights of knife owners. I always appreciate hearing from the people whom I represent in the Congress.

Congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona has introduced H.R. 3478 as the Knife Owners’ Protection Act.  This bill would protect 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.

H.R. 3478 would allow 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.

When he introduced the bill, Congressman 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.”

I have read that merely changing planes in an airport can mean confiscation of knives in checked baggage and jail.  There have been several incidents and prosecutions in states such as Michigan, New Mexico, Texas and New Jersey.  Congressman Salmon’s bill is intended to provide safe harbor to someone traveling with knives where they can legally be possessed at the points of origin and ultimate destination.

The bill would require they be locked up during travel in states where they would be illegal. It is intended to eliminate the constant jeopardy of criminal prosecution for simply passing through an area. It offers no protection to anyone engaged in criminal activity.

At this time, H.R. 3478 is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.  I do not serve on that Committee, but you can be assured that I will remember your views if this bill comes up for debate before the full House of Representatives.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. If I can ever be of service to you and your family, please do not hesitate to let me know.

With kindest regard,I am      Yours truly,

Member of Congress

There is enough detail on the issue in the letter that someone has done some homework. It is good to see.

I am glad to have Jimmy Duncan as my representative in Congress. He is easily among the most libertarian members of Congress and has been valiantly fighting the expansion of debt and executive power since long before the Tea Party – types (who get Libertarianism completely wrong) arrived in Washington.

I know that he was a soft target, being philosophically predisposed to supporting the legislation. Hopefully he can be convinced to be a co-sponsor at some point. Change does not occur overnight, and the more pressure we can put on our elected representatives the more the march of Knife Rights will advance.


  1. Doug says:

    Excellent reply! Now ask him to Co-Sponsor the bill!

  2. Mike L says:

    How does this bill work differently than the Firearms Owners Protection Act which is violated by local and state police everyday ?

    1. Doug says:

      Violations of FOPA historically have occurred primarily in the Northeast, most commonly in NJ and NY, and are rare elsewhere. However unfortunate that is, we have had the advantage of these frustrating lessons in drafting KOPA. KOPA incorporates language that closes loopholes that anti-2A judges have used to get around FOPA and explicitly includes language in the bill, not just relying on Section 1983, making authorities liable for legal expenses incurred if they are found to have violated KOPA, and not only that, but even if a settlement is reached and it never gets to court. Thus it is orders of magnitude more protective that the decades-old FOPA is.

      1. Mike L says:

        @doug…thanks for the info. That sounds terrific. I was expecting KOPA to be some mid-term election grand standing to get votes. But it sounds like folks have learned from the untold cases of airport arrests and highway stops that have ended up in jail sentences for gun owners. Now I wish someone would try to amend FOPA.

        1. Doug says:

          Knife Rights doesn’t do “grandstanding.” There have been attempts to fix FOPA, but so far none have gone anywhere. Depending on how the midterms come out, next year may have possibilities.

  3. Roger says:

    >He is easily among the most libertarian members of Congress and has been valiantly fighting the expansion of debt and executive power since long before the Tea Party – types (who get Libertarianism completely wrong) arrived in Washington.

    True Libertarianism, such as expoused by Farago, is a far too uncommon thing during this supposedly Libertarian rebirth we’re going through. I.E. More younger people clutching hard to the Libertarian line than ever before and droving out much more than other young people committed to one of the poisoned wells that are the Democrat and Republican parties.

  4. LongBeach says:

    I knew I liked you Clay. I’m on the west coast now but I was raised a devout Buckeye, lived 3 miles from campus.

    1. O-H!
      (42 days to kickoff)

      1. LongBeach says:

        I-O! Even typing it feels good.

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Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust

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